Issue Brief on “Jammu Massacre of 1947 – An Often Overlooked Story of Horror”

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The Jammu Massacre of 1947 was a harrowing event in the history of the subcontinent, characterized by widespread violence, displacement, and killing of Kashmiri Muslims. The genocide of the Muslims of the State of Jammu and Kashmir had started in 1947 when some 200,000[1] Muslims  were killed mercilessly by the forces of Maharaja Hari Singh aided by right-wing Hindu groups and Sikhs (though a report published by The Times on 10 August 1948 had put the figure as 237,000). Since then, the people of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu & Kashmir (IIOJK) have witnessed death as closely and as frequently as people anywhere under occupation and tyranny would see.   

This gory episode, commonly referred to as “Jammu Massacre”, is one of the darkest parts of the history of the State of Jammu and Kashmir. Traditionally, Poonch and Mirpur districts of Jammu region had been recruiting ground for the British army. Following the World War II, thousands of soldiers belonging to Poonch and Mirpur returned to their native land. The Maharaja, who already was losing grip on his rule, not only did not accept them in his army but also heavy taxes imposed by him were a source of great concern for the returning soldiers. By early 1947, the people of Poonch district had launched ‘no tax’ campaign. To counter this revolt and maintain his stranglehold, the Maharaja also strengthened his army by inducting more Hindus and Sikhs. He also ordered all Muslim subjects to surrender their weapons – the very weapons that later appeared in the hands of the Maharaja’s army. As the subcontinent was divided into two independent states, communal violence broke out. This was the time when many Hindus and Sikhs had migrated to Jammu from West Punjab that had become part of Pakistan. As a result, the non-communal revolt launched by Muslims in Poonch assumed communal character. Families were torn apart, and countless people became refugees in their own homeland. Many reports documented gruesome incidents, including mass killings, abduction, rape, and forced conversions of Muslims.

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