September 19, 2017

Historical perspective of stone pelters, protesting mobs in Kashmir

Mob protests, slogans from mosques and stone pelters have been in news for quite a while in the Kashmir valley. Majority of Indians are led to believe this is a new phenomenon mirroring the angst of the Kashmiri Muslims but a little search into history of Kashmir before partition will expose the reality of stone pelters and mobs.
Year was 1930, Maharaja Hari Singh was in London to attend the first round table conference, where, to the chargin of Britishers he supported Independence of Indian states. The Britishers wanted to have control in Kashmir because to counter soviet forces Gilgit was very important,and they were pressurising Hari Singh to lease out Gilgit agency to British which he was resisting.

The Britishers were pressurising the Maharaja through the Resident officer stationed in Srinagar.
Suddenly agitations and protests erupted in Kashmir . Sheikh Abdullah along with Chaudhary Ghulam Abbas and Maulavi Abdul Rahim had returned from Aligarh Muslim University after graduating and spearheaded the protests. Sheikh Abdullah addressed Muslims in Mosques, manufacturing a narrative of Muslim Victimhood.Suddenly ,Strangers appeared in streets of Srinagar,Majority from British Ruled Punjab  and started Stone pelting and protesting. To control the situation,Maharaja Hari Singh arrested Sheikh Abdullah.
On June 21,1931, a muslim youth Abdul Kadir(no one knew from where he had come or who he was) delivered a very provocative speech from a Mosque in Srinagar and Ignited a very violent situation .He was arrested and jailed in Srinagar central jail. On July 13,1931, a large crowd gathered outside the jail demanding his release and turned violent .To control the crowd, police resorted to firing in which 21 protestors were killed.
Protests continued unabated , with several groups coming in from British Punjab and indulging in Stone pelting and Protests etc. The resident officer invoked the ‘Amritsar Accord’ of 1846 which gave right for British gov to Intervene.The Maharaja was forced to set up a commission to study the demands of Muslims and in April 1932 accepted all the Demands which later were inserted in the constitution of JK .The turmoil did not stop there .The Britishers forced the Maharaja to sign off a part of Gilgit beyond the Sindhu river on a 60 years lease on march 26 1935
Miraculously, the agitations and stone pelting stopped after the British government got the lease of Gilgit and the outsiders too melted away
So with this we can see that the present Protests, Calls from Mosques, Mob violence,stone pelting are not spontaneous outbursts of a repressed population but a carefully planned and synchronised stratergy which was tested by the British with support of Sheikh Abdullah to armtwist the King of Kashmir and get their demands accepted
So to conclude-Army should be given a free Hand and the center should not buckle under pressure.
( source—Jammu Kashmir by Ashutosh ( Jammu Kashmir study center publication, Gilgit Baltistan by Alok Bansal)

Picture Credit: screen shot from Twitter

Author: Nidhi Bahugunaa

Twitter: @vinirish


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