Sheikh’s UN Speech

Within four months after the tribal raids led to the bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir and eventually triggered the first war between India and Pakistan, Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, Kashmir’s most popular leader delivered a long speech to the United Nations Security Council (meeting 241) on February 5, 1948. Denying any rights to Islamabad over the decision-making by Kashmir, Sheikh’s speech remains a key document in understanding his Kashmir vision

Sheikh Abdullah, Head of the Interim Administration of Kashmir and Mr N.Gopalaswami Ayanagar, Leader of the Indian Delegation to the United Nations Security Council Photographed at the Palam aerodrome on their return from the Security Council on February 16, 1948. Photograph: Photo Division Government of India.

I have heard with patience, attention and respect the statements made by the representative of Pakistan and members of the Security Council, as well as the statements made on various occasions by the members of my own delegation. The Security Council will concede that I am probably the one man most concerned in this dispute because I happen to come from that land which has become the bone of contention between the two dominions of India and Pakistan.

I have been quoted profusely on either side, and rightly so, because I have had the fortune – or, should I say, misfortune- of leading my countrymen to freedom from 1931 onwards. In this task, I have suffered a great deal. I have been imprisoned not once or twice, but seven times, and the last imprisonment carried with it an aggregate sentence of nine years.

There are many troubles in Kashmir. I have heard patiently to the debate in the Security Council, but I feel that I am rather confused. After all, what is the point in dispute? The point in dispute is not that the sovereignty of the Prince is in question, as the representative of Pakistan staled yesterday. After all, I have suffered the punishment of being sentenced to nine years, imprisonment for saying what the representative of Pakistan said with regard to the Treaty of Kashmir of 1846. I am glad that he said it in the Security Council, where he is immune from any punishment. Therefore, I am not disputing that point, and that it is not the subject of the dispute before the Security Council.

Prior to the Security Council meeting at which consideration of India’s complaint against Pakistan concerning the situation in Jammu and Kashmir resumes, Fernand van Langenhove (Belgium), President of the Security Council, meets with representatives of both parties in the dispute. (L to R) Mr Van Langenhove; Faris el-Khouri, Syria’s representative on the Council; Sheikh Mohamed Abdullah, President of All-Jammu and Kashmir National Conference and head of the Kashmir State Administration; Ambassador M. A. H. Ispanhani, Pakistan; Sir Mohammed Zafrullah Khan, Pakistani Minister of Foreign Affairs, and N. Gopalaswami Ayyangar, India’s Minister without Portfolio. A UN photograph dated January 15, 1948 taken at Lake Success, UN.

The subject of the dispute before the Security Council is not the maladministration of the Princely State of Kashmir. In order to set right that maladministration, I think I have suffered the most, and today, when, for the first time, I heard the representative of Pakistan supporting my case, it gave me great pleasure.

After all, what is the dispute between India and Pakistan? From what I have learned from the complaint brought before the Security Council by my own delegation, the dispute revolves around the fact that Kashmir acceded legally and constitu­tionally to the dominion of India. There was some trouble about the democratization of the Kashmir administration within the State, and the tribesmen from across the border have poured into my country. They have been helped and are being helped by the Pakistan Government, with the result that there is the possibility of a greater conflagration between India and Pakistan. India sought the help of the Security Council so that Pakistan might be requested to desist from helping the tribesmen, and to desist from supporting the inside revolt, should I say, against the lawful authority.

I should have understood the position of the representative of Pakistan if he had come boldly before the Security Council and maintained: “Yes, we do support the tribesmen; we do support the rebels inside the State because we feel that Kashmir belongs to Pakistan and not to India, and because we feel that the accession of Kashmir to India was fraudulent.” Then we might have discussed the validity of the accession of the State of Kashmir to India. But that was not the position taken by the representative of Pakistan. He completely denied that any support was being given by the Government of Pakistan to either the tribesmen or those who arc in revolt within the State against the constituted authority.

