Kashmir Conspiracy Case
Nehru, dear friend of Sheikh Abdullah, was not happy over the incarceration of the Sheikh. Therefore, after keeping him in prison for five years the Sheikh was released in 1958. Bakshi kept him under surveillance. Sheikh Abdullah restarted igniting the fire of communalism. The speech, which he delivered at Hazratbal soon after his release, was full of anti-India and separatist contents. Riots broke out after the speech. One person was killed and several were injured. Those arrested in connection with the Hazratbal riots included three former legislators and one former Deputy Minister.
The Bakshi gave full liberty to Sheikh Abdullah to say and do anything but he was shadowed by the intelligence sleuths. These intelligence sleuths kept tape recorders in their pockets and attended all the functions of the Sheikh and even shouted slogans in favour of the Sheikh in rallies, congregations and processions. When ample proof was collected regarding the Sheikh's links with Pakistan and of his speeches and activities, the Bakshi rearrested Sheikh Abdullah. The entire matter relating to the conspiracy of the Sheikh for joining hands with Pakistan was submitted to Nehru alongwith documentary evidence. Pt. Nehru was taken aback while listening to the tapes and while going through the letters of Sheikh Abdullah. He approved launching of a case against the Sheikh. The Kashmir conspiracy case was launched against Sheikh Abdullah, Mirza Afzal Beg and 22 other people on charge of having conspired with Pakistan. In order to understand the gravity of the case pertaining to treason against India and link-up with a foreign country the court hearing of March 14, 1959 is worth mentioning.
Based on Notes
by the Accused
Opening Address delivered by Mr. G.S. Pathak
for the prosecution in the court
on 14th March, 1959.
The accused are charged under section 121-A, R.P.C and 120-B, read with Rule 32 and Rule 33 of the Security Rules.
Conspiracy to overawe the Government is a crime of very serious nature. It has dangerous effects on society. Most of the accused are well educated and have been holding positions of responsibility. This enhances the degree of their crime.
Mr. Beg: According to the High Court Ruling there should be no personal remarks. The High Court Ruling should be respected.
Mr. Nageshwar Prashad: The case has been opened and the proceedings of the Court should continue as per practice. In case the accused do not wish to listen they should not interfere in the proceedings.
Court: The defence counsel should not interfere.
Sheikh Abdullah: Please begin your cock and bull story.
Mr. Pathak: In brief, between 9th of August 1953 and 29th April, 1958, the accused and their accomplices bath inside and outside the state collaborated with Pakistani officials to overthrow the Government with violence. Their intention was to overthrow the Government and to annex the state with Pakistan through the process to spread hatred in the masses against the Government.
(2) To start communal riots thereby endangering life and property of the masses.
(3) To recruit volunteers in order to make the conspiracy successful.
Begum Sheikh Abdullah, Mr. Beg, Chikkan, Gilani and Ali Shah received large amount of money from Pakistan for this purpose. They also received type-writers and lithomachines and literature for propaganda purposes. Besides explosives were received from Pakistan for blowing up bridges, factories, military installations, mosques, temples and Gurdwaras, so that the Government machinery may be paralysed. People were trained in Pakistan to come and create havoc here. According to law, conspiracy can take place between two or more persons. It is not necessary that the conspiracy may be translated into action. The very agreement between the conspirators is sufficient. Conspiracies are hatched in dark and secretly and, therefore, direct evidence to prove them is not necessary. If reasonable circumstantial evidence of two persons conspiring is available, the conspiracy is proved. In a conspiracy some people may be collecting funds, some may be carrying on propaganda, while others may be throwing bombs. All are equally guilty and it is not necessary that all should know each other. I shall now proceed to touch on the salient facts of the case.
Firstly, we have to see whether the charges brought up can be proved. The first and foremost thing is the security of the State for which no heed can be paid to the high station or position of any one. Pakistan attacked this state in 1947 and used various means for it. When they failed in their mission, they started indirect aggression and conspiracy. For this purpose they opened up centres at Rawalakot, Lepa, Mori Maidan and Hillan near the cease-fire line. These centres received instructions from Rawalpindi. The prosecution will prove that the conspirators had contact with these agencies. Their object was to collect military intelligence, launch propaganda and spread communal hatred.
