India in defense of Sheikh Abdullah’s arrest in UN

Pakistan had strongly reacted to Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah’s re-arrest and sent a detailed communication to the United Nations Security Council in 1958. Here follows the response from Arthur S Lall, India’s permanent representative to the UN on June 11, 1958. This communication was addressed to the president of the Security Council.

(Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah coming out of Jammu jail before returning to power.)

  1. In continuation of my delegations letter No 144/PR of 1 May 1958 (Document S/3999), I have been instructed by the Government of India to refer to the letter from the Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations to the President of the Security Council dated 6 May 1958, about the arrest of Sheikh Abdullah, and to state that this is a further instance of the campaign of misrepresentation and vilification that Pakistan has been carrying on against India during the last eleven years.
  2. Sheikh Abdullah was served with an order of detention, under Section 3(1) (A)(III) of the Jammu and Kashmir Preventive Detention Act by the District Superintendent of Police at 11.15 p.m. on the night of 29 April at Sowra, a village six miles from Srinagar. The Jammu and Kashmir Government ordered the detention of Sheikh Abdullah as his remaining at large was hazardous to the security of the State. It is not possible at present to set out in detail the reasons for the Jammu & Kashmir Government’s decision to detain Sheikh Abdullah, as there is a Conspiracy Case pending against some twenty-one persons in the Courts in Kashmir and much of such material is part of the evidence to be adduced at the trial and therefore sub judice. Sheikh Abdullah, it may however be stated, had been harbouring at his own residence proclaimed offenders wanted in connection with crime, including looting, arson and murder, organized and committed by some Plebiscite Front workers at Hazratbal on 21 February 1958. One of these proclaimed offenders was apprehended in Sheikh Abdullah’s house at the time of Sheikh Abdullah’s arrest. In the above mentioned conspiracy matter, the prosecution (the Government of Jammu and Kashmir) has alleged that since Sheikh Abdullah’s arrest and detention in August 1953, “he, his relatives and associates, including some of the accused, decided to bring about the overthrow of the Government of the State established by law and to that end, to enlist the support of, and join hands with, Pakistan agents and officials. To achieve this object, the accused, between 9 August 1953 and 29 April 1958, amongst themselves and with other persons, known and unknown, at Srinagar and diverse other places, both in and outside the State, conspired to over-awe by means of criminal force, and show of criminal force, the Government of the State.”


    (A November, 1957 photograph showing V K Krishna Menon (centre), Union Defence Minister & Chairman of the Indian Delegation to the session of the UN General Assembly, in conversation with Arthur S Lall (left), Permanent Representative of India to the UN (and Mr. A.N. Gromyko, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the USSR. & Chairman of the Russian Delegation to the General Assembly in New York in November, 1957.)

  3. The detention of Sheikh Abdullah and the prosecution of others involved in the conspiracy case are matters entirely within the jurisdiction of the Jammu and Kashmir Government as a constituent State of the Union of India. I am instructed by my Government to lodge an emphatic protest against the letter dated 6 May from the Permanent Representative of Pakistan to Your Excellences which is a blatant attempt at interference with the internal affairs of Jammu and Kashmir, one of the constituent States of the Indian Union, a Member State of the United Nations.
  4. The basic assertion in the letter from the Permanent Representative of Pakistan is that Sheikh Abdullah had not the slightest intention of resorting to violence or of creating disturbances in the State and that in fact Sheikh Abdullah had emphasized the need for Hindu-Muslim amity. Based on these premises, the Permanent Representative of Pakistan has imputed various motives for the detention of Sheikh Abdullah. That this basic assertion of the Pakistan Permanent Representative is totally fa13e can be seen from the following extracts from the reports of foreign press correspondents who have been seeing things for themselves during their frequent visits to Kashmir:

Manchester Guardian 11 January 1958

“The Sheikh is hitting India below the belt where it hurts most, where there is enough of communal suspense and a flicker of potential truth for things to flare up. Whether it is a responsible stand even for a patriot to take is open to question. It is no good saying ‘occurrences of 1947 must not be repeated, and then to try to open a recently healed wound.”

Glasgow Herald 13 January 1958

“But it is questionable whether he (Sheikh Abdullah) was wise in bringing the issue of communalism into the open. No one, as the Sheikh said, wants a recurrence of the events of 1947. But to insist on Hindu-Muslim differences might be the easiest way of bringing it about.”