How am I to convince the Security Council that the denial is absolutely untrue? I am sitting before the Security Council at a distance of thousands of miles from my country. I have fought many battles, along with my own men, on the borders of Jammu and Kashmir; I have seen with my own eyes the support given by the Pakistan Government, not only in supplying bases but in providing arms, ammunition, direction and control of the tribesmen and I have even seen the Pakistan-Army forces from across the border.

The denial has come so daily that it becomes very difficult for me to disprove it here before the Security Council, unless the Security Council accedes to our request to send a commis­sion to the spot and to find out first whether the allegations brought before the Security Council with regard to the aid given by the Government of Pakistan are correct or incorrect. If they are incorrect, the case falls; if they are correct, then the Security Council should take the necessary steps to advise the Government of Pakistan to desist from such support.

But then, this simple issue has been confused. On the one hand, the Pakistan Government says: “We are not a party to the trouble within the State. The trouble within the State exists because the people are fighting against the maladministration of the Jammu and Kashmir Government.” Yes, we are fighting. We have been fighting against the maladministration of that State since 1931; we have been demanding democratization of the Government there. But how is it that today Pakistan has become the champion of our liberty? I know very well that in 1946, when I raised the cry of Quit Kashmir, the leader of the Pakistan Government, who is the Governor-General now, Mr Mohammad Ali Jinnah, opposed my Government, declar­ing that this movement was a movement of a few renegades and  that Muslims as such had nothing to do with the movement.

The India-Pakistan situation spells suffering to both Muslims and Hindus. Shown here are the ruins of the town of Baramula in the pro-Indian part of Kashmir, which was raided by hostile mountain tribes in October 1947 and razed to the ground in a fierce three-day battle. The UN Commission’s task was to investigate the facts and complaints and through mediation to smooth away difficulties between the governments of India and Pakistan. A UN photograph of Baramulla dated January 1, 1948.

The Muslim Conference, which has been talked about so much, opposed my movement and declared its loyalty to the Prince. The representative of Pakistan now says that Sheikh Abdullah, once the supporter of Quit Kashmir, has joined hands with the Maharaja of Kashmir, and that in one of my public speeches I declared  that I wanted  the Maharaja to be; the Maharaja of Jammu and  Kashmir – not the Maharaja of Jammu only, but the Maharaja of the entire State.

I should like to correct the misreporting of my speech – I did deliver that speech in Jammu, which is the winter capital of our country, but it was in a different context. As the members of the Security Council have already heard from the head of my delegation, some massacres did occur in the Jammu Province. After the Kashmir Province was raided by the tribesmen, and after thousands of Hindus and Sikhs were uprooted from the villages and towns in the Kashmir Province and found their way into the Jammu Province, there was some very bad retalia­tion. I could not go to Jammu Province to control that situation, because I was busy with the raiders in Kashmir Province. However, as soon as I had some time, I flew down to Jammu Province, addressed a gathering of 60,000 Hindus and Sikhs in Jammu City, and gave them some plain advice.

I told them clearly that this policy of retaliation would bring no good to them as Hindus and Sikhs and would bring no good to their leader, because while they could retaliate in one or two districts where they formed the majority, and could even wipe out the Muslim population in these one or two districts, the State happens to have a population which is 80 per cent Muslim, and it would be impossible for them to wipe out the entire Muslim population. The result would be that the Prince, whom they wanted to support, would remain the Prince of only two districts, and not of the entire State of Jammu and Kashmir. I told them that, if they wanted him to be Prince of Jammu and Kashmir, they would have to change their behaviour. That was the speech I delivered, and that was the context in which it was made.

n- the-spot investigation on the ruins of a razed town is conducted by members of the United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan. Located in the pro-Indian part of Kashmir, Baramula was the scene of a fierce battle in October 1947, when it was raided by hostile mountain tribesmen. The Indian Government complained to the UN Security Council, which dispatched the five-nation Commission to the trouble area to investigate the facts. A UN photograph of Baramulla dated January 1, 1948.

