6th Feb, 54: Every Indian should know when elected representatives of J&K ratified the accession to India
Members of Constituent Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir
India got independence from the shackles of British on August 15, 1947. Britishers had two types of administrative arrangements, i.e. British India and Princely States, to govern the country. Around 60% of the country was ruled by Britishers directly and it was called British India and 40% was ruled by rulers under British suzerainty and they were called Princely States. British India was divided on communal basis whereas the rulers of Princely States were given the freedom to make a choice about which of the dominion, i.e. India and Pakistan, they wanted to accede. It was to be decided on the basis of sole discretion of the ruler whether he wants to go with India or Pakistan and the Instrument of Accession (IoA) was the common instrument that was used by the rulers of more than 550 princely states for this purpose. The same IoA was signed by Maharaja Hari Singh of Jammu and Kashmir in favour of India.
Accession of Jammu and Kashmir and UN failure to clear J&K of invaders
It is an undeniable fact that Maharaja Hari Singh was in favour of accession of Jammu and Kashmir to India but Pandit Nehru insistence to install Sheikh Abdullah as Prime Minister of Jammu and Kashmir created unnecessary delay in accession of the state to India. Maharaja Hari Singh conveyed his intention to accede Jammu and Kashmir to India several times, through his representatives, but Pandit Nehru remained adamant on Sheikh’s coronation. In October 1947, Pakistan broke standstill agreement and its Army and tribals invaded the state and started killing the innocent civilians of Jammu and Kashmir. The continuous appeal of Maharaja Hari Singh to Pakistan and Britain was going in vain, as the state was not getting respite from the invasion. Hence, Maharaja Hari Singh was left with no other option but to accept the condition put forth by Pandit Nehru. Maharaja Hari Singh released Sheikh from Jail and made him the emergency administrator. Thereafter, Maharaja Hari Singh signed the Instrument of Accession in favour of India on October 26, 1947 and the same was signified by Lord Mountbatten, the then Governor General of India on October 27, 1947. Subsequently, India went to the United Nation, on 01.01.1948, with the complaint against Pakistan aggression on the soil of India and clearing it of Pakistani invaders. Though Pakistan denied its hand in invasion but the United Nation Commission for India and Pakistan (UNCIP) found, on July 7, 1948, that Pakistan invaded Jammu and Kashmir and changed it materially and the Commission declared Pakistan an ‘aggressor’. Later, United Nation instructed Pakistan to stop fighting in Jammu and Kashmir and clear off the area of its nationals and it asked India to keep minimum force in Jammu and Kashmir for the maintenance of law and order in the state. It even asked India to hold plebiscite after the first two requirements, mentioned above, are fulfilled. But UN never ensured implementation of its resolutions on Jammu and Kashmir; hence Pakistan had possessed the large area of Jammu and Kashmir in its illegal occupation even today.
Ratification of accession by Constituent Assembly of J&K on 6th February, 1954
6th February, 1954 is an important date in the history because the Constituent Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir ratified the accession of Jammu and Kashmir on this date in favour of India. Though Jammu and Kashmir became an integral part of India, when the Instrument of Accession was signed by Maharaja Hari Singh on October 26, 1947 yet congress adopted the policy of ascertaining the wishes of the people in case of Jammu and Kashmir. Also, Pakistan invaded Jammu and Kashmir before the instrument of accession would have been signed and started killing the innocent people. The affected areas of J&K during this bloodbath were Bhimbar, Kotli, Mirpur, Muzzafarabad, Gilgit-Baltistan and Rajouri, where thousands of men, women and children were murdered in a day and lakhs of people got displaced. Presently, these people cannot think of going back home because Pakistan has not vacated their land in J&K that it has occupied illegally in 1947. Though United Nation Commission for India and Pakistan (UNCIP) found Pakistan as an aggressor on Jammu and Kashmir yet it did not do anything to resettle these displaced people back on their own soil and homes. Accession of J&K to India was fully supported by J&K and the Indian leaderships. Sheikh Abdullah, himself endorsed the accession of J&K to India, when he spoke at the United Nation Security Council (UNSC) on 5th February, 1948 and in the constituent assembly on 5th November, 1951. On 6th February 1954, Jammu & Kashmir Constituent Assembly ratified the IoA in the favour of India. The Constituent Assembly, which ratified the IoA has the representation of individuals chosen by the people of Jammu and Kashmir by using their vote. Hence, the people’s wishes were ascertained though it was not legally required. Lord Mountbatten has mentioned four ways to ascertain the people’s wish and these are referendum, plebiscite, election or even, if these methods are impracticable, by representative public meetings. India has already exercised the last two options for this purpose. Therefore, the accession of Jammu and Kashmir was legally correct as Maharaja was solely capable for it and the people’s wishes were also ascertained by India.