Sheikh Abdullah was the forerunner of this conspiracy. He was removed from the office of the Chief Minister and Bakshi Ghulam Mohd. who was the Deputy leader, has appointed to that office. On 9th of August, 1953 Sheikh Abdullah was placed under detention. This was a great blow to him and he was enraged, which is apparent from his speeches of January 1958 wherein he was used abusive language against Bakshi Ghulam Mohd. and other Government officials and called them goondas and traitors. The Sheikh could not brook any opposition and Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad became the object of his hatred and anger.
Beg: What is the meaning of the discourse ? Is there no respect for the High Court's orders ?
Court: I will hear their points of view and when your turn comes, you will also be heard.
Beg: The correct time for my reply was immediately after the address, which you have turned down. What I mean is how can I stay quiet when our character is being attacked. Great injustice has been done to us.
Court: Please be patient.
Beg: How can I be patient with abuses being hurled upon me. The intention is to spread hatred amongst the masses against us with this propaganda through newspapers. Justice demands that this should be stopped or else I should be allowed to reply the address straightaway.
Court: If the prosecution does not produce evidence in support of this contention. I shall stop it.
Beg: Without my reply, their evidence shall be one-sided, which is unjust.
Mr. Pathak: Sheikh Abdullah was perturbed over the loss of his office and being angered with his Deputy, who formed the next Government, he decided to overthrow him. Because he could not do so by constitutional means, he decided upon a course of criminal actions, for which he obtained support from Pakistan which suited that country. Sheikh Abdullah was an easy ally for them and he and his colleagues conspired with Pakistani Agents to overthrow the Government through criminal pressure. I shall now give details of events which are very lengthy.
In October 1953, Begum Abdullah kept up a correspondence with Major Asgar Ali Shah. Pir Ata Mohammad worked as a messenger. The Begum asked for explosives, bombs, lithomachines etc. Upto October 24, 1953, and on other occasions also, she stayed with Sheikh Abdullah at Udhampur Jail. According to prosecution, the Sheikh and the Begum decided to take steps in the conspiracy. On her return from her meeting with the Sheikh, the Begum replied to Asgar Ali Shah's letter. Maqbool Naik brought back a reply informing the Begum that necessary substance would be provided.
All this occurred at Nihalpura. Pir Ataullah was arrested at Baramulla on November 25,1953 with a letter of the Begum. The letter is written in English and is like a puzzle. The names of the writer and the addresses have been kept secret. The word G.K. firm has been used for Pakistan and Khwaja firm for herself. The word "anoliekin" has been used for Pir Ata Mohammad. All these names are fictitious so that their innocence may be pleaded in an emergency. The Begum was doing all this in consultation with her husband. On 22-11-1953 Akbar Baksh, agent of Hillan agency, was arrested at Tangmarg and two letters were recovered from him. One was written by Asgar Ali Shah from Karachi, and the other was also written by him under the name of Hasan Joo, to the address of Ghulam Mohammad Dar Lieutant. The first letter was addressed to Alkbar Baksh asking him to work up a friendship with Mr. Abdul Gani and Sardar so that a mutiny may be organised in the militia through Ghulam Mohammad Dar. Some other people will come to Ghulam Mohammad Dar with some proposals. Action may be taken on whichever of these proposals are acceptable. A War Council was set up on the arrest of Sheikh Abdullah and the accused were its members. Violence was their creed and rumours were being spread against the Government. For example it was said that men and women were attacked while saying their prayers and that the Indian Police and Army entered into a shrine with their boots on and attacked Muslims offering their prayers. The posters, pamphlets and newspapers issued by the War Council show that this party was bent upon war mongering and violence. As an example, a poster issued on 20-10-58 reads 'Time has come when the traitor Bakshi will have to pay for his deeds. He has stopped Muslims from offering prayers, desecrated a holy shrine and opened fire on Muslims. All Muslims should collect in the shrine and finish off Bakshi. Bakshi is an agent of India; he is vile, a traitor and ungrateful. The world spurns him".