However, I have already stated how this trouble started. It is probable that the representative of Pakistan would admit that, when India was divided into two parts, my colleagues and I were all behind prison bars. The result of this division of India was to start massacres on either side. Where Muslims in West Punjab formed the majority, the killing of Hindus and Sikhs started, and this was retaliated in East Punjab. All along our border, massacres of Hindus and Sikhs, on the one hand, and Muslims, on the other hand, were a daily occurrence. But the State of Jammu and Kashmir, and its people, kept calm. The result was that thousands of refugees, both Muslims and Hindus, sought refuge in our State and we rendered every possible help to all of them.

Why was that so? It was because I and my organization never believed in the formula that Muslims and Hindus form separate nations. We do not believe in the two-nation theory, nor in communal hatred or communalism itself. We believed that religion had no place in politics. Therefore, when we launched our movement of Quit Kashmir it was not only Muslims who suffered, but our Hindu and Sikh comrades as well. That created a strong bond of unity between all the communities, and the result was that while Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims were fighting each other all along the border, the people of Jammu and Kashmir State – Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs alike -remained calm.

The situation was worsening day by day and the minority in our State was feeling very nervous. As a result, tremendous pressure was brought to bear upon the State administration to release me and my colleagues. The situation outside demanded the release of workers of the National Conference, along with its leader, and we were accordingly set free.

Immediately we were liberated from prison we were faced with the important question of whether Kashmir should accede to Pakistan, accede to India, or remain independent, because under the partition scheme these three choices were open to us as, indeed, they were open to every Indian State. The problem was a very difficult one, but I advised the people of my country that although the question was very important to us, it was a secondary consideration. The all-important matter for us was our own liberation from the autocratic rule of the Prince, for which we were fighting and had been fighting for the past seventeen years. We had not achieved that goal, and therefore I told my people that we must do so first. Then, as free men we should have to decide where our interests lay. Being a frontier State, Kashmir has borders with both Pakistan and India, and there are advantages and disadvantages for the people of Kashmir attached to each of the three alternatives to which I have referred.

Deeply affected by the tragic news about the death of Mahatma Gandhi, leader of India, N. Gopalaswami Ayyangar, Minister of India without Portfolio, and Sheikh Mohamed Abdullah, President of All-Jammu and Kashmir National Conference and head of the Kashmir State Administration, await the opening of the 238 meeting of the United Nations Security Council. The Council interrupted its consideration of the situation in Jammu and Kashmir to pay homage to the Mahatma. A UN photograph dated January 30, 1948.

Naturally, as I have indicated, we could not decide this all-important issue before achieving our own liberation, and our slogan became freedom before accession. Some friends from Pakistan met me in Srinagar. I had a heart-to-heart discussion with them and explained my point of view, I told them in plain words that, whatever had been the attitude of Pakistan towards our freedom movement in the past, it would not influence us in our judgment. Neither the friendship of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and of Congress, nor their support of our freedom movement, would have any influence upon our decision if we felt that the interests of four million Kashmiris lay in our accession to Pakistan.

I requested them not to precipitate this decision upon us but to allow us time, supporting our freedom movement the while. I added that once we were free they should allow us an interval to consider this all-important issue. I pointed out that India had accepted this point of view and was not forcing us to decide. We had, in fact, entered into a standstill agreement with both Pakistan and India, but the leader of the Indian delegation has already explained to the Security Council what Pakistan did to us.

While I was engaged in these conversations and negotiations with friends from Pakistan, I sent one of my colleagues to Lahore, where he met the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Mr Liaquat Ali Khan, and other high dignitaries of the West Punjab Government. He placed the same point of view before them and requested that they should allow us time to consider this vital question, first helping us to achieve our liberation instead of forcing us to declare our decision one way or the other. Then, one fine morning while these negotiations were proceeding, I received news that a full-fledged attack had been carried out by the raiders on Muzaffarabad, frontier town in the Kashmir Province.

