Today, June 23, I woke up with the Horrible News of a J & K Police SP being lynched to Death inside a Mosque in Kashmir Valley. On 23 June 1953 – SP Mukherjee, MP, Founder of Jan Sangh , Died in Srinagar under Mysterious Circumstances. He was 52 years old
Back ground of SP Mukherjee’s March to Sri Nagar and the forgotten agitation against permit system.
Sheikh Abdullah came to power in Jammu & Kashmir and started the covert process of making Kashmir a separate state. He proposed a separate flag, separate constitution, a permit for non Kashmiri Indians to visit Kashmir. Large scale protests broke out all over North India, Jammu and Delhi.
The political party leaders and workers of Jammu Praja Parishad were being harassed and tortured. Pt Prem Nath Dogra, former Deputy Commissioner led the protests. He was jailed twice but was supported by Balraj Madhok, Hari Vajeer, Hansraj Sharma. Their demands were:
- Constitution of India should be implemented
- Indian Tri Colour National Flag should be accepted
- Complete Integration and no permit system
Satyagraha was announced in Jammu, New Delhi, Pathankot. On 5th March addressing a large crowd of protesters SP Mukherjee declared that he would create a strong public opinion for Unity of the Nation. During March and April Thousands of Satyagrahis came to Delhi and courted Arrest.
On 7th May SP Mukherjee announced that he would go to Jammu the next Day. He also sent a telegram to JL Nehru informing him that he would be visiting Kashmir without a permit. Mukherjee informed Sheikh Abdullah too that he would be visiting Jammu, Kashmir and would like a meeting with him. Abdullah replied and advised him not to visit.
By now the agitation was at its peak. It’s a different matter no school teaches about this agitation and the slogan – EK Vidhan, Ek Nishan, EK Pradhan was accepted by Jan Sangh and was echoing all over India. Prior to this on Dec 14th ,1952 Praja Parishad activist Mela Ram was killed in Jammu while trying to Unfurl the National Flag. Daily firing on protesters and subsequent deaths infuriated the people of Jammu, Punjab, Delhi, UP. Large Scale protests were erupting in Delhi. In the backdrop of these events 5th March 1953 was declared as Jammu Diwas leading to SP Mukherjee’s resolve to reach Kashmir without permit and unfurl the National Flag.
The Final days and the Martyrdom of SP Mukherjee
Nehru decided to allow SP Mukherjee to reach Kashmir and arrest him there as the Laws of India did not apply there and Supreme Court could not intefere there. This is why SP Mukherjee was not arrested in Jammu but on the Madho singh Bridge of Srinagar. Atal Bihari Vajpayee had followed SP Mukherjee as a journalist. The news of his arrest spread like wildfire. Agitators gathered near Delhi Railway station and till late night anti government protests were heard.
Barrister Umashankar Tiwari met SP Mukherjee in Srinagar after J & K High court permission and moved a petition in High Court. The High Court had Fixed June23 June for hearing-but alas, the morning of June 23 bought the news of SP mukherjee’s sudden demise.
The Aftermath and nation’s debt to SP Mukherjee
The Nation was shocked, the agitation was suspended for 13 days to mourn for SP Mukherjee. Nehru realised that the Agitation had gripped the nation and promised the Prajya Parishad that their demands would be looked into. Subsequently Nehru realised the designs of sheikh Abdullah about trying to make Kashmir Independent and arrested him. The nation owes it to SP Mukherjee that there is no permit required to visit Kashmir for Indian Citizens, The National Flag is above that of J & K flag and is unfurled, the J & K state’s constitution in it’s preamble states that Jammu Kashmir Ladakh is an integral part of Indian Union and the Writ of Hon. Supreme Court of India runs in J & K
As in keeping with Nehruvian concept of History, SP Mukherjee never got his due mention, neither did the agitation of Prajya Sabha and the martyrdom of Jammu youths while unfurling the National Flag in Independent India.
Picture Credit Narendra Modi