Who attacked Kashmir first? True Story

Please read the actual transcript of a person who has served both side of the border and than descide who first attacked kashmir.

Lieutenant General Srinivas Kumar Sinha (retired), PVSM, is the governor of Jammu and Kashmir.  This is what He has to say about the real story about the attack.

Let me first tell you that there is a lot misconception or misinterpretations about Kashmir. There is propaganda started by Pakistan and lapped by the West, especially during the Cold War. They say it was premeditated aggression by India and an illegal act because India had sent her troops into Kashmir even before the maharaja had acceded.

Yes, they say that troops were already there. I want to give you my account of what actually happened. (At the time of Partition) a British Officer, Lieutenant General Sir Dudley Russell had a skeleton headquarters of territorial officers. I was on his headquarters with the rank of major. I was the only Indian officer at the HQ. Our task was to restore law and order in Punjab and Delhi. It was known as East Punjab Command. We had to provide protection to millions of refugees moving from India to Pakistan and receive millions coming on the other side. The HQ was established on a rail.

(The last British Viceroy Lord Louis) Mountbatten had given us this special train and we were fully self-contained. Living accommodation with attached toilets, operations rooms for officers, mess, (facilities) for clerical staff, signal staff, security (personnel), even the vehicles were mounted on the train; we were thus moving on this command train in Delhi and Punjab.

On October 26, our train had come to the Delhi railway station yard. As soon as we reached in the afternoon, the army commander, Lieutenant General Russel was sent for by the prime minister and given the task of going to Kashmir the next day. We were told at around 5-6 pm. We were all taken aback as we had to send troops the next day, early in the morning. I was given the task to write first an operation order to the units selected to go there (the Sikh I was the first) and to organise the airlift and logistics.

The troops going to Kashmir had to be given warm clothing and ammunition to go to war. They were (EM>presently) only deployed on internal security duty. We worked around the clock and by 6 am the next morning (October 27), the first troops were airborne from Delhi to Srinagar. Yes, by Dakotas of the Indian Air Force, but only 6 Dakotas could be spared by the IAF on the first day, they made 2 sorties each. Later these Dakotas were withdrawn because they were used to bring refugees from West Pakistan.

The air force had only 6 Dakotas and they could not be spared. Later we were told that all the civilian Dakotas in India could be made available to us from October 28 onwards. There were about 50 Dakotas in the country and they were placed at my disposal.

Our problem was that winter was fast approaching: by November 15 Srinagar airfield would not be usable. Srinagar only had a fair weather grass landing strip used by the maharaja. During the monsoon or with snow, it was put out of commission. We had to fly whatever we needed (before the winter) — troops, stock for the winter, ammunition and this during the next 15 or 18 days. Our other problem was that the land route through the Pir Panjal range and the Banihal pass (and there was no tunnel at that time), the pass is at about 10,000 feet and it would get blocked by the snows by November 15. (Therefore) whatever had to be sent to Kashmir, whether by air or road, had to be sent in these 15 or 20 days. Time was the essence. It worked almost as a miracle. We flew 800 Dakota sorties in 15 days without a single mishap, even above the turbulent Pir Panjal range.

Mountbatten referred to this (operation) by saying: ‘In my long experience of war, I have not come across a single instance of such a massive airlift executed at such short notice and so successful.’

This is the story of the airlift. Besides organising the airlift, I was staff officer at the HQ at the time when the British government decided that no British officer, serving either with the Indian or the Pakistan army, would be allowed to visit the theater of operation in Kashmir. Being Indian, I was the only officer from the controlling headquarters who was going and coming to Srinagar whenever needed. I was thus intimately involved with the planning and conduct of the operations in Kashmir.

Som (Major Somnath Sharma) and I had served together in Burma, though we were posted in different sectors. When we returned from Burma to Delhi, Som used to come home quite often to see me. It is I who dispatched Som to Srinagar on October 29, with his hand in a plaster. The following day, I was again in Srinagar, I had to go almost everyday.

(That day) Som was most upset, he wanted to play a more active role. He felt that he was ‘detained’ to guard the airport. I tried to explain to him the importance of the airfield and it so happened that 48 hours later, the airport was attacked. He was sent to Bagdam (to stop the raiders and the rest is history.

There are a lot of imponderables. If you look at the history, the Pakistanis started the operations on October 22 and they reached Baramulla on October 25. They wasted 48 hours, looted Baramulla. Suppose they had not done this, they would have reached Srinagar the same day. If they had come straight, the question would have been decided even before the Indian Army arrived. Then on October 27, the Sikh I was the first unit to go under the command of Diwan Ranjit Rai. They made contact with the Pakistani raiders at the outskirt of Baramulla itself.

At that time, Rai had only 300 men and 100 had been left to protect the airport. He had only 200 men with him while the raiders were 6,000 or 7,000. When the raiders saw the Indian troops and tried to outflank them; in the operation Rai was killed.

By October 29, the Indian Army had fallen back and taken position in a place called Patan, half way between Baramulla and Srinagar. They were holding the enemy, but it was found that we were too weak on the ground, we could easily be by-passed and the raiders could easily make it to Srinagar.

So, the decision was taken to form a close defence of Srinagar and fall back on a place called Shalatang, which was then at the outskirts of the city (today in part of the city). It was at that time that the raiders decided to attack the airfield, leaving Shalatang and by-passing by the left (if you look at a map).

These are some of the imponderables.

If the raiders had acted differently to what they did, they would have got in Srinagar and later the airfield and we would not have been able to build our strength.

In fact, we later went on a counter-offensive, but it was only on November 7, that we could build the strength to do so. The situation had been critical at that time.

  

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