Jammu Massacre is one of the most unreported event in history. To commemorate the victims of the brutal Jammu Massacre, Kashmiris on both sides of the Line of Control will observe the Jammu Martyrs’ Day to reaffirm the resolve to continue the martyrs’ mission till the realization of their basic right to self-determination.
In November 1947, thousands of Muslims were massacred in Jammu region by mobs and state forces led by the army of Dogra ruler Hari Singh. The exact number of casualties in the killings that continued for two months is not known but estimates range from 20,000 to 237,000 and nearly half a million forced into displacement.
At the time of the Partition of India in 1947, the British relinquished their suzerainty over the princely states, which were left with the options of joining India or Pakistan or remaining independent. The Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir 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.
The massacre took place when millions of Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs were crossing the border from the one side to the other, as part of British plan to partition the subcontinent into India and Pakistan.
“The immediate impact (of partition) was in Jammu. The Muslim from different parts of Jammu province were reportedly displaced by the Maharaja Army in a programme of expulsion and genocide carried out over three weeks between October-November 1947,”
In mid-October, the troops of Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir began ejecting Muslim villagers from Jammu province. The refugees were sent on foot toward West Punjab where most were accommodated in refugee camps in the districts of Sialkot, Jhelum, Gujrat and Rawalpindi.
On November 5, Pakistani experts claim that the Army began another organised expulsion of the Muslims but “instead of taking them to Sialkot, the trucks drove them to forest hills of Rajouri districts of Jammu, where they were reportedly executed”.
Jammu Massacre Leading To Demographic Changes
The historians say that the genocide carried out by the Hindu ruler’s army and the Sikh army was a “state-sponsored genocide” to change the demography of the Jammu region – a region which had a substantial Muslims population.
“The massacre of more than two lakh Muslims was state-sponsored and state-supported. The forces from Patiala Punjab were called in, RSS was brought to communalise the whole situation and exterminate Muslims,” said PG Rasool, the author of a book The Historical Reality of Kashmir Dispute.
The Muslims, who comprised of around 60 per cent of the population of Jammu region, were reduced to a minority after the massacre in Jammu.
Syed Shafiq-Ul-Haq, Toronto, Canada