The activities of the War Council continued. Pamphlets and posters also continued. One poster titled Abdullah Day carried the slogans, "Abdullah Zindabad and Pakistan Zindabad". The Prime Minister of India riding a donkey and followed by Indian Army was shown leaving Kashmir. This poster was recovered from the house of Ghulam Ahmed Sheri who is an important member of the War Council. Another poster reads as follows:
"Crusaders, your success is near at hand. The days of the traitors are over. They will not get a yard of earth for their graves even. The Indian Army will soon go away. The hour of their death has arrived. Traitors, even your vily patron saint Nehru has realised the certainty of your death. Pakistan has entered into a pact with America. Traitors shall soon meet their end."
These contents of the posters were broadcast in order to spread hatred against the Government and the Indian Army.
All that was being done was within the knowledge of Sheikh Abdullah. During this period Mohammad Amin wrote a letter to the Sheikh which includes these words: "We have started a crusade of posters against the traitors. "This letter gives a detailed account of the achievements of the War Council. What can the authors of such posters and propaganda mean except to spread hatred against the Government and to provoke communal riots among the illiterate masses and to create chaos in the country ? In the middle of 1954 Mirza Afzal Beg and Khwaja Ali Shah, who was a commissioner and both of whom held in high positions, were lodged in Kud Jail. They collaborated with subordinate staff of the jail, by which means the conspirators kept up correspondence with Pakistan officials. Among these people, Parmanand used to take letters to Maqbool Gilani who saw them through to Asgar Shah at Hillan Agency. Sometimes visitors and relatives of detenues also did these jobs. During this time a special occurrence that took place was that Gulzar Khan who used to collect Military intelligence through Mirza Afzal Beg and his relatives was arrested.
After the arrest af Pir Ata Mohammad and Akbar Baksh, one Mehraj Din was recruited for this work. Hillan Agency used him for conveying literature and funds to Maqbool Gilani. On November 21,1955 a lot of papers were recovered which showed that a litho-machine was sent to Maqbool Gilani for purposes of printing inflammatory propaganda, statements and newssheets. On November 29, 1954, Mirza Afzal Beg was released. The conspirators received an incentive with his ability. A letter was recovered from Miraj Din. It was addressed to Mirza Afzal Beg and contained fictitious names. It was written by Keramat Hassan; a Pakistani police officer and was addressed to Ibraheem, and described Miraj Din as Azad. This letter is full of puzzles and contained the following:
"Lala Mehar Chand is going abroad, which will create hindrances to our business. But it is gratifying that Israil has come out, for he can carry on the business. Israil must be consulted. I am sending a separate letter for him. He should be consulted."
According to the code list recovered, Mehar Chand is Maqbool Gilani who worked between Kud Jail and Pakistan. Since Maqbool Gilani was going for Haj Pilgrimage, it was feared th at work would be hampered. Mr. Beg was called Israil. Mr. Beg has used various names during this conspiracy. At that time Mohd. Khan of Rawalpindi was known as Ibraheem Khan. This letter shows Mr. Beg's relationship with Pakistan. We shall prove with evidence that Pakistan and people here worked in collaboration, Maqbool Gilani received Litho-machine through Sanaullah towards the end of 1955 and used it for his poster warfare, for inciting the public to violence, hurling abuses and spreading false rumours against the state Police, and the Indian Government and the Army.
The second letter from Khan Mohd. Khan to Miraj Din shows that "Malichh" means Indian Army and Sher Mohammad Khan means Pakistan. This letter also enquires as to what other kind of assistance is needed. A sample poster is also enclosed in which the Indian Army has been asked to quit Kashmir and the public has been advised to follow Pakistan and posters were made according to the instructions.
According to Miraj Din's letter, Mr. Beg was complying with the instructions and he set up an Awami War Council. Another poster shows Chikkan asking the Indian Army to quit Kashmir. Another letter was seized which shows that Mr. Mohammad Afzal Beg was released on 29th November, 1954, was a keen worker and was prosecuting with ability.
On July, 1955, Ataullah Beg brought a letter to Afzal Beg and conveyed him some instructions verbally. After that the Plebiscite Front was formed on Pakistan's advice. Its name was a camouflage. In reality, it carried on the work of the War Council and its object was to bring about the overthrow of the Government.
Before the formation of the Plebiscite Front, these people worked in the name of the War Council which had an underground character. The name was changed to carry on the work openly. But there was no change in its object or programme. Poster campaign, threats, incitements to violence and provocative propaganda was carried on a bigger scale through the Plebiscite Front.
