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Violence Against Muslim

1947 Jammu massacres

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Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1947_Jammu_massacres

1947 Jammu massacre was a part of violence during partition of India.[10][11] During October–November 1947 in the Jammu region of the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir, a large number of Muslims were massacred and others driven away to West Punjab by extremist Hindus and Sikhs, aided and abetted by the forces of Maharaja Hari Singh and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).[2][12]Subsequently,[13] and many non-Muslims, estimated as over 20,000, were massacred by Pakistani tribesmen and soldiers, in the Mirpurregion of today's Pakistani administered Kashmir.[7][8][9] Many Hindus and Sikhs were also massacred in the Rajouri area of Jammu division.

Background

At the time of the Partition of India in 1947, the British abandoned their suzerainty over the princely states, which were left with the options of joining India or Pakistan or remaining independent. Hari Singh, the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir, the Maharaja indicated his preference to remain independent of the new dominions. All the major political groups of the state supported the Maharaja's decision, except for the Muslim Conference, which declared in favour of accession to Pakistan on 19 July 1947.[14] The Muslim Conference was popular in the Jammu province of the state. It was closely allied with the All-India Muslim League, which was set to inherit Pakistan.

Violence against Jammu Muslims

Unlike the Kashmir valley which remained mostly calm during this transition period, the Jammu province which was contiguous to Punjab, experienced mass migration that led to violent inter-religious activity. Large numbers of Hindus and Sikhs from Rawalpindi and Sialkot started arriving since March 1947, bringing "harrowing stories of Muslim atrocities in West Punjab". This provoked counter-violence on Jammu Muslims, which had "many parallels with that in Sialkot".[5] Ilyas Chattha writes, "the Kashmiri Muslims were to pay a heavy price in September–October 1947 for the earlier violence of West Punjab."[15]

According to scholar Ian Copland, the administration's pogrom against its Muslim subjects in Jammu was undertaken partly out of revenge for the Poonch rebellion that started earlier.[16]

Observers state that a main aim of Hari Singh and his administration was to alter the demographics of the region by eliminating the Muslim population, in order to ensure a Hindu majority in the region.[2][3][5]

Scholar Ilyas Chattha and Jammu journalist Ved Bhasin blame the mishandling of law and order by Maharaja Hari Singh and his armed forces in Jammu, for the large scale communal violence in the region.

Massacres

On 14 October, the RSS activists and the Akalis attacked various villages of Jammu district—Amrey, Cheak, Atmapur and Kochpura—and after killing some Muslims, looted their possessions and set their houses on fire.[17] There was mass killing of Muslims in and around Jammu city. The state troops led the attacks. The state officials provided arms and ammunition to the rioters. The administration had demobilised a large number of Muslim soldiers in the state army and had discharged Muslim police officers.[18][a] Most of the Muslims outside the Muslim dominated areas were killed by the communal rioters who moved in vehicles with arms and ammunition, though the city was officially put under curfew.[b]Many Gujjar men and women who used to supply milk to the city from the surrounding villages were reportedly massacred en route. It is said that the Ramnagar reserve in Jammu was littered with the dead bodies of Gujjar men, women and children. In the Muslim localities of Jammu cityTalab Khatikan and Mohalla Ustad, Muslims were surrounded and were denied water supply and food. The Muslims in Talab Khatikan area had joined to defend themselves with the arms they could gather, who later received support from the Muslim Conference. They were eventually asked to surrender and the administration asked them to go to Pakistan for their safety. These Muslims and others who wanted to go to Sialkot, in thousands, were loaded in numerous trucks and were escorted by the troops in the first week of November. When they reached the outskirts of the city, they were pulled out and killed by armed Sikhs and RSS men, while abducting the women.[2][17][19]

There were also reports of large-scale massacres of Muslims in Udhampur district, particularly in proper UdhampurChenani, Ramnagar, Bhaderwah and Reasi areas. Killing of a large number of Muslims was reported from Chhamb, Deva Batala, Manawsar and other parts of Akhnoor with many people fleeing to Pakistan or moving to Jammu. In Kathuadistrict and Billawar area, there was extensive killing of Muslims with women being raped and abducted.[2][21]

On 16 November 1947, Sheikh Abdullah arrived in Jammu and a refugee camp was set up in Mohalla Ustad.

