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October 22 as Black Day: When Pakistan invaded J&K to commit atrocities

On October 22, 1947, Pakistan unilaterally broke the Standstill Agreement and launched an invasion to forcibly capture Jammu and Kashmir using tribal raiders

Photo: twitter/@adgpi

Photo: twitter/@adgpi

BS Web TeamAgencies New Delhi
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India observes October 22, the day of the raid in 1947 in Jammu and Kashmir, as the 'Black Day' to protest against Pakistan's role in instigating violence and terror in the valley. On October 22, 1947, Pakistani invaders illegally entered into Jammu and Kashmir and plundered and committed atrocities. The raiders looted and pillaged the state with a ferocity that shocked the people till the Indian army came to the rescue and decisively threw them back.

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The Pakistan Army had directed every Pathan tribe to enlist at least one lashkar of 1,000 tribesmen. They then told lashkars to concentrate at Bannu, Wanna, Peshawar, Kohat, Thal and Nowshera. The Pakistan brigade commanders at these places provided ammunition and arms and essential clothing.

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Six lashkars advanced along the main road from Muzaffarabad to Srinagar through Domel, Uri and Baramulla, with the specific task of capturing the aerodrome and subsequently advancing to the Banihal Pass. Two lashkars were told to advance from the Hajipir Pass directly to Gulmarg. A similar force of two lashkars were told to advance from Tithwal through the Nastachhun Pass to capture Sopore, Handwara and Bandipur. Ten lashkars were asked to operate in Poonch, Bhimbar and Rawalkot area with the intention of capturing Poonch, Rajouri and then advancing to Jammu.

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7 Infantry Division of the Pakistan Army concentrated in the area Murree-Abbottabad by the last light of October 21, 1947 and was ordered to be ready to move immediately into the Jammu and Kashmir territory to backup the tribal lashkars and consolidate their hold on the valley. One Infantry brigade was also held in readiness at Sialkot to move to Jammu. Pakistani Soldiers were sent in driblets and regular troops were mixed with invaders, an expedient which delayed but did not halt Indian advance in Kashmir.

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Invaders entered Baramulla and began soul stirring atrocities. "Young women were abducted and carried off without distinction of colour, cast or creed. Each raider tried to grab as much wealth or as many girls as he could," recalls a former Indian Army officer. The princely State of Jammu and Kashmir was under attack by the tribal raiders supported by the troops of the newly formed Pakistani Army.

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Witnessing the atrocities, Maharaja Hari Singh appealed to the Indian government for help and Kashmir formally acceded to India. It was on October 27, 1947, the first Infantry contingent of the Indian Army, the troops of the 1 Sikh landed at Srinagar Airfield and fought a battle to liberate Kashmir from the intruders.

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Despite its direct involvement, Pakistan called it a 'spontaneous' attack by the tribals in response to the communal killings in J&K. But there is documentary evidence in terms of eyewitness accounts of the tribal invasion that demolishes its case. One such is of Akbar Khan, whose book 'Raiders in Kashmir' leaves no doubt about how Pakistan planned the invasion and was directly involved in it. Akbar Khan was then Director, Weapons and Equipment at GHQ.

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First Published: Oct 22 2020 | 10:25 AM IST

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