The unfinished task of Dr. Mookerjee was accomplished by Narendra Modi
Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah a school teacher leaving his job launched Muslim Conference. Later the outfit was known as National Conference. On May 10,1946 Abdullah launched `Quit Kashmir` movement to dethrone Maharaja Hari Singh. Abdullah wanted to take control of Jammu and Kashmir in his hand.He was arrested on May 20,1946 on the charge of sedition.Pandit Jawaharlal Lal Nehru decided to visit Jammu & Kashmir in support of Abdullah.His entry was banned. Viceroy and Maharaja Hari Singh advised him not to visit Jammu & Kashmir.Defying ban he entered in Jammu & Kashmir.He said while defying the ban “I do not consider myself an outsider in any state. The whole India is my home and claim the right to go any part.” Nehru considered Abdullah popular leader of Kashmir valley.Nehru`s stand to support Abdullah and his National conference was not supported by Kashmiri Pandits and a large number of Hindu and Muslims. Dr. Shyama Prasad Mookerjee also constantly warned Nehru about Abdullah hidden agenda. From the beginning Pandit Nehru`s approach to handle Kashmir messed up the whole issue.
On October 27,1947 Maharaja Hari Singh signed accession deed with Government of India. With the interference of Pt. Nehru,Sheikh Abdulla was made interim Prime minister of Jammu & Kashmir on October 30,1947. Subsequently, Sheikh Abdulla made the Kashmir a problem for India. He pressurized Nehru to give special status to Jammu & Kashmir. Under his Pressure, article 370 was included in the constitution as a temporary provision. He created a separate flag, and a separate constitution for Jammu & Kashmir. In reaction of Abdullah`s policies Praja Parishad was founded by Prem Nath Dogra with the help of the RSS. Praja Parishad demanded full intergration of Jammu and Kashmir in India.The outfit opposed special status and the separate constitution and flag. Abdullah got him arrested. After pressure from union government Abdullah made him free. Under leadership of Prem Nath Dogra,Praja Parishad decided to contest 1952 assembly elections. The 59 candidates of Praja Parishad filed nomination. At the instruction of Abdullah- government their 42 nominations were cancelled. It was height of repression. Praja Parishad sought help from government of India but could not get any help.Lastly, Praja Parishad decided to boycott elections and launched satygrah.They started their protest against two Prime Ministers,two flags,two constitution in a country. The staygrahi raised slogan “Ekdesh men do vidhan,Ekdesh men do Nnishan,ekdesh men do Pradhan nahichalega ”. As a result, National Conference won all of 75 seats in constitution assembly without contest. Dr. Mookerjee supported Praja Parishad`s satygarah against‘do vidhan,donishan and do pradhan’. He raised his voice in parliament. He exhorted government in parliament and outside parliament on the ogoing repression of dogras in Kashmir by Abdullah Government. He wrote several letters to Nehru and Abdullah. But nothing could be achieved.
In Kanpur session of the Jan Sangh held in December 1952 passed a resolution to support satyagrah by Praja parishad and launched a full-fledged integration of Jammu & Kashmir into the Indian territory. In his Presidential address Dr. mookerjee said, “Sheikh Abdullah and others from Kashmir were party to the framing of our Constitution,which every way guarantees equal protection to all. No non-Muslim wants to remain separate from India. Why the majority of Muslims in the state under sheikh Abdullah`s leadership hesitate to accept the same constitution as has been applied to whole of free India? An impression is gaining ground that with our blood and money we are carving out a virtually autonomous state for Sheikh Abdullah and his followers ….we are often told that if there is any undue pressure for the application of the Indian constitution to Jammu & Kashmir,the Muslims of Kashmir valley may break away from india. This argument is totally unintelligible. Mr. Jinnah also founded this theory of Pakistan on the plea that Muslim majority areas could never accept a constitution,which would give large powers to a central government supported by a parliament with a preponderant Hindu majority. To ponder such a view in regard to Kashmir would be grossly communal and retrograde.
