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Letter From Maharaja Hari Singh to Lord Mount Batten by Asif Raja

Letter From Maharaja Hari Singh to Lord Mount Batten by Asif Raja

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Published by Asif Masood Raja

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Published by: Asif Masood Raja on Apr 10, 2008
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09/27/2012

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Letter from Maharaja Hari Singh to Lord Mountbatten on the eve of Pak invasion on J&K in 1947 
My dear Lord Mountbatten,I have to inform Your Excellency that a grave emergency has arisen in my State andrequest the immediate assistance of your Government. As Your Excellency is aware,theState of Jammu and Kashmir has not acceded to either the Dominion of India or Pakistan.Geographically my State is contiguous wit h both of them. Besides, my State has acommon boundary with the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and with China. In theirexternal relations the Dominion of India and Pakistan cannot ignore this fact. I wanted totake time to decide to which Dominion I should accede or whether it is not in the bestinterests of both the Dominions and of my State to stand independent, of course withfriendly and cordial relations with both. I accordingly approached the Dominions of Indiaand Pakistan to enter into standstill agreement with my State. The Pakistan Governmentaccepted this arrangement. The Dominion of India desired further discussion withrepresentatives of my Government. I could not arrange this in view of the developmentsindicated below. ln fact the Pakistan Goernment under the standstill agreement isoperating the post and telegraph system inside the State. Though we have got a standstillagreement with the Pakistan Government, lhe Govemment permitted a steady andincreasing strangulation of supplies like food, salt and petrol to my State.Afridis, soldiers in plain clothes, and desperadoes wnh modern weapons have beenallowed to infiltrate into the State, at first in the Poonch area, then from Sia1kot andfinally in a mass in the area adjoining-Hazara district on the Ramkote side. The result hasbeen that the limited number of troops at the disposal of the State had to be dispersed andthus had to face the enemy at several points simultaneously, so that it has becomedifficult to stop the wanton destruction of life ad property and the looting of the Mahurapower house, which supplies electric current to the whole of Srinagar and which has beenburnt. The number of women who have been kidnpped and raped makes my heart bleed.The wild forces thus let loose on the State are marching on with the aim of capturingSrinagar, the summer capital of my government, as a first step to overrunning the wholeState.The mass infiltration of tribesman drawn from distant areas of the North-WestFrontier Province, coming regularly in motortrucks, using the Manwehra-Mazaffarabadroad and fully armed with up-to-date weapons, cannot possibly be done without theknowledge of the Provincial Govemment of the North-West Frontier Province and theGovernment of Pakistan. Inspite of repeated appeals made by my Government no attempthas been made to check these raiders or to stop them from coming into my State. In fact,
 
both radio and the Press of Pakistan have reported these occurences. The Pakistan radioeven put out the story that a provisional government has been set up in Kashmir. Thepeople of my State, both Muslims and non-Muslims, generally have taken no part at all.With the conditbns obtaining at present in my State and the great emergency of thesituation as it exists, I have no option but to ask for help from the Indian Dominion.Naturally they cannot send the help asked for by me without my State acceding to theDominion of India. I have accordingly decided to do so, and I attach the instrument of accession for acceptance by your Government. The other alternative is to leave my stateand people to free booters. On this basis no civilised government can exist or bemaintained.This alternative I will never allow to happen so long as I am the ruler of the State and Ihave life to defend my country. I may also inform your Excellency's Government that itis my intention at once to set up an interim government and to ask Sheikh Abdullah tocarry the responsibilities in this emergency with my Prime Minister.If my State is to be saved, immediate assistance must be available at Srinagar. Mr. V.P.Menon is fully aware of the gravity of the situation and will explain it to you, if furtherexplanation is needed.In haste and with kindest regards,Yours sincerely,
Hari Singh
 October 26, 1947
Reply from Lord Mountbatten to Maharaja Hari Singh 
My dear Maharaja Sahib,Your Highness' letter dated 26 October 1947 has been delivered to me by Mr. V.P.Menon. In the circumstances mentioned by Your Highness, my Government havedecided to accept the accession of Kashmir State to the Dominion of India. In consistencewith their policy that in the case of any State where the issue of accession has been thesubject of dispute, the question of accession should be decided in accordance with thewishes of the people of the State, it is my Government's wish that, as soon as law andorder have been restored in Kashmir and its soil cleared of the invader, the question of the State's accession should be settled by a reference to the people.

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