Sheikh Mohamed Abdullah, right, President of All-Jammu and Kashmir National Conference and head of the Kashmir State Administration, talks with Andrei A. Gromyko, Ambassador of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics to the United States, before the 243rd meeting of the Security Council. A UN photograph dated February 10, 1948.

The representative of Pakistan has stated that immediately upon my release I went down to Delhi to negotiate the accession of Kashmir to India. That is not a fact. He probably does not know that while in jail I was elected President of the All India States People’s Conference, and that immediately upon my release I had to take up my duties. Accordingly, I had called a meeting of the executive of that Conference in Delhi, a fact which I had conveyed to the Prime Minister of Pakistan. Indeed, I had told the Prime Minister of Pakistan that imme­diately upon my return from Delhi I should take the opportu­nity of meeting him personally to discuss my point of view with him. I did not go to Delhi to conclude any agreement on behalf of Kashmir because, although released, I was still considered a rebel.

I might inform the representative of Pakistan that although I am beyond doubt the head of the Administration of Kashmir State, I am not the Prime Minister. I am head of the Emergency Administration, and that not because the Maharaja of Kashmir wished it. In fact, I do not know whether the Maharaja wishes it even now. I hold the position because the people of my country wish me to be at the helm of affairs in Jammu and Kashmir State.

When the raiders came to our land, massacred thousands of people – mostly Hindus and Sikhs, but Muslims, too – abducted thousands of girls – Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims alike, looted our property and almost reached the gates of our summer capital, Srinagar, the result was that the civil, military and police administrations failed. The Maharaja, in the dead of night, left the capital along with his courtiers, and the result was absolute panic. There was no one to take over control. In that hour of crisis, the National Conference came forward with its 10,000 volunteers and took over the administration of the country. They started guarding the banks, the offices and houses of every person in the capital. This is the manner in which the administration changed hands. We were de facto in charge of the administration. The Maharaja, later on, gave it a legal form.

N. Gopalaswami Ayyangar, Minister of India without Portfolio, and Sir Mohamed Zafrullah Khan, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Pakistan, read the news of the tragic death of Mahatma Gandhi, leader of India. The Security Council interrupted its consideration of the situation in Jammu and Kashmir to devote its meeting today to the memory of the assassinated Indian leader. A Un photograph dated January 30, 1947.

It is said that Sheikh Abdullah is a friend of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. Yes, I admit that. I feel honoured that such a great man claims me as his friend. And he happens to belong to my own country; he is also a Kashmiri, and blood is thicker than water. If Jawaharlal gives me that honour, I cannot help it. He is my friend. But that does not mean that, because of his friendship, I am going to betray the millions of my people who have suffered along with me for the last seventeen years and sacrifice the interests of my country. I am not a man of that calibre.

I was explaining how the dispute arose – how Pakistan wanted to force this position of slavery upon us. Pakistan had no interest in our liberation or it would not also have opposed our freedom movement. Pakistan would have supported us when thousands of my countrymen were behind bars and hundreds were shot to death. The Pakistani leaders and Pakistani papers were heaping abuse upon the people of Kashmir who were suffering these tortures.

Then, suddenly, Pakistan comes before the bar of the world as the champion of the liberty of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. The world may believe this, but it is very difficult for me to believe.

When we refused the coercive tactics of Pakistan, it started full-fledged aggression and encouraged the tribesmen in this activity. It is absolutely impossible for the tribesmen to enter our territory without encouragement from Pakistan, because it is necessary for them to pass through Pakistan territory to reach Jammu and Kashmir. Hundreds of trucks, thousands of gallons of petrol, thousands of rifles, ammunition, and all forms of help that an army requires, were supplied to them. We know this. After all, we belong to that country. What Pakistan could not achieve by the use of the economic blockade it wanted to achieve by full-fledged aggression.