One letter dated October 16, 1955, was seized from Khawaja Tajuddin. It is stated therein "literature has been sent. Get letters from Afzal Beg and Begum". On November 1955 Miraj Din was searched and a code-list along with this letter was recovered. These letters will be produced in the Court as documentary evidence. All this work went on under the directions of Sheikh Abdullah and Mirza Afzal Beg.
The Plebiscite Front had very small income and its expenses were so heavy that they could be met only from Pakistan. Much money wae not collected in the state. Another letter of Pakistan Agency has been seized in which material for broadcast over the Azad Kashmir Radio and for propaganda in foreign countries has been asked for as also weekly reports of work.
Sajjawal Khan was incharge of Hillan Agency after the formation of the Plebiscite Front. A meeting was held with Sajjawal Khan at which Ali Shah, Pir Maqbool and Sofi Mohd. Akbar were present. At that time "penicillin" was used as substitute for currency. Sajjawal Khan had a secret meeting with Beg Sahib and had long talks with him on August 23,1955.
The correspondence showed that a good deal of money came from Pakistan as it had great interest in the Plebiscite Front. They received instructions and advice from there and information was sent from here. Posters and leaflets were printed according to Pakistan's advice. In short there was regular cooperation between Pakistan and Conspirators. It will be proved through evidence that the Plebiscite Front was formed in consultation with Pakistan.
Meetings were held between the conspirators where as letters and circulars from Sheikh Abdullah were read and the instructions carried out.
In October 1955, Mohiuddin Zargar, Acting President of the Plebiscite Front, received Rs.7,000. At that time Sannaullah Khan was arrested and Begum Abdullah's letter was recovered. Rs. 15,000 were sent to Sofi Mohd. Akbar and it was directed that receipt should be secured from Beg Sahib and sent.
Literature and poster campaign continued. The accused Chikkan went to Lahore ostensibly for a cricket match and brought Rs. 1,00,000 from Pakistan officials. The important incidents of the period are:
A letter from
Khawaja Ali Shah to Sheikh Abdullah saying:
"Time for bold and open action has come".
There were some other letters along with this letter which had come from Pakistan. According to these Wafa was Chikkan's name - "Begum M.M.N. was Madre Meharban". In this letter Ali Shah suggests formation of a volunteer corps and seeks advice in the matter. Evidently Pakistan was also interested in its gain, hence Ali Shah suggests the formation of volunteers' corps. Beg in his reply sent under the name of Nizamuddin, and using Assadullah for Sheikh Abdullah, says, "a detailed letter has been sent to Pakistan by Asad Sahib". The letter is in reply to Niazi (Khan Mahd. Khan). At that time Sheikh Sahib, Chikkan Sahib and Beg Sahib directly corresponded with one another.
On the search of Mirza Afzal Beg a letter from the accused Mir Ghulam Rasool was recovered in which reference was made to Sheikh Sahib to write to the U.N.O. According to this letter, he was advised to send a copy of the original letter. This letter was drafted in consultation with Pakistan and was smuggled into Pakistan. Copies of it were distributed in New York. The purpose behind the advice for a copy was that there should be no proof of correspondence from inside the Jail.
The letter recovered from Afzal Beg shows that it was intended to have recourse to violence now. It was written in the letter. "A pair of scissors has arrived but there are no gardeners for its use". Apparently a "pair of scissors" meant "subversive activities".
Mr. Beg: The prosecution counsel is drawing inferences which is court's job, I strongly object to this. This is contrary to the rules. The Court should abide by the High Court's decision.
Mr. Pathak: The pair of scissors implied weapons of descruction and the gardeners, men who would use them and who had to come from Pakistan.
One letter was sent by Chikkan accused in the name of Wahab Buttto Afzal Beg in Kud Jail in the name of Nizamuddin. It says that G.B. is working boldly. G.B. means Ghulam Rasool. Such like letters show that Sheikh Abdullah was working with the conspirators outside through his sons and visitors.
The conspirators were attempting to create terror among the people. Arms and ammunition were received from Pakistan during this period. In 1356 Sajjawal Khan brought some arms to Srinagar. The object was outwardly to keep Sheikh Abdullah aloof from the Plebiscite Front and its activities. At that time one group of the party would keep its activities secret from the other group. All these illegal measures were adopted to end the Government and restore Sheikh Abdullah to premiership. This letter was written by Mohd. Amin to Khawaja Ali Shah.
