NEW DELHI, Oct 25 : Reiterating that the accession of Jammu & Kashmir with India is final and complete, Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh said today that it was the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, and not Maharaja Hari Singh, who was responsible for the delayed accession of Jammu & Kashmir.
In an interview to a national TV channel on the eve of the Accession Day of Jammu & Kashmir, Dr Jitendra Singh was responding to queries raised from time to time, as to why the accession of Jammu & Kashmir with independent India did not take place on or before 15 August 1947. He said, if there was a delay of over two months, it was not on account of Maharaja Hari Singh but on account of the then Prime Minister Nehru who was not forthcoming in his approach and was instead being led by cues and inputs from Sheikh Abdullah.
Dr Jitendra Singh further asserted that if the then Home Minister Sardar Patel had been given a free hand to handle the princely State of Jammu & Kashmir just as he was handling the other princely States of undivided India, not only the history of Indian subcontinent would have been different, but also the accession of Jammu & Kashmir would have happened much earlier and the part of Jammu & Kashmir presently under illegal occupation of Pakistan, as PoJK, would have also been a part of independent India.
The question that the historians actually need to address is, said Dr Jitendra Singh, why Prime Minister Nehru violated the democratic propriety by intruding into the domain of his own Home Minister Sardar Patel ? To put the record straight, he said, it was in fact finally Sardar Patel’s intervention which facilitated the landing of the Indian Forces in Srinagar and saved the rest of the parts of the State also from being occupied by Pakistan.
Another impropriety committed by Prime Minister Nehru, said, Dr Jitendra Singh, was that instead of frankly and directly dealing with Maharaja Hari Singh, who was at that time the legitimate and official Head of the princely State of Jammu & Kashmir, Nehru instead preferred to carry on backdoor parleys with Sheikh Abdullah. It was Nehru again, whose initial dillydallying led to delay in the landing of the Indian Forces at Srinagar before they could drive out the Pakistani invaders, he said.
Dr Jitendra Singh said, the draft of the Instrument of Accession signed by Maharaja Hari Singh was the same as that signed by the Heads of other princely States, without any conditions or terms attached. Article 370 and 35-A were anomalous additions which came later after Hari Singh had relinquished the throne, he said.
History has been unfair to Maharaja Hari Singh, said Dr Jitendra Singh, and hoped that in the changed milieu of today, the record will be put straight and all the misgivings cleared for the benefit of future generations.