I had thought all along that the world had got rid of the Hitler’s and Goebbels, but, from what has happened and what is happening in my poor country. I am convinced they have only trans-migrated their souls into Pakistan.

We are being attacked daily. Thousands of armed men come across the Pakistan border and raze each and every village of our country to the ground. That is what is actually happening. We see it daily with our own eyes, and yet we are being told that Pakistan has nothing to do with this – that it is not at all interested.

What do we request? We request nothing more than that the Security Council should send some members to this area to see for themselves what is happening there.

If Pakistan comes forward and says, “We question the legality of the accession,” I am prepared to discuss whether or not the accession of Jammu and Kashmir to India was legal. However, now they say, “We want a plebiscite; we want to obtain the free and unfettered opinion of the people of Kashmir. There should be no pressure exerted on the people and they should make the free choice as to the State to which they wish to accede.”

Not only is this the offer that was made by the people of Kashmir to Pakistan long, long ago, but it is the offer made by the Prime Minister of India at a time when, I think, he had not the slightest need for making it, as Kashmir was in distress.

We realized that Pakistan would not allow us any time, that we had either to suffer the fate of our kith and kin of Muzaffarabad, Baramulla, Srinagar and other towns and villages, or to seek help from some outside authority.

Under those circumstances, both the Maharaja and the people of Kashmir requested the Government of India to accept our accession. The Government of India could easily have accepted the accession and could have said, “All right, we accept your accession and we shall render this help.” There was no necessity for the Prime Minister of India to add the proviso, when accepting the accession, that “India does not want to take advantage of the difficult situation in Kashmir. We will accept this accession because, without Kashmir’s acceding to the Indian Dominion, we are not in a position to render any military help. But once the country is free from the raiders, marauders and looters, this accession will be subject to ratification by the people.” That was the offer made by the Prime Minister of India.

That was the same offer which was made by the people of Kashmir to the Government of Pakistan, but it was refused because at that time Pakistan felt that it could, within a week, conquer the entire Jammu and Kashmir State and then place the fait accompli before the world, just as happened sometime ago in Europe. The same tactics were used.

But, having failed in those tactics, Pakistan now comes before the bar of the world, pleading: “We want nothing; we only want our people to be given a free hand in deciding their own fate. And in deciding their own fate, they must have a plebiscite.” There is no dispute as to that. After all, this is the offer that was made by the Prime Minister of India and by the people of Kashmir.

They then continue and say: “No, a plebiscite cannot be fair and impartial unless and until there is a neutral adminis­tration in the State of Jammu and Kashmir.” I have failed to understand this terminology with reference to a “neutral administration”. After all, what does “neutral administration” mean?

The representative of Pakistan has stated that Sheikh Abdullah, because he is a Friend of Jawaharlal Nehru, because he has had sympathy for the Indian National Congress, because he has declared his point of view in favour of accession to India, and because he is head of the Emergency Administration, cannot remain impartial. Therefore, Sheikh Abdullah must depart.

Let us suppose that Sheikh Abdullah goes. Who is to replace Sheikh Abdullah? It will be someone from amongst the four million people of the State of Jammu and Kashmir. But can we find anyone among these four million people whom we can call impartial? After all, we are not logs of wood; we are not dolls. We must have an opinion one way or the other. The people of Kashmir are either in favour of Pakistan or in favour of India.

Therefore, Pakistan’s position comes down to this: that the four million people of that State should have no hand in running the administration of their own country. Someone else must come in for that purpose. Is that fair? Is that just? Do the members of the Security Council wish to oust the people of Kashmir from running their own administration and their own country?

Then, for argument’s sake, let us suppose that the four million people of the State of Jammu and Kashmir agree to have nothing to do with the administration of their country; some­one else must be brought into the country for this purpose. From where do the members of the Security Council propose that such a neutral individual may be secured? From India? No. From Pakistan? No. From anywhere in the world. No. Frankly speaking, even if the Security Council were to request Almighty God to administer the State of Jammu and Kashmir during this interim period, I do not feel that He could act impartially. After all, one must have sympathy either for this side or that side.

