Tribute to Martyrs of Mirpur

As usual, the cruel day of 25th November is coming again to sprinkle salt on the ever-bleeding wounds of Mirpuris but we do not budge even an inch to pay rich tribute to the martyrs 0f Mirpur on the coming Friday the 25th November,2022 (10 Maghar 2079).
What a terrible and heart-rending scene it was ! which the author witnessed at the age of sixteen , when Pakistan with its fully armed Battalion, like an hungry wolf, pounced upon the innocent and unarmed population of Mirpur city the then District Headquarters of Jammu and Kashmir State (Now PoK) when out of its total populationof about 25000, more than 18000 persons which included men, women and children of tender ages, were brutally killed on 25th,26th and 27th November, 1947.
A ceremonial Salute of Honour is due to them. To pay a glowing tribute to the said unforgotten and immortal sons and daughters of the soil and to motivateour new generation to follow the foot-prints0f their elders to become National Heros, C.P. Gupta recollects the said terrible eye witnessed event of naked dance of death at Mirpur, in which besidesheaps of thousands of dead bodies our uncounted serious and half dead wounded patriots were battling for life in the whirl-pools of their own blood at various places outside the city of Mirpur.
After the partition of Indian subcontinent when Pakistan emerged as a separate independent Dominion on 15th Aug’1947 Mirpur city stood on the border line of the two countries India and Pakistan. The Govt of Pakistan made a plan to grab the state of Jammu and Kashmir (now Union Territory) by force. Under the said nefarious design, the Govt. of Pakistan, in the second week of October1947, managed to send a bag of pamphlets written in Urdu in the city of Mirpur in which they had stated that Mirpur District had a cherished history of Hindu -Muslim unity. The Pakistan Govt. would give special status to Mirpur District if the citizens of Mirpur city allow Pakistan to establish their army pickets in the city without any hindrance.In the said pamphlet they had suggested that the citizens of Mirpur city may display green flags from the top of their houses as a mark of their acceptance to the said proposal of Pakistan . In the evening of the same very day, the elderly and the elite persons of the Mirpur city called a meeting in which theyout rightly rejected the proposal of Pakistan and vowed not to allow Pakistan army to enter into the city of Mirpur city till they had the last bullet to fight with. Accordingly, in the next evening, instead of green flags ,the citizens of Mirpur displayed red flags to convey their Resolve that they would not allow the Pak army to enter the Mirpur city and would fight vigorously to protect their motherland (Mirpur city)to make it an integral part of India.
The Accession of the Jammu and Kashmir State with India declared by Maharaja Hari Singh on 26th October, 1947 could not be digested by the Pakistan as a result of which Pakistan made a secret agreement with Pathan mercenaries, known as “Zen and Zar Agreement” according to which if Mirpur city was captured, the captured women would be taken by the Pathans and the immovable property land etc. would be the share of Pakistan Government. Immediately thereafter Pakistan pushed her army and laid siege of the city of Mirpur and choked it by denying access to all essential commodities. The incessant firing and heavy gun operation from the Pakistan army, forced the small and ill-equipped state police to confine itself in the pickets within the city of Mirpur. The insufficient police force was assisted by the young men of Mirpur city. They jointly stood like a rock and with whatever meager stock of ammunition they had in their stock repulsed the enemy attacks with heavy losses to them on 6th,10th and 21st November, 1947. They had determined not to submit themselves before the enemy but alas! the continued large scale onslaught by the well-equipped Pakistan Army and also due to some technical defect occurred in the old wireless set installed at that time in police camp at Mirpur, which led to disruption in radio link with the State Police Headquarters at Jammu and Government of India, strangled the city of Mirpur. Despite war like situation created by Pakistan and even signing of Agreement of Accession of Jammu and Kashmir State with India,theCentralGovernment due to some political differences between the then Central and J&K State Governments , did not send army to save Mirpur though at that time it was stationed at Jhanger which was at a distance of only 20 miles from Mirpur. That made Mirpur a scape goat.