At that time assistance of every kind and financial assistance was received from Pakistan. A boy, Abdul Aziz Parwana, went to Pakistan to secure the consent of his parents to marry his fiance. A wrong use of it was made and he used to bring money and weapons of destruction. The other conspirators worked nutside the Jail. Sheikh Abdullah and his colleagues sent instructions from inside the Jail. Sheikh Abdullah in his circulars dwelt upon religious matters and incited people to violence against the present Government to bring about a rebellion in the state.
The activities increased, Sheikh Abdullah's circulars continued to be issued on Islamic festivals in particular, such things were written as would incite the people against the Government. The workers distributed leaflets outside. Sheikh Sahib provided provocation to the people quoting from the religious books. The letters of the time show that considerable money has been received from Pakistan.
On April 14, 1957 Afzal Beg wrote a letter to Khan Mohd. Khan (Niazi). The letter referred to the meeting of August 23 with that officer. It is written therein that money has reached Ali Shah. It is further said "give sixty thousand rupees to Ghulam Mohd. Chikkan (Husain Sahib). He brought the huge arnount from Pakistan afterwards. It is further written that Rs. 30,000 has been sent. In this reference is made to the first receipt and Bunglow. This money was brought by Mohd. Nazir accused on May 7, 1957. One letter was sent by Chikkan to Niazi. It is said therein that code has been changed. Instead of Hakim, Niazi and Nizamudin, Iqbal, Rafiqi and Mumtaz should be used In August 1957 many letters were exchanged between Iqbal and Rafiqi. It was written therein that the letters should be written frequently.
In August 1957 Begum Sheikh Abdullah sent a receipt for Rs. 10,000 in her own hand in the pseudo name of "Sister". In October 1956 Niazi wrote to Begum Abdullah "Respected sister, got receipt for Rs. 10,000 from you but no detailed letter. No letter has been received from the brother to the letter sent through other means. The reply is awaited. I am sending a copy of the letter. Please get a reply sent.
The accompsnying letter referred to the letter addressed to the rnembers of the Security Council and said that if Sheikh Abdullah desired to be personally present in the Security Council every effort therefor will be made. It was further written that after coming out he would do such work as was being done in other countries. Sheikh Abdullah wrote back: "The detention is serving the purpose. If I am released I will do my best to carry out the work".
On October 10, 1957 Begum Abdullah wrote a receipt for Rs. 20,000 in her own hand. Niazi sent the money to Begum Sheikh Abdullah and wrote to the bearer that the money should be delivered to Begum. On May 1,1958 receipt for 20 dozen eggs which is Rs.19,700 is sent. In August l958 receipt for five dozen eggs is given. In November, 1958 Rs. 20,000 were sent for defence.
In the middle of 1957 the conspirators indulged in activities which increased disarder and gave practical form to violence. The letter which Ghulam Rasool wrote to Mirza Afzal Beg said "Haider Khan's men came last week. Pakistan wants to come out openly. The gardener has not come with the goods and the pair of scissors". The reference was Shakhtarashi. The meaning is clear.
On June 13, 1957 mines, booby traps and bombs started arriving. A bomb explosion took place outside Palladium cinema, owned by a Sikh, on June 13, 1957. It was written in the letter that Sardar Sahib should be contacted. Another explosion took place on Alocha Pul. Pakistan newspapers were pasted there. On July 12, 1957 explosive material was recovered from Parwana. A bomb was planted in ISC truck. A passer by picked up a booby trap and was blown to pieces. Time bombs were planted on July 23, 1957 in village Tath which killed two villagers. On September 8, 1957 a bomb explosion took place in Maisuma mosque near the washing place and two persons were killed. The object was to bring the Government to disgrace through communal rioting. On September 24, 1957 a bomb exploded in Gurdwara Darampura. On November 17, 1957 bamb exploded in a temple damaged the "shivling".
