Sardar Vallabhai Patel would have integrated Kashmir with India if he was entrusted with the task by Jawaharlal Nehru during the country’s unification process after independence in 1947, BJP chief Amit Shah said Wednesday.
“If Nehru had entrusted Sardar Patel with the task of integrating Kashmir with India then, we would not have the Kashmir problem and Pakistan would not have dared to illegally occupy a major part of the northern state,” Shah said at the ground-breaking ceremony for a martyrs’ memorial in Gorata, a hamlet about 790 km from Bangalore.
Stirring a hornet’s nest, Shah told the gathering that it was tragic that India had to draft a separate law in the form of article 370 for Kashmir after a major portion of the state was lost to Pakistan after partition.
“Since Sardar Patel had shown courage to unify about 300 princely states with the Indian state soon after independence, Nehru should have given him a freehand to deal with the Kashmir state and the decades-old problem would have been solved once and for all,” the Bharatiya Janata Party president said.
Owing to some wrong decisions taken then on Kashmir, he said the country was involved in a prolonged dispute with Pakistan and discussions on the Line of Control have remained unresolved over the last six decades.
“Patel stood for a unified India and brought all the 300 princely states into the country’s fold peacefully. When Junagarh in Gujarat and Hyderabad under the Nizam refused to unite with India, Patel sent the army into their fiefdoms and liberated them from the erstwhile rulers. Similarly, he would have unified Kashmir with India,” he said.
Shah was on a day’s visit to Gorata, known as the ‘Jalliwanwala Bagh’ of Karnataka, where about 200 people, including women and children, were massacred by the Nizam’s soldiers (Razakars) in 1948 when it was part of Hyderabad state, for demanding merger of the region with the Indian state.
Sep 17 is also celebrated as the ‘Hyderabad-Karnataka Liberation Day’ every year to mark the Indian Army’s entry into the erstwhile Hyderabad state and the eventual overthrow of the Nizam.