Mirpur massacre of 1947
By Dr. Ram Chander Sharma
After the Timur massacre of Delhi in 1358, the massacre of Mirpur a bustling trade centre and historic walled city of Jammu and Kashmir now in Pak Occupied Kashmir on 25th of Nov. 1947 was the worst massacre of Indian history. As the offer of accession by Maharaja was accepted by Govt of India on 26th of Oct. 1947 after India and Pakistan gained independence, the ill fated Hindu and Sikh minorities living Muslim majority western areas of Jammu region and in Kashmir valley were waiting their Dooms day. The decision of accession of J&K with India and its completed merger with India as its integral part was celebrated like “Diwali” in Mirpur with lighting of candles and bursting of crackers. But, the recently declassified British Government documents reveal that the United Kingdom had decided that the Princely State of Jammu and Kashmir or part of it must go to Pakistan for strategic reasons of importance, of Jhelum bridge, irrigation/hydroelectric potentials of Mangla dam in Mirpur for the economic needs of Pakistan and the need of an air base in western J&K close to Russia and China. The creation of Pakistan was itself for the strategic reasons to counter the growing military influence of Soviet Union after World War II. Due to its proximity with China and Russia, presence of warm water sea port of Karachi and the interests of western oil companies in central Asia made Pakistan important.
Soon after the independence, Pakistan conceived a military plan to attack Jammu and Kashmir. Code named “Gulmarg” it was placed under the close guidance of British military officers. Pashtun tribes Lashkers from Dir and Waziristan areas were roped in under the direct command of Col. Akbar Lone of Pak army code named Gen. Tariq and soon armed attacks and looting started in early Sept. in Poonch and Kotli area, about 400 looters entered Owen on 2nd and 3rd Sept, followed by Pak regular army and ex army men. The town of Bhimber fell at the same time when Indian troops were air lifted of Srinagar on 27th of Oct. 1947. The population of the town swelled from 3000 to 5000 with Hindu migrants from the adjoining areas. All assembled in a small tehsil building – women and children were taken hostage while the males were put to sword. Soon, other areas fell one after another and the focus of attention and sending the Indian reinforcement was valley centric as Pt. Nehru completely gave the command of troops movement to Sheikh Mohd Abdulla side lining Sardar Patel.
The population of Mirpur swelled from 10000 to 25000 with Hindus and Sikhs migrating form nearby areas and Jhelum. A garrison of Maharaja Forces were stationed in the town. People made the fortified defences on the roof tops and on the ground by digging trenches and groups of youths were assigned the job of vigilance round the clock with primitive weapons. Many advances of the enemy were repulsed till the town fell on 25th Nov 1947. Pakistan army started using modern weapons and artillery to break the walls of town. There were no supply as the town was already cut off by the fall of Bhimber in October itself; the only hope was the air dropping of supplies of food and ammunition by air till the reinforcements of Indian army reach to push away the enemy. Frantic massages were sent to Jammu over the wireless by Maharaja Forces to Jammu but in vain. Many of the forceful attacks of the enemy were repulsed. A major attack was carried out by the enemy on 23rd of Nov 1947 from the main eastern gate and was repulsed by the death squads of Mirpuri youths in hand to hand fight. In a bad luck the only wireless equipment with the state forces broke down and the fresh stronger attack by the enemy forces on 24th morning frightened the state forces who left the battle scene with the information to the civil population to move to safer places. The ensuing fierce fighting through out the next night put the enemy at bay till morning when they broke the western gate of the city next morning by using heavy artillery. The blood thirsty Pak army and tribal marauder entered the city around 8 a.m. in the morning. Under chaos and confusion people ran around terrified and the city was set on fire by the invaders. Soon poison was distributed to the women to end their lives and not to fall into the hands of enemy. Many who didn’t get the poison were done to deaths with swords by their fathers and bothers. The dance of death continued till afternoon and at the end of day 18000 people were slaughtered in most barbaric way of the human history by Pak army and tribls. Five thousand people most of them women and children were taken hostages and taken to Alibeg Gurudawara Sahib which was converted to a concentration camp. Only 2000 people could reach Janger on foot and then escorted by Indian army to Jammu refugee camp. The hapless women and young girls abducted went thorough worst sex orgies of rape and violence. The whole of Mirpur was latter dugout to loot the wealth worth billions of Rupees beside gold and silver.
The other towns of Jammu province as Rajouri fell on 10th of Nov. where the population swell from 6000 to 11000 with the influx of refugees from the adjoining villages. Most of population was done to death and less than 100 could escape the jaw of death.
PoK Refugees the heroic Pohwari tribe who fought the foreign invaders from the ancient times are now living in abject poverty in camps and are told to be repatriated as soon as India takes back PoK areas which are the integral part of India through a resolution of Indian Parliament of 1994. Unlike the refuges of Indian Punjab and Bengal whose cases of compensation and land allotment were settled amicably by India and Pakistan, the PoK Refugees still are labelled as DPs of J&K and are not given the benefits of UN Refugee Status of 1951 or other benefits extended to Tibetan Refugees or migrants form Kashmir valley after 1989. The sacrifices of PoK Refugees of Muzaffarabad kept the enemy engaged for four days till the Indian army was air dropped in Srinagar e sacrifices of people of Mirpur delayed the enemy for a month till the besieged Poonch was freed and a vital link of Poonch to Jammu and western Punjab was saved from falling into the hands of Pakistan.
On this day Mirpur Balidan Divas is observed by the PoK Refugees in Delhi Jammu, Sunderbani, Poonch, Udhampur and other parts of India where the community is settled. It is still not too late for India to tell the world the other side story of Accession of Jammu and Kashmir with India and forward the case of genocide to UN to punish the perpetrators, settle all the demands and build a war memorial for the Martyrs of Mirpur.