If elections were to be held in the United Kingdom sometime after tomorrow, with the Labour Government in power, would anyone say to Mr Attlee: “The elections are now going on. Because you happen to belong to the Labour Party, your sym­pathies will be in favour of the Labour vote. Therefore, you had better clear out. We must have a neutral man as Prime Minister until our elections are finished?”

However, we have been told that Sheikh Abdullah must walk out because he has declared his point of view in favour of India. Therefore, he cannot be impartial. We must have some impartial man; we must have some neutral man.

As I have submitted to the members of the Security Council, Sheikh Abdullah happens to be there because the people wish it. As long as the people wish it, I shall be there. There is no power on earth which can displace me from the position which I have there. As long as the people are behind me, I will remain there. Once the people cease to have any faith in me, I will not be there.

We have declared, once and for all, that there shall be freedom of voting, and for that purpose we have said: “Let anyone come in; we have no objection. Let the Commission of the Security Council on India come into our State and advise us how we should take a vote, how we should organize it, and how it can be completely impartial. We have no objection.” My Government is ready to satisfy, to the last comma, the impartiality of the vote.

But to have an impartial vote is one thing; to have a say in the administration of the State is a different thing entirely. After all, with what are we concerned? We are concerned only with the fact that no influence shall be exercised over the voters, either in one way or in another. The people shall be free to vote according to their own interests. We are ready to accede to that.

It is then said: “You cannot have freedom of voting as long as the Indian Army remains in the State of Jammu and Kashmir.” It is probably very difficult for me to draw a full picture of what is going on in that country. There is absolute chaos in certain parts of the country; fighting is going on, and thousands of tribesmen are there, ready to take advantage of any weakness on the part of the State of Jammu and Kashmir.

Once we ask the Indian Army, which is the only protective force in Kashmir against these marauders, to clear out. We leave the country open to chaos. After all, one who has suffered for the last seventeen years, in attempting to secure the freedom and liberation of his own country, would not like an outside army to come in and to remain in the country.

However, what is the present situation? If I ask the Indian Army to clear out, how am I going to protect the people from the looting, arson, murder, and abduction with which they have been faced all these long months? What is the alternative? The Prime Minister of India long ago declared that the Government of India has no intention of keeping its army permanently stationed in Kashmir. He stated: “We are there only as long as the country is in turmoil. Once law and order arc established, once the marauders and the tribesmen leave the country, we will withdraw our army.” That pledge is already there.

There need be no fear, since the Indian Army is there, that this army will interfere in the exercise of a free vote. After all, a commission of the Security Council will be there in order to watch. The Indian Army does not have to go into every village. It will be stationed at certain strategic points, so that in the event of danger from any border, the army will be there to protect that border. The army is there to curb disorders any­where in the State; that is all. The army will not be in each and every village in order to watch each and every vote.

It is then said: “Can we not have a joint control? Can we not have the armies of Pakistan and India inside the State in order to control the situation?” This is an unusual idea. What Pakistan could not achieve through ordinary means, Pakistan wishes to achieve by entering through the back door, so that it may have its armies inside the State and then start the fight. That is not possible.

After all, we have been discussing the situation in Kashmir. I should say that we have been playing the drama of Hamlet without the Prince of Denmark. The people of Kashmir are vitally interested in this question. Four million people in Kashmir are keenly interested in this entire affair. I have sympathies with the peoples of Poonch and Mirpur. The representative of Pakistan will probably concede that I have suffered greatly for the people of Poonch as well as for the people of Mirpur. There is no difference on this part of internal democratization of the administration between me, my party and the people of Poonch. We are one, we want our own liberty, we want our own free­dom, we do not want autocratic rule. We desire that the four million people in Jammu and Kashmir – Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims shall have the right to change their destiny, to control their country, and to administer it as best they can. On that point there is absolutely no difference.