New Statesman, London 31 January 1958

“A somewhat new and regrettable development evident in his speeches in his inclination towards communalism – the Hindu-Muslim inhibition that the Indian Government has been trying desperately to erase from India’s mind not unsuccessfully … His first address at Srinagar is said to have been liberally interspersed with verses from the Koran and delivered in an atmosphere reminiscent of communal meetings in pre-partition India.”

News Chronicle, London 1 May 1958

“He also played the dangerous game of setting the Muslims against Hindus to increase his personal following – something which might have ended in the same terrible bloodshed of partition.”

Manchester Guardian 1 May 1958

“Apparently the strain thrown on the administration by the unsettling activities of Sheikh Abdullah reached a breaking point. Finally, the decision has been taken to detain the Sheikh in order to relieve the valley of unnecessary political tension.”

  1. Sheikh Abdullah had been making public statements calculated to inflame religious passions and seeking to create conditions of disorder and lawlessness and supplementing Pakistan’s subversive and sabotage activities in Jammu and Kashmir. For this purpose, Sheikh Abdullah began to collect large funds to organize a force of so-called volunteers who were the nucleus of a private army.

While addressing a meeting at Srinagar last March, Sheikh Abdullah used vituperative language against the Prime Minister of Jammu and Kashmir and, when part of the audience walked out in protest, Sheikh Abdullah exhorted his audience to ‘kill traitors if there are any amongst you’ and added that his Razakars (name of his militant force of volunteers) were prepared to meet the situation. These activities of Sheikh Abdullah were well known in Pakistan and they had the continued support of the Pakistan Government, as the following report from Dawn of Karachi dated 8 May, will show:

Dawn, Karachi 8 May, 1958

“It is stated that some kind of a ‘Maquis’ underground organization may soon spring up in occupied Kashmir to defy Bakhshi’s authority. Sheikh Abdullah had planned such an organisation as part of his anti-Indian fight in occupied Kashmir, but the planning was not completed when he was rearrested.”

This was also noticed by foreign correspondents for example, the Daily Telegraph, London, of 3 May 1958, has the following report:

“Even his ‘private army’, they (Sheikh Abdullah’s adherents) say, was a purely mercenary force paid L3 a month with Pakistan money.”

  1. It is well and widely known that conditions in Jammu and Kashmir are normal despite these attempts to create disorder. Already 25,000 tourists have visited the valley. Restrictions on the taking out of processions and the holding of political meetings without the previous permission of the District Magistrate, imposed in March last, have been withdrawn in most places. Celebrations in connection with the Spring Festival started throughout the valley on 19 May.
  2. In spite of this and the reports of independent observers to this effect, Pakistan press and radio have been putting out false and tendentious reports to misrepresent conditions in Jammu and Kashmir, misleading the world, increasing tension between the people of India and Pakistan and promoting a war psychosis amongst their people as will be seen from the following:

“Today’s dispatch from our special correspondent in Srinagar provides little evidence of the symptoms of public disturbance – the shops in Srinagar were all open today and busy ensnaring tourists in the usual manner. There is no curfew in the town and no sign of outward tension beyond intensified armed police patrols.”

(Telegraph, London, 2 May 1958)

“In Srinagar a huge procession was taken out by the Plebiscite Front workers and it was later charged by Bakshi police – about three hundred persons are said to have been arrested during the 24 hours. Of this 76 were arrested in Srinagar alone.”

(Radio Pakistan, 2.5.1958)

  1. In my last letter No. 144/PR dated 1 May 1958 (S/3999), I referred to Pakistan Government’s campaign of hatred and calumny against India in violation of the Security Council resolution of 17 January 1948. Pakistan has committed and continues to commit grave violations of this resolution and of every undertaking she has given. Pakistan invaded the State with its regular armed forces, in defiance of this resolution. The people of Pakistan are subjected to a continuous campaign of hatred against India and the Pakistan leaders have now thrown all restraint to the winds and openly advocate war and further aggression against India. The following extracts show how the authorities in Pakistan who are guilty of flagrant violation of the resolution of the Security Council dated 17 January 1948 are committing further violation of this resolution and instigating further aggression against India.