Observations

Mahatma Gandhi commented on the situation in Jammu on 25 December 1947 in his speech at a prayer meeting in New Delhi: "The Hindus and Sikhs of Jammu and those who had gone there from outside killed Muslims. The Maharaja of Kashmir is responsible for what is happening there…A large number of Muslims have been killed there and Muslim women have been dishonoured."[22]

According to Ved Bhasin and scholar Ilyas Chattha, the Jammu riots were executed by members of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) who were joined by the refugees from West Pakistan, and were supported strongly by Hari Singh and his administration with a main aim to change the demographic composition of Jammu region and ensure a non-Muslim majority. Bhasin states, the riots were "clearly" planned by the activists of RSS.[2][23] Observers have noted that the Akali Sikhs and some former members of the Indian National Army (INA) also participated in this violence along with the RSS and state forces.[24][25][26][27]

Bhasin says that the massacres took place in the presence of the then Jammu and Kashmir's Prime Minister Mehr Chand Mahajan and the governor of Jammu, Lala Chet Ram Chopra, and that some of those who led these riots in Udhampur and Bhaderwah later joined the National Conference with some of them also serving as ministers.

Estimates of people killed and displaced

An early official calculation made in Pakistan, using headcount data, estimated 50,000 Muslims killed.[28] A team of two Englishmen jointly commissioned by the governments of India and Pakistan investigated seven major incidents of violence between 20 October – 9 November 1947, estimating 70,000 deaths.[29] Scholar Ian Copland estimated total deaths to be around 80,000,[30] while Ved Bhasin estimated them to be around 100,000.[21] Scholar Christopher Snedden says, the number of Muslims killed were between 20,000 and 100,000.[6]Justice Yusuf Saraf estimates them to be between 20,000 and 30,000.[31]

Much higher figures were reported by newspapers at that time. A report by a special correspondent of The Times, published on 10 August 1948, stated that a total of 237,000 Muslims were either killed or migrated to Pakistan.[13][d] The editor of The Statesman Ian Stephens claimed that 500,000 Muslims, "the entire Muslim element of the population", was eliminated and 200,000 "just disappeared".[34] Scholar Ian Copland finds these figures dubious.[e]

The Pakistani newspaper Nawa-i-Waqt reported that more than 100,000 Jammu refugees had arrived in Sialkot by 20 November 1947.[35] Snedden, on the other hand, cites a "comprehensive report" in Dawn, which said that 200,000 Muslims went as refugees to Pakistan in October–November 1947.[7] An unidentified organisation in Pakistan counted refugees from Jammu and Kashmir during May–July 1949, and found 333,964 refugees from the Indian-held parts of the state.[36] Of these, an estimated 100,000 refugees returned to their homes in 1949–1950, leaving an estimated 233,964 refugees in Pakistan.[37] Based on the electoral rolls of Pakistan-administered Kashmir in 1970, the number that remained in Pakistan is estimated to be in the range 219,718 – 259,047.

Violence against Hindus and Sikhs in Rajouri and Mirpur

The western districts of Poonch and Mirpur raised an armed rebellion in the first week of October 1947, which was joined by Pashtun tribesmen from the North-West Frontier Province and the adjoining pricely states and tribal areas. The rebels took control of most of the country side of these districts by the end of the month, driving the Hindus and Sikhs from there to the towns where the State troops were garrisoned. Then, starting 24 October, the towns themselves fell to the rebels: Bhimber (24 October), Rajauri (7 November),Mirpur (25 November) and Deva Vatala. Their non-Muslim population had to face "total annihiliation"

Rajouri

The Pakistani raiders, along with the rebels and deserters from the western districts of the state, captured Rajauri on 7 November 1947. The town was surrounded by Muslim mobs who carried out extensive killings, loot and rapes of Hindu residents.[2] According to Indian sources, an estimated 30,000 Hindus and Sikhs living in Rajauri were reportedly killed, wounded or abducted.

Mirpur

Many Hindus and Sikhs, on and after 25 November 1947 gathered in Mirpur for shelter and protection were killed by the Pakistani troops and tribesmen. Mass rape and abduction of women was also reported. Estimates measure the death count as over 20,000.[7][8][9] "A 'greatly shocked' Sardar Ibrahim painfully confirmed that Hindus were 'disposed of' in Mirpur in November 1947, although he does not mention any figures."


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