In 1953, Syama Prasad Mookerjee, president of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh, died in a jail in Srinagar where he was detained by the Sheikh Abdullah government for protesting against Kashmir being an “autonomous republic within India.” A year before his death, Mookerjee was the president of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh – the predecessor of the present day Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Several resolutions were passed by the Bharatiya Jana Sangh against the policies of the Jawaharlal Nehru and Sheikh Abdullah government on their stance on the Kashmir issue. Here are some of the resolutions passed under the leadership of Mookerjee before his mysterious death in 1953.
Bharatiya Jana Sangh Central Working Committee (CWC) June 14, 1952, Delhi
The Central Working Committee (CWC) is empathetically of the view that Jammu and Kashmir state is an integral part of India and that economic and social advancement of the state requires its integration with India. The provisions in the Indian constitution about J&K were admittedly of a temporary character, in view of the peculiar circumstances then prevailing and it was expected that in due course when it integrates with India its position will be approximate to that of the Part B states.
The recent decision of the state’s constituent assembly regarding an elected president and a separate flag coupled with the recommendations of the Basic Principles Committee that Kashmir will be an autonomous republic within the Indian republic are in clear violation of India’s sovereignty and the spirit of the Indian constitution. Besides this move threatens to break the unity of the state as representatives of Jammu and Ladakh have expressed their determination to have full accession to India irrespective of the wishes of the people of the Kashmir valley. Reacting to this demand, Sheikh Abdullah the 'Prime Minister’ of Kashmir has also said publically that these areas can break away if they so desired. In the past, the fissiparous tendencies of the Muslim League succeeded in dividing India leading to disastrous consequences. To allow J&K to proceed along the same path means allowing history to repeat itself. It might mean a fresh call to disruptive elements in India to break the unity and integrity of the country which has been achieved with great sacrifices. The Committee resolves that June 29 be observed as Kashmir Day all over India and public meetings and demonstrations be held in support of this stand.
Bharatiya Jana Sangh Central Working Committee (CWC) December 31 1952, Kanpur
J&K is an integral part of India. Bharatiya Jana Sangh has been ceaselessly urging the government of India and Kashmir to give up such policies that have created a deep hiatus between Kashmir and the rest of India. Constitutional efforts that the people of Jammu and Ladakh are making for complete integration of Kashmir with India are praiseworthy. It is an acknowledged truth that they were forced to launch an agitation because their deep feelings have been continuously ignored in a brutal manner. This session expresses sympathy and solidarity with them for their fight to uphold the noble principle that there cannot be two Constitutions, two flags and two prime ministers within one nation. Merciless attempts are being made to suppress this peaceful agitation. Lathis, bullets and tear gas are being used continuously against an unarmed and peaceful people, as a result of which a large number of people have been killed and wounded. As of date, 1300 Satyagrahis, including many ladies have been arrested. In jail they are being beaten and other inhuman atrocities are being perpetrated on them. Many of them have been transferred to jails in the Kashmir valley where temperatures these days is well below zero and yet they have not been given enough clothing.
As a counter-measure against this Satyagraha the Kashmir Government has launched a contemptible smear-campaign against the patriotic leaders of the agitation, in order to divert the attention of the people of India from the real issues. It is a matter of deep regret that the Government of India and many English language newspapers have been influenced by this mal- propaganda of the Abdulla Government, started talking in the same tone and abusing without knowing about the propriety of the agitation. No one in the state wants to re-establish feudalism, nor can this agitation (in which hundreds of Muslims are openly participating) be called communal. This Session praises the admirable patience shown by the people of Jammu-Kashmir and pays its tributes to those martyrs who laid down their lives for holding the National Flag high in their hands. This Session warns Sheikh Abdulla that the suppression at present being practised in Jammu cannot put down a popular movement. Political sagacity and realism demand that instead of falling a prey to false prestige, prompt steps be taken to find out an honourable solution to control the situation in Jammu.
Bharatiya Jana Sangh Central Working Committee (CWC) February 10 1953, Delhi
The Central Working Committee after considering the recent developments in Jammu deeply regrets the failure on the part of the Government of India to take adequate and timely measures for a peaceful settlement of the matters that have led to the movement. Normally speaking under a Democratic Constitution, Satyagraha can be justified only under exceptional circumstances. The Praja Parishad’s repeated attempts to obtain an honourable settlement through constitutional means failed and they received no favourable response either from the Government of India or from the Government of Jammu-Kashmir. Even if the status quo in Kashmir had continued, perhaps the movement would not have started. It was forced on the people when it appeared that the Abdulla Government backed by the Government of India was determined to put into effect some fundamental changes in the existing constitutional arrangements which drew away the State further from India. On the other hand there were no signs of implementing the application of even some modified provisions of the Indian Constitution, which would have brought the State of Jammu-Kashmir a little more within the political and constitutional structure of India.
Praja Parishad has demanded that the entire State of Jammu-Kashmir should be governed according to the Constitution of free India. Here Abdullah relies on Article 370 of the Indian Constitution which provides that application of the provisions of the Indian Constitution to Jammu-Kashmir state beyond the 3 subjects of foreign relations, defence and communications, could be made only with the consent of the Kashmir Government. This was a transitory provision and its history is well known to all. Similar assurances had been given to all the 500 Indian States (as they were previously called), when they first decided to merge with India. Authorities of these States, however, had in their own interest and for the good of India, subsequently agreed to adopt uniformly the provisions of the Indian Constitution. Abdulla and his party cannot, therefore, stand on merely legalistic technicalities and refuse to accept the very Constitution which today governs free India where 4 crore Muslims are living as common citizens with equal rights.