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Local bus driver jumps off a bus while 7 soldiers died in accident, reminds how some locals had betrayed Maharaja Hari Singh 1947

While incidents of Indian army men getting targeted while transiting through a bus have repeated to form a pattern of threat, there seems much to the case beyond the angle of negligent driving.

It was the October of 1947. The Pakistani side with an aim of a full-scale invasion of Jammu and Kashmir launched Operation Gulmarg. For this, The Pakistani army took the help of various local tribal militias and trained them for its invasion. According to the plan, 20 Lashkars (tribal militias), each consisting of 1000 Pashtun tribals, were recruited from various Pashtun tribes, and armed at the brigade headquarters at Bannu, Wanna, Peshawar, Kohat, Thall and Nowshera by the first week of September. 

In the early hours of October 22, 1947, troops of Pakistani Pashtun tribal militia, by orders from the Pakistani state and army, surreptitiously crossed the border from Garhi Habibullah area into Jammu and Kashmir and attacked the town of Muzaffarabad. The tribal attackers raided and plundered homes. According to documents, while houses were looted and men were killed on the streets, hundreds of women were raped and abducted. However, there’s much more to the story than putting the blame onto the non-state actors from the Pakistani side.

Reportedly, the tribal raiders, who were following the orders of Pakistani, Maj. Gen. Akbar Khan was also helped by Muslim revolters from Maharaja Hari Singh’s military. With a view to paint the armed invasion of Jammu and Kashmir look like an internal coup of Muslim militia serving the Hindu ruler, Pakistani elements fanned civilian unrest in Kashmir while rebelling against Maharaja Hari Singh was grinned up.

Several accounts claim that the tribal raiders, raised by the Pakistani Army, were aided by the traitors of the 4 KI guarding the outposts at Lohar Gali and Ramkot. Many Muslim forces tasked with protecting the sovereignty of Jammu and Kashmir mutinied and colluded with the rampaging Pashtun tribesmen to defeat the forces deployed by Maharaja Hari Singh. These rebels provided crucial information to the armed raiders about the troop deployment and position and helped them prevail over them. 

As a result of this, in Barmamulla, Pashtuns killed innumerable men and women, looted houses and then set them on fire. Out of the 14,000 population at the time, less than two thousand had remained. Most of them were either killed in the Pashtun onslaught or fled the village for safer places.

A repeated case of Betrayal?

Come to 2022, 19 Indian Army soldiers were injured including 7 who lost their lives after the bus carrying them fell in the Shyok river in the Turtuk sector of Ladakh. After primary investigation, an FIR was registered against bus driver Ahmed Shah for negligent driving in connection to the case. Reportedly, the bus skidded off the road and fell into the Shyok river during the transit, while the bus driver is said to have jumped out of the bus seconds before the vehicle fell to a depth of around 50 to 60 feet. 

While the police have held the driver responsible for negligent driving, many have started questioning the sudden jumping off the bus by the driver. While incidents of Indian army men getting targetted while transiting through a bus have repeated to form a pattern of threat, there seems much to the case beyond the angle of negligent driving.

Comedian Nitin Gupta ‘Rivaldo’ was reminded of how Major Nasrullah Khan gathered Muslim joint commanding officers in the Jammu and Kashmir Battalion and killed sleeping Gorkhas from the Indian side. The segue opens up us into a series of many such betrayals from Muslim soldiers in the Maharaja’s army who was by now openly ready to accede to India.

A serious case Brigadier Ghansara Singh who was appointed the governor of the Gilgit region by the Maharaja in August 1947, revolves around in similar dimensions. He had under him soldiers of VI J&K Infantry and with its battalion headquarters at Bunji, it had Sikhs and Muslims in equal numbers. Receiving signals of transgression by the enemy, Ghansara Singh dialled for help from Srinagar, but a Muslim officer who was stationed at the telegraph office at Gilgit did not forward the messages.

On the night of October 31, British Officers stationed in Gilgit and Muslim soldiers in the battalion captured Ghansara Singh. 35 soldiers were killed by Muslim soldiers of the same infantry. Similarly, a fortnight before, on October 15, Major Nasarullah Khan of the Mirpur Brigade of the II J&K Battalion was tasked to deliver military supplies and ammunition to the garrison in the Tharochi Fort.

After deploying Muslim officers on the perimeter of the Fort, he told the members of the Gorkha battalion to take a rest. Unaware of the treachery hatched by the Muslim commander unsuspecting Gorkhas were murdered by the Muslim section of the battalion including Captain Raghubir Singh Thapa. The loopholes of history have embedded within them many history lessons from us. The toolkit of treachery, beyond the promises of Naya Kashmir, keeps repeating itself.

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