Bagh Ali and Ismail were arrested. They had bombs with Pakistan markings. The persons arrested stated that these bombs had been sent by Sajjawal Khan. All these bombs were used in l957 and the ammunition recovered is for army use only and is not common place. On May 25, 1957 some papers were recovered from Zaman Parrey and on May 26, 1957 from the residence of Mirza Afzal Beg and Mirza Ghulam Qadir Beg. On December 11, 1957 a note-book was recovered from the residence of Pir Abdul Ghani in which there were copies of Sheikh Abdullah's letters. A register giving details about Sheikh's letters was also recovered.
In January 1958, Sheikh Abdullah delivered speeches in mosques. He was arrested on April 29, 1958 and two letters were recovered. One recorded the progress of volunteer corps and the other was a letter from the Plebiscite Front which had corrections made thereon in Sheikh Abdullah's hand.
Some witnesses have been accomplices in the crime and some not. Some witnesses are there in regard to searches, code, bombs, loss of life and other evidence.
All this has been stated by way of instances.
Sheikh Abdullah: Is that all Mr. Pathak ? You have solved the Kashmir problem.
(Excerpts from the Kashmir Conspiracy case, compiled by Sh. Ghulam Rasool Kochak)
This case continued for six years. There was an open discussion on all the charges against the Sheikh. The Government had to spend Rs. three corers on the case. The Sheikh's expenses were met by his woman friend, Mridulla Sarabai, who was the daughter of the owner of the Bombay-based famous industry "Sarabai Chemicals". The case started from May 21, 1958. The Sheikh and his collegues raised unnecessary hurdles in order to prolong the case. When the conspiracy was confirmed and charges against all the accused were established the Lower Court referred the case for hearing to the Sessions court.
Nehru remained highly upset over the conspiracy Case. He did not want the Sheikh to be punished for sedition. People in the entire country were keen to hear the verdict on this prolonged case which was not only costly but had national importance. Suddenly Nehru and G.M. Sadiq decided to withdraw the case and released Sheikh Abdullah on April 8, 1964. The Sheikh went on a tour of Pakistan in the first week of May.
Political motive Sheikh's Haj pilgrimage
Sheikh Abdullah and his wife went on a Haj pilgrimage in February 1965. He utilised this pilgrimage for propagating his political views. During this Haj pilgrimage the Sheikh, through foreign newspapers, tried his best to create an opinion against India and remained engaged in seeking support for the right of self-determination for the people of Kashmir. When the Sheikh reached Cairo, capital of Egypt, he made an appeal, through a press conference, to President Nasser to use his international political influence for merging the divided Kashmir into one "independent" Kashmir. In 1965 the Sheikh demanded that the Kashmir issue be raised in the Afro-Asian Conference which was organised in Algeria. This tour of Sheikh Abdullah made the position of India further ridiculous in the international circles.
Mirza Afzal Beg, prominent leader of the Plebiscite Front and co-accused in the Kashmir conspiracy case, too was with the Sheikh during this foreign trip. The two, while carrying out their propaganda against India, appealed to the countries of the world that they should decide the fate of Kashmir under the supervision of the United Nations. It has become a daily routine for them to launch anti-India campaign. During the middle of March, 1965 he also had a meeting with Chinese Prime Minister, Chou-En-lai. Those days the diplomatic relations between India and China had been snapped. Therefore, the Government of India immediately cancelled his passport. When he returned, he was arrested on Delhi airport. He was released on December 8, 1967.
After three days of his release, Sheikh Abdullah wrote a letter to one of his friends and a well-known leader, Khawaja Ghulam Ahmed Kashmiri which gives an insight to the mind of the Sheikh. A copy of this letter has been included by Mr. Y. D. Gundeviya, ICS (Retd.) in his book ''the Testament of Sheikh". The contents of the latter are:
3, Kotla Lane,
11 December, 1967
May you have God's protection and blessings. Your congratulatory letter for my birthday with prayers for my long life has been received. Many thanks for the same.
To me life is a journey which can be travelled in two ways. One can journey through it either as a slave to his wishes or as an obedient servant of God. In 1953 I had to decide which of the two ways I should adopt for myself. On one side people were beckoning to me to live a life of comfort, luxury, affluence and authority at the cost of my conscience. They were asking me forget my ideals of self-deterrnination and the rights of the people of Kashmir to govern themselves and to barter away rights of Kashmiris which have trampled on by rulers for hundreds of years. On the other side, the holy Koran was warning me in God's own voice not to reject God's path and not to fall prey to the comforts of life.