On November 24, under the thick cover of artillery shelling and bursting of heavy grenades which are normally used during declared war, Pakistan launched a major attack on the eastern side of the city. This was the heaviest attack witnessed so far. The Garrison put up the most spirited resistance but the enemy used it full force to break the defense line of the city. In that attempt seven Pathans made their way to enter the city at midnight. Alarmed by the worst critical situation at that time, the internal flying Death Squads of the city engaged themselves madly in hand-to-hand fight with the infiltrators and killed all the seven Pathans at the cost of life of many young men of the Mirpur community. This operation brought down the city stock of ammunition to Zero level. In that critical situation, the State Administration headed by Wazir Wazarat decided clandestinely to retreat to Jammu leaving behind the hapless city population to face the wrath of the marauders. In fact at that time, it was the moral duty of the State Administration to ask the citizens to vacate the city and march towards Jammu under their protection but contrary to it, the Wazir Wazarat along with his police officers galloped their horses and left the city in the wee hours on November 25, 1947 even leaving behind their own wounded soldiers who were crying in pain of their wounds and lying on beds in the police line hospital.
The coward departure of the State Administration from Mirpur city gave a jubilant signal to the enemy. At about 8.30 AM, the fully armed raiders entered the city in wave after wave and pushed the city population into one corner of the city. The terrified men, women and children in utter confusion in the midst of heavy firing from all the sides and in choking atmosphere due to smoke coming out of the burning houses of the city, scattered in different groups and marched in caravan in different directions without knowing where were they going? They were intercepted by the enemy who like hungry wolf unleashed terror and brutal savagery which made the whole area an open stage for the naked dance of Death. The heavy firing on the moving caravan from all the sides from morning to evening laid down the dead bodies of more than 12,000 persons on the earth at various places where excepting the sky there was none to shed tears over the bulk departed pious souls and even the Sun being ashamed on grave violation of human rights, had hidden his face behind the clouds well before the time of its setting in the west.
This was not the end of annihilation of the misery. At night of the same day an ill-fated group of about 2,000 persons was captured at a place known as ” KasGumma “. The enemy gathered around the captives like hungry wolves and asked them to surrender all the cash and jewellery which they had with them. Thereafter, the male persons were asked to remove their clothes and lie down in a row. They were tortured and killed in batches during the whole night. The women and girls were taken to unknown places by the Pathans as per their standing agreement of “Zen and Zar” with the Pakistan Government. Next day ,the enemy drove another group of about 2,000 persons and brought them at a village known as “Thathal”. They also met the same cruel treatment as at” Kas Gumma “. Finally there was a massacre at Alibeg where there were about 5,000 captives.
A group of about 3000 persons including the author, luckily or unluckily ,somehow escaped from the barbarous clutches of the raiders and after walking on bare feet for seven days and nights, without food and water , reached Jammu in such a miserable condition and mental agony which is too difficult to be explained even now.
The curtain of the, naked dance of Death dropped in the mid of January,1948 when a team of ICRC (International Committee of Red Cross) arrived there and took charge of the Alibeg camp and supplied the much needed food and medicines to the captives. On March 18, 1948 they managed to get the captives liberated in exchange of the same number of Muslims who were in India and willing to go to Pakistan. At that time, the captives of Mirpur in Alibeg camp were not more than 1600 as the rest were either killed, died or kidnapped. The liberated persons were mostly aged and even unable to walk. They reached Amritsar in India where they were given tearful and touching reception by their relatives and general public.
The Government of Jammu and Kashmir in the memory of these martyrs of Mirpur have constructed a Memorial titled ‘ Mirpur Shaheedi Smark’ at a conspicuous place in front of the main entry gate of the Government Medical College at Maheshpura chowk Bakshinagar, Jammu.The Jammu Development Authority dedicated the said Samarak to Mirpur community which was unveiled by Miss Sushma Choudhary I.A.S the then Financial Commissioner on 25th November, 1998. The said Smarak is also the starting point of ‘Mirpur Road’ which was named so on the same day viz 25th November, 1998 to pay tributes to the martyrs of Mirpur under the patronage of late S. Harsajan Singh who at that time was the Chairman of the Legislative Council of the Jammu and Kashmir State. Mirpur Road ends at Gurha Morh Bakshi Nagar Jammu.
On 25th November every year, thousands of Mirpuris residing in Jammu city and its peripheral colonies , march in prabhatpheries coming from different sectors of Jammu city and reach the said Mirpur Shaheedi Smark to pay jointly, rich floraltributes to the martyrs of Mirpur who sacrificed their lives for the sake of their Mother land as a result of which the state of Jammu and Kashmir (now UT) remained an integral part of India. The very old persons (men and women) very few in number who are still alive observe fast on that day in the cherished memory of their kith and kins who sacrificed their lives in the said episode at Mirpur.
(The author is the retired Deputy Secretary from the J&K Government )