Chaudhri Mohammed Ali, Former Prime Minister and Leader of the Tehrik-e-Istekam-e-Pakistan:

“We shall ….direct our armed forces to go to the rescue of the people of Kashmir in a peaceful manner to protect them from the indignities and tortures being inflicted upon them. We shall simultaneously offer to enter into a no war agreement with India in order to assure the people of India and the world of our peaceful intentions.”

(Pakistan Times, 7 April 1958)

“The open clash with Bharat may occur in one, two or at the most three years but occur it must.”

“If you avoid an open clash with Bharat on Kashmir issue, you will have to resort to this unhappy measure when Bharat stops the supply of canal water to you after 1961.”

Mr. Ali said that if war was inevitable after three years on the canal waters issue why not fight it out now on the Kashmir issue? It would do a lot of good to the people of Kashmir and Pakistan, he added.

(Dawn, Karachi, 3 May 1958)

(Mr. Mohd. Ali) “said it was his firm belief that war between Bharat and Pakistan was inevitable. There were two alternatives, either to fight out valiantly or die a coward’s death.”

“He said he was a serious minded person and would not indulge in an irresponsible talk or put forward an impracticable suggestion. He was sure that if the people of Pakistan waged jehad, Pakistan was bound to score a victory over her enemy, who would not otherwise agree to a fair and just solution of the disputes, between the two countries.

(Dawn, Karachi, 10 May 1958)

Mr. H.S. Suhrawardy, ex-Prime Minister and the Awami League Chief:

“We can no longer remain an idle spectator of the tragedy perpetrated on the helpless people of Kashmir.”

(Dawn, Karachi, 3 May 1958)

Mr. I I Choudhary, ex-Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly:

“We in Pakistan, cannot sit idle while the conspirators against basic human rights of our brethren in Kashmir are out to destroy all democratic ways of life”

(Dawn, Karachi, 3 May 1958)

Malik Firoz Khan Noon, Prime Minister of Pakistan:

“The freedom of Kashmir will come not from any outside help but through its own internal strength. Bharat is brown colonial country of the worst type. What she is doing in Kashmir today in the 20th century no white colonial Power ever did.”

(Dawn, Karachi, 10 March 1958)

The Prime Minister said that in their struggle the people of Kashmir would find the Government and the people of Pakistan whole-heartedly behind them.

(Dawn, Karachi, 27 April  1958)

Kahn Jalaluddin Khan, Minister of state for Interior Minister of state for Interior:

Khan Jalaluddin Khan warned the United Nations and Bharat here yesterday that unless a fair solution was found for the Kashmir dispute ‘we might be compelled to shed our blood for the liberation of Kashmir’.

(Dawn, Karachi, 26 April 1958)

Dr Jehangir Parvez, Organizer of the “Greater Pakistan Movement”

“We regard the existing frontiers of Pakistan as unnatural and arbitrary.

“We believe that grave injustice was done to Pakistan and Muslims of the Sub-Continent at the time of the partition of the old provinces of the Punjab and Bengal. Even the Quaid-i-Azam, may his soul rest in peace, had to describe the Radcliffe Award as perverse.

“This wrong must be undone. There lies the solution of all the ailments of Pakistan.”

“He will first of all concentrate on the liberation of Jammu and Kashmir. This done we shall consider what next steps should be taken.”

(Dawn, Karachi, 8 April 1958)

Khan Abdul Qayyum Khan, the Muslim League President

“War is the only solution of the Kashmir tangle.”

(Dawn, Karachi, 6 May 1958)

Rawalpindi, 26 May: The President of Pakistan Muslim League, Khan Abdul Qayyum Khan, said here last night that war with Bharat was the only solution of the Kashmir problem.

Khan Qayyum Khan said he would do injustice to the nation if he did not tell them in unequivocal words that there was no other means of solving the Kashmir problem other than waging war against Bharat.

“Our cause is just and our stand on Kashmir righteous. There is no reason why we should not win the war against India’, he declared.

(Dawn, Karachi, 27 May 1958).

  1. I request that this commtu1ication may be circulated as a Security Council document and brought to the notice of the members of the Security Council.

Accept, Excellency etc.

(Signed) Arthur S Lall

Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary

Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations

I agree to the Terms and Conditions of Kashmir Life


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