However, it is not a question of internal liberation. The Security Council should not confuse the issue. The question is not that we want internal freedom; the question is not how the Maharaja got his State, or whether or not he is sovereign. These points are not before the Security Council. Whether Kashmir has lawfully acceded to India -complaints on that score have been brought before the Security Council on behalf of Pakistan – is not the point at issue. If that were the point at issue, then we should discuss that subject. We should prove before the Security Council that Kashmir and the people of Kashmir have lawfully and constitutionally acceded to the dominion of India, and Pakistan has no right to question that accession. However, that is not the discussion before the Security Council.

Jammu and Kashmir Prime minister Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah with Dr Frank P Graham, UN Representative for India and Pakistan at the Shalimar Gardens during the latter’s visit to Srinagar in July 1951. (Photo: Photo Division)

Indian and Kashmiri forces are ready to deal with the tribes­men, to come to an understanding with the people of Kashmir, and to establish a democratic form of government inside the State. We shall do all that. We do not want Pakistan to lend us support to suppress an internal revolt or to drive out the tribesmen. We do not seek any support from Pakistan in that connection. Since Pakistan is a neighbouring country, we desire to remain on the friendliest possible terms with this sister dominion. But we do ask that Pakistan shall have no hand, directly or indirectly, in this turmoil in Kashmir. The Govern­ment of Pakistan has said, “We have had no hand in this turmoil.” The only course left to the Security Council is to send out the commission and to see whether or not Pakistan has had any hand in this turmoil. If Pakistan has had any hand in this turmoil, then the Government of Pakistan should be asked to desist from such activity. If Pakistan has had no hand in this turmoil, then that can be proved.

This issue has been clouded by very many other issues and interests. I suggested at informal talks that, according to my understanding, there are two points at issue: first, how to have this neutral, impartial administration; second, whether or not the Indian Army shall remain.

It is not at all disputed that we must have a plebiscite and that the accession must be ratified by the people of Kashmir, freely and without any pressure on this or that side. That much is conceded, there is no dispute about that. The dispute arises when it is suggested that, in order to have the free vote, the administration must be changed. To that suggestion we say, “No.”

I do not know what course future events will take. How­ever, I may assure the Security Council that, if I am asked to conduct the administration of this State, it will be my duty to make the administration absolutely impartial. It will be my duty to request my brothers, who are in a different camp at this time, to come to lend me support. After all, they are my own kith and kin. We have suffered together; we have no quarrel with them. I shall tell them: “Come on; it is my country; it is your country. I have been asked to administer the State. Are you prepared to lend me support? It is for me to make the administration successful; it is for me to make the administration look impartial.” It is not for Pakistan to say: “No, we must have an impartial administration.” I refuse to accept Pakistan as a party in the affairs of the Jammu and Kashmir State; I refuse this point blank. Pakistan has no right to say that we must do this and we must do that. We have seen enough of Pakistan. The people of Kashmir have seen enough. Muzaffarabad and Baramulla and hundreds of villages in Jammu and Kashmir depict the story of Pakistan to the people of Jammu and Kashmir. We want to have no more of this.

Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah Prime Minister of Jammu & Kashmir and member of the Indian Delegation (centre), accompanied by J.N. Zutshi of Information & Broadcastign Department , Jammu & Kashmir (left) photographed in Delhi at the Palam Airport with Vishnu Saham, Secretary, Kashmir Affairs (right) on December 13, 1949. They left Delhi for New York on December 13, 1949, to assist N.N. Rau, India’s Permanent representative with the U.N. in New York, in presenting India’s case before the Security Council when it takes up for consideration the UNCIP Report.