The BJS President Dr. Mookerjee took the issue among people of the country. He organized public meetingsacross the country to garner support for Praja Parishad`s movement in Jammu &Kashmir. On February 10,1953 the National working committee of the Jana Sangh passed a resolution on deteriorating situation of Jammu & Kashmir and biased attitude of Pt. Nehru and brutal repression by Abdullah`s government. An action committee was formed by Jana Sangh to consult other parties on the issue. As a result of Mookerjee`s tour people from different parts of the country started giving court arrest in support of the satyagarh. People in support of Praja parishad going to Jammu & Kashmir had to pass through Punjab. The ruling congress party arrested them and put in Jails. In April of 1953 three Jana Sangh State presidents Raj kaumar Srivastava (Uttar Pradesh), Rajkishore Shukla (Vindhya Pradesh) and Shiv Kumar Dwivedi (Bihar) were arrested and put in Jails in Punjab . Dr. Mookerjee wanted to keep movement non-violent. In order to Know the situation of Jammu Kashmir the Jana Sangh President Dr. Mookerjee decided to send Uma Shankar trivedi and GV Deshpandey to Jammu. But both were not granted permission to enter Jammu and Kashmir.Then Dr. Shyama Prasad Mookerjee himself decided to go to Kashmir without seeking any clearance or permission. Before his departure for Jammu & Kashmir Mookerjee stated “Mr. Nehru has repeatedly declared that the accession of the state of Jammu and Kashmir has been hundred percent complete. Yet it is strange to find that one cannot enter the state without previous permit from government of India. The permit is even granted to Communists who are playing their usual role in Jammu & Kashmir but entry is barred to those who think or act in terms of Indian Unity and nationhood. Dr. Mookerjee started his journey from New Delhi for Jammu & Kashmir on May 8. When he reached Amritshar Railway Station on May 10,he was welcome by more than 2000 people. He took night halt in Amritshar. He met there Tara Singh and requested him not to demand a separate Punjabi Suba, as it was not in the interest of the country. During his stay in Amritshar he received the message of Abdullah.Through message Abdullah warned him not to enter in Jammu &Kashmir. Ignoring the Abdullah`s warning next day on May 11 he reached Pathankot. His welcome in pathankot was amazing. The deputy commissioner of Gurudaspur while following him was travelling in the same compartmentfrom Jullundhar to Amritsar told Dr. Mookerjee in Pathankot that Punjab government had decided to prevent him(Dr. Mookerjee) from reaching Pathankot but now he was instructed to allow him(Dr. Mookerjee) with his companion to travel further for Jammu & Kashmir. Dr. Mookerjee reached Madhopurcheckpost at 4 PM. Dr. Mookerjee along with his companion was greeted by Deputy Commissioner of police and other officers for hishappy journey.
As soon as the Jeep carrying Dr. Mookerjee reached the middle of the Madhopurbridge was stopped by Jammu &Kashmi police. Dr. Mookerjee along with his two colleagues Guru Dutt Vaidya and Shri Tek Chand were arrested. They were told that they were being arrested under Public safety Act of Jammu & Kashmir. They could have been arrested in Punjab but their arresting in territory of jammu& Kashmir had kept them out of jurisdiction of supreme Court. Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee as Mookerjee`s Private Secretary were travelling with him were ordered to return. Dr. Mookerjee told Atal ji to go back and tell the people of country that he had entered the state of Jammu & Kashmir without permit.They were taken to Srinagar.After all legal formality they werekept under arrest for 42 days till his mysterious death on June 23,1953at a cottage near the Nishat Garden.
The information of his death was given by Deputy Home Minister of Jammu & Kashmir Shri Durga Prasad Dhar to Dr. Mookerjee`s brother Justice Rama Prasad Mookerjee. It was told that Mookerjee fell ill shortly after his arrival in custody. He had an attack of pleurisy three days back and yesterday was taken to hospital where he had a sudden heart attack and passed away at 4.30 A.M. Justice Mookerjee was stunned to hear the news. No previous news of his illness was given. Nation was in shocked on sudden death of Dr. Mookerjee. His body was taken to Calcutta by a special aircraft. His Last rites was performed in Kolkata.
The great patriot and great son of Bharat MaataDr. Shyama Prasad Mookerjee sacrified his life for the integration of the nation.
In an interview Atal ji said, “When he expired,I feel that Dr. Mookerjee was saying,as if his soul was saying from sky,Look I havecome out of the state of Jammu &Kashmir,though as a martyr. They could not keep me inside.One,the government of India could not stop me entering Jammu & Kashmir without a permit even if I entered as aprisoner. And Kashmir made me a prisoner but could not keep me as a prisoner.Even though I felt only as martyr”. Atal ji added, then I thought that I should join politics to complete the unfinished task of Dr. Mookerjee.I left journalism and started working for the Jana Sangh.
The unfinished task of Dr. Mookerjee took forward by Atal ji and accomplished by Narendra Modi by abrogating article 370 on August 5, 2019.
(The writer is an Associate Editor of Kamal Sandesh)