Dew days back, a demonstration of young men and women walked to the Srinagar headquarters of the United Nations Military Observer Group of India and Pakistan at Sonwar in Srinagar while shouting pro-India and anti-Pakistan and anti-terror slogans. The participants complained that the UN had encouraged Pakistan-sponsored terrorism with its ‘selective condemnation of violence’, implying that the world body had remained a mute spectator to the killings perpetrated by terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir.On the same day, similar but thicker demonstrations were organised by the Kashmiris across the LoC in Muzaffarabad, Mirpur as also in Islamabad and several metropolises across Europe and America.At Sher-e-Kashmir International Conference Centre in Srinagar, a two-day national symposium-cum-exhibition on ‘Memories of 22 October 1947’ was organised by the National Museum Institute of History of Art, Conservation & Museology (NMI) of the union Ministry of Culture. It was inaugurated by Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha and, among others, attended by the Union Minister of Tourism and Culture Prahlad Singh Patel through virtual mode.Raghvendra Singh, Secretary, Ministry of Culture, Government of India and Prof Manvi Seth, Dean, National Museum Institute, New Delhi were also present on the occasion. The exhibition displayed curated archives of key events of 1947.On the sidelines of a symposium, the exhibition depicted The Treaty of Lahore, The Treaty of Amritsar, The Popular Will of 1947, Economic Blockade of Kashmir, 1947- Towards Accession, The Invaders Backed by Pakistan, Pakistani Militia Leaders, Plunder in Muzaffarabad and Baramulla, The Church Attack, Maqbool Sherwani– The Hero of Baramulla, Instrument of Accession, Key Dates, The Gilgit Game and People’s Militia. A publication on ‘Memories of 22 October 1947’ was also launched on the occasion.During his address, the Lt Governor observed that the two-day Symposium and Exhibition is a medium to expose the atrocities inflicted by the Pakistani government and its army upon innocent women, children, and men of Jammu & Kashmir on October 22, 1947.The day reminds us of all the atrocities meted out by Pakistan and its army on innocent civilians including young kids and women. Even after 73 years, the pain and terrors of Operation Gulmarg of Pakistan are fresh in our memories, he added.Terming terrorism as a collective enemy of humanity, LG Sinha said that the entire world knew about the actual perpetrators of terrorism and it was high time for India to defeat their evil designs by spreading communal harmony and love for humanity.“We have decided to educate our new generations how this land, that preaches universal brotherhood, was trampled by Pakistan, its army, and its government on October 22, 1947. It was their mission to plant the seeds of communal hatred among the peace-loving people. Pakistan has been blatantly claiming that the raids were made by tribal Pashtuns, while the truth is that it was Pakistan Army dressed as tribals. It is necessary to break the misconceptions that have been spread over the years. It is necessary to unmask Pakistan and its sympathisers,” Sinha asserted.“It is documented that the Pakistani army and its proxies crossed Garhi Habibullah and attacked Muzaffarabad, and just as they ruthlessly killed civilians, they also murdered some of our soldiers. The ruthless Pakistan army killed Hindus and Sikhs and forcibly sold their young women in Rawalpindi and Peshawar. Even Sister Maria, a nun at a Baramulla Church was killed. Maqbool Sherwani, a Kashmiri who resisted them, was also shot down mercilessly by the Pakistani marauders,” Sinha added.Former VC of University of Jammu Prof Amitabh Mattoo, who has also served as advisor to former Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, spoke in memory of Maqbool Sherwani who laid down his life while stalling the advance of tribal invaders to Srinagar. Other prominent speakers were Sushant Sareen of Observer Research Foundation (ORF) and Prof Raghuvendra Tanwar whereas prominent defence analyst Maroof Raza and Iqbal Chand Malhotra joined the symposium through webcast.Lt Gen (rtd) Syed Ata Hasnain, Chairman of Central University Kashmir and a former GOC of Srinagar-based Chinar Corps, Lt Gen (rtd) Gurmeet Singh, Lt Gen (rtd) PJS Pannu and author-researcher, Dr Ramesh Tamiri, Dr Mukulita Vijayawargiya, Ashutosh, Prof Dipankar Sengupta, Maj Gen (rtd) Devnesh Agnihotri also spoke at length while as a message written by Maj Gen (rtd) SV Thapiyal was also delivered through virtual mode.Presentations at the symposium threw light on a variety of topics focussing on sacrifice of Maqbool Sherwani, role of Indian Air Force, template of terrorism, battles fought for the destiny of J&K, role of Indian army in the defence of Kashmir, contesting of narratives, Pakistani invasion of J&K, British role in the tribal invasion, Rashomon gambit: delegitimising rival narratives on accession.
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