In concluding, I again request that, in order to settle this issue of Kashmir, the Security Council should not confuse the point in dispute. The Security Council should not allow various other extraneous matters to be introduced. Very many extrane­ous matters have been introduced. The representative of Pakistan gave us the history of the Jammu and Kashmir State. He read to us some letters from viceroys of India, asking the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir to behave, giving the Maharaja good advice, et cetera. However, we cannot forget that these States are the creation of British imperialism in India. Who has supported these States and this misrule for these 150 years? It is not going to convince me or the world for the representative of Pakistan to say: “These events have happened and these letters were written.” We know how the Princes have acted, how the States were brought into existence, and how the Princes were supported. This was all a game in the British imperialist policy. But this legacy has now fallen upon us. We are not here to discuss whether or not the Maharaja lawfully became the ruler of the State, whether or not there is moral administration in this State, whether or not the Maharaja is sovereign and whether or not Kashmir has legally acceded to India. Those issues are not before the Security Council. The only issue before the Security Council is that Pakistan must observe its international obligations and must not support any outside raiders.

Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah speaking to people in Srinagar’s Lal Chowk. He was the most popular leader of Kashmir ever.

Pakistan should not encourage inside revolt. Pakistan has denied that it has. In order to verify the statements made by the representatives of India and Pakistan, the Security Council must send a commission to the spot to see whether the complaint brought before the Security Council is valid or invalid. If the Security Council finds that the complaint brought before it by India is valid, then, Pakistan should be asked to desist, or India should be permitted to use its means to carry out the decision of the Security Council.

As far as I can speak on behalf of India, India does not want the help of the armies of Pakistan. What it wants from Pakistan is that Pakistan should not supply bases to the raiders on Pakistan territory across the border from Jammu and Kashmir State. All along the border on Pakistan territory, there are huge concentrations of these tribesmen who are Pakistani nationals. We request Pakistan not to allow in territory to be used by these raiders.

Pakistan should not provide ammunition, arms, direction and control to these tribesmen. It should stop the passage of these tribesmen through its territory. Pakistan should not supply arms and ammunition to the people who are fighting within the State because all these matters fall under an international obligation. Therefore, Pakistan should desist from that practice. That is all.

We do not want any armed help from Pakistan. If Pakistan does what we have requested, the Indian Army, I am quite sure, will be capable of driving out the raiders and tribesmen. If Pakistan does not meddle in our affairs, we will be capable of solving all our own internal disputes with the Maharaja of Kashmir. However, as long as this unofficial war continues, it is very difficult for us to do anything. Our hands are tied.

Photographs taken by legendary French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson (1908-2004) in 1948 shows Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, who headed the emergency administration in J&K after 1947, discussing issue regarding the ceasefire line with the members of United National Commission for India and Pakistan (UNCIP).

What is happening? The raiders are concentrated just across the border. They enter our State in large number – four or five thousand strong. They raid four or five villages, burn them, abduct women and loot property. When our army tries to capture them, they go back across the border. Our army cannot go across the border, and cannot fire a single shot across the border, because if it does, there is the immediate danger of a greater conflagration. So our hands are tied.

We did not want to create this difficult situation without informing the Security Council, and we felt honour-bound to inform it of the actual position. The Indian Army could easily have followed the raiders across the border and could have attacked the bases, which were all in Pakistan territory, but it desisted. We thought it would be better to inform the Security Council of the situation.

However, I did not have the slightest idea that, when the case came before the Security Council, the representative of Pakistan would so boldly deny that Pakistan supplied all this help. Everyday knows that Pakistan is aiding these raiders and tribesmen and the people who are fighting within the state.

However, Pakistan chose boldly to deny all these charges.

What is left for me to do? After all, I do not have any magic lamp so that I might bring the entire picture of Jammu and Kashmir state, along with the borders of Pakistan, before the eyes of the members of the Security Council so that they might see who is fighting and who is not fighting. Therefore, somebody must go to the spot. Then at that time, it would be for us to prove that the charges we have brought before the Security Council are correct to the last word. That is the only help, we want and no other help.

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