Wise men had been telling me that the promises of men have no value: they can be broken at will. But on the other hand, God's direction to be faithful and loyal was calling upon me to fulfil my promises to the people at all costs. There was a great deal of mental conflict for me in those days. But finally I decided that at no cost could I barter away the inherent right of the Kashmiris for self-determination. For centuries Kaahmiris have been deprived of their rights. Whoever the ruler from outside Kashmir, he treated the Kashmiris harshly and drove them like cattle. In 1931 under my leadership, the Kashmiris awakened and with one mind and one voice, adopted the slogan "It is the right of Kashmiri people to form their own Government". They were willing to shed their blood throughout Kashmir for this ideal. Interpreting their wishes, I had stated in a court of law in my trial that I was leading a movement for self-rule in Kashmir.
For a very long time Kashmir has attracted people by its natural beauty, by art and industry of the Kashmiri artisans. Nature has enriched the land and attracted people from many nations. But if Kashmir has been such an object of attraction for people from outside, how much more is it for the Kashmiri who have been born in this beautiful setting.
In spite of this rich blessings of Nature, the people of Kashmir are poor and hungry. Their faces are emaciated and they have no hopes for the future. Their eyes are dull and without light. Those who sympathise with them are pained to see their pitiful condition.
After concerted efforts for many years, in 1947, the whole world accepted as fair and just their demand for self-determination. It would have been mean on my part to have bartered away the freedom ofthe people at Kashmir for my personal gain and high office.
I had realised much earlier that the path to truth was full of thorns and privations but with my strong faith in God, I adopted that path. Does not the Quran say: "He is the Master of East and West. No other person except God is worthy of our worship. Make Him your guide and your beacon light" ?
I feel even today that my decision was right. It is difficult to express what mental satisfaction I had by this decision. From August 9,1953 to this day when more than fourteen years have elapsed, countless manoeuvres and attacks have been launched against me to gag the voice of truth and justice but all their attempts have failed. The heart of every man in Kashmir, when it beats, seems to say "Kashmir is our land. We shall decide our own fate".
The difficulties in our way persist but the destination is clear. The need of the hour is that we should continue our efforts unabated and should put our foot forward with firm conviction. God willing success will be ours.
May God give us faith and will to act.
Sheikh Mohd. Abdullah
No place for India in Sheikh's mind
After this letter the Sheikh toured many parts of the country and enlightened Kashmiri Muslims on the right of self- determination On January 12, 1968 the Sheikh addressed a meeting of Kashmiri traders in Ashoka Hotel in Delhi.
He said: 'When we launched our agitation, we had declared that Kashmir is our motherland and only Kashmiris alone can decide its future. Our slogans "Kashmir belongs to Kashmiris, self-determination is the right of people of Kashmir" took roots in the vision of Kashmiris and they became dear to them. The idea of self-determination later spread to other states in the country. But it started from Kashmir. The principle of self-determination is the basis of the UN Charter which has been accepted by majority of countries. Kashmiris have been deprived of this right.
But I am steadfast in my views. This right could not be snatched either by India or by Pakistan. We have been deprived of this right, right from the beginning and we launched the agitation for the restoration of this right to us".
It is quite evident that Sheikh Sahib is intoxicated by Kashmir, Kashmiri and his ambition for power. In his mind there had been no place for India. While expressing his ideas about independent Kashmir, he has placed India and Pakistan in the same pans of the balance.
Mr. Gundeviya has given some other excerpts from the Sheikh's speeches.
The Sheikh said, "If we have to finish our miseries and difficulties, we have to improve our character. Misfortunes do come definitely in the way, but the courageous people should face them boldly. How long can the Muslims remain unemployed ? How long can they depend on uncertain assurances ? Without good character, we cannot give the message of unity and amity to the world.
We are continuing with our agitation against injustice in Kashmir. But we are not ignorant and unaware of the difficulties of the Indian Muslims. We will not take any step which will harm their interests. But we will not surrender before any type of blackmail. It is the right of the Indian Muslims to live in their motherland but this right is not based on Kashmir's accession to India. The Indian Muslims should be capable of saying that if Kashmiris accede to India, it is welcome and if they do not do so, it is their wish".
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