, 22 tweets, 17 min read
The plan to invade the Riyasat of #JammuAndKashmir wasn't born in #Lahore but in the residence of #Jinnah at #Aurangzeb road #NewDelhi . Here in the spring of 1947 Col. Akbar Khan & some #Muslim officers of the #British #Indian #Army hatched this plot .
It was only in October 1947 that Maj. Onkar Singh Kalkat of the Bannu Brigade #PakistanArmy who had not yet been repatriated to #India found files marked Operation Gulmarg Secret while looking for some other documents in the office of Brigadier Murray at NWFP.
Even though he was nearly arrested & sent to #Lahore , Maj.Onkar somehow made it out to #NewDelhi & told the #IndianArmy top brass about the file he had sern which detailed an invasion of #JammuKashmir by tribesmen. He wasn't taken seriously by the Brass .
The Generals however arranged for him to meet PM #Nehru who not only listened to him & ordered for intel to be on the lookout for raiders.
Fact is both General Frank Messervy the First CiC of the #PakistanArmy & General Rob Lockhart of the #IndianArmy knew about Gulmarg.
In fact Mountbatten had been briefed of this plan in August 1947 by the then Governor of NWFP George Cunningham. There are two accounts post this one that claims Mountbatten shared the info with Nehru who lost it and chose not to act, a 2nd account says Nehru didn't know.
There was a monetary factor at play also. The #British Raj had kept the Pathans placated by paying them ₹16cr annually to keep the peace, money #Jinnah didn't have. They decided to kill two birds with one stone. The tribes could rape & plunder #JammuKashmir in return for peace.
There was one more factor ,after mass demobilisation post WW2 thousands of Punjabi Musalman & Pathan troops of the British Indian Army had been let go. These restive jobless men needed something to do.. #Jinnah pointed them towards #JammuAndKashmir
Around 20 lashkars each comprising a thousand men commanded by a tribal sirdar & complemented by officers of the #PakistanArmy were created. Ten each for the #Srinagar & #Rajouri sectors. The Southern lashkars had the British trained Poonchi Muslims with battle experience in WW2.
Behind them awaited an infantry division & an extra infantry brigade of the #PakistanArmy that was to move in & secure territory once the lashkars had finished raping & looting the locals.
On 22nd October 1947 the lashkars attacked. First to oppose them were a few companies of the Kashmir Brigade of the J&K state forces. Even though the Brigade fought valiantly it couldn't stop the hordes mainly because a large number of Kashmiri Muslims turned to the other side.
That said the vast majority of Muslims in the State police ,govt & military fought for Maharaja Hari Singh till their last breath.
Brig. Rajinder Singh led a heroic defense at #Uri . Stopping the invaders till the 26th when he fell . He is India's first ever Mahavir Chakra Winner .
The invaders finally broke through to Baramulla on the 26th.
#Baramulla in 1947 was a prosperous town which had a large #Hindu population. Once the #Lashkars reached Baramulla an orgy of rape & murder fuelled by the fire of #religion started. These raiders had been told they were Ghazis ,#Islamic warriors who had to destroy the Kafirs .
Countless #Hindu men, women & children were murdered & raped in Baramulla forever altering the demographic balance of the region.
The barbarity of the assault on Baramulla finally pushed the Maharaja towards signing the instrument of Accession to #India .
The first @adgpi troops to land in #JammuAndKashmir were LtCol. Dewan Ranjit Rai & the 1st Sikh Regiment. They were flown into #Srinagar on three Dakotas led by by Wing Cdr Bhatia of the 12 Sqdn. The only @IAF_MCC transport squadron extant then.
The first troops landed at #Srinagar at dawn on 27/10/1947 . These were soon followed by the entirety of 1Sikh & a battery of mortars flown in on military & civil Dakotas . They were followed by the 161 Brigade . Lt Col Rai too fell to enemy fire & was awarded the Mahavir Chakra
Contrary to perception the @IAF_MCC got into action from the 27th of October when two Spitfires from #Ambala started strafing the raiders getting close to #Srinagar .These Spitfires then started operating from Srinagar . They were soon supported by two Tempests from #Jammu
Another little known story is how because the @IAF_MCC didn't have more than 4-5 dakotas available at that time the Govt requested civil airlines for support. The airlines resoponded enmasse & their support ensured that the 3000+ troops of 161 brigade reached Srinagar by 6th Nov.
The Battle of Shalateng finally saved #Srinagar when Col. Harbaksh Singh caught a large bulk of raiders in a pincer between two battlaions of Sikh & Kumaoni troops & a small armored force of Diamler ferret armored cars. The Raiders turned tail & ran.
These Retreating Raiders were strafed by the Spitfires & Tempests . Air Marshal Randhir Singh was one of the air warriors who destroyed many Pakistani vehicles & killed numerous lashkar troops using the 20mm gun on his tempest that day. This stopped the match to #Srinagar
The victory at #Srinagar wasn't the end though the war to liberate portions of #JammuKashmir captured by #Pakistan would drag on till a @UN brokered ceasefire on 31/12/1948. The #Kashmir war is the longest #India & #Pakistan have ever been in formal conflict . A full 14 months .
In recognition of valour in the defence of #JammuAndKashmir the troops & officer corps of the @adgpi won 5 Param Vir Chakras, 47 Mahavir Chakras & 284 Vir Chakras . While the @IAF_MCC air warriors won 4 Mahavir Chakras & 28 Vir Chakras.
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