The Forgotten Kashmiris
In Oct 1947, just when the British had left the subcontinent – the tribals, believed to be from the North Western Province of Pakistan, attacked the western front of Kashmir. Kashmir at that time was still independent and not a part of India. Muzaffarabad was attacked on 22 Oct 1947. The strength of the attack was enormous. Overnight Muzaffarabad was occupied by the tribal war lords. People were forced to leave or Die.
Amidst this chaos, fearing for his kingdom, on 26 Oct ’47 the King of Kashmir proposed the merger with India. The Kingdom of Kashmir on 27 Oct ’47 merged with India. But, for the Indian army to reach – it took almost a month. Meanwhile, as the land on the western front was conquered by the tribals – many people fled to save their lives. Many, many others were killed. For the ones that survived … the story had just begun.
Of people who – 60 years since Independence – are still living as Refugees. Close to 12,00,000. Living in camps, in towns, in villages – all along the LoC. They ran away from their homes in 1947. Sought shelter in the folds of the Indian Democracy.
DESRAJ ji was one of them. He lives in village Chakrota, J&K. Listen to his story.
Sai Das lives in the Camp No. 201 based on the outskirts of Jammu – the other capital of the desired state of Jammu and Kashmir. His home is in the divided Punch – POK. He left it some Sixty years ago. Since then he has lived in a small plot that has a number but no name. That number belongs to the government – and not to Sai Das – because the government plans to, some day, reclaim the ‘occupied’ land back from Pakistan and send Sai Das back home. Sai Das is 92. Will this reoccupation happen, if at all, during his life time? This nation cant say. Will that land be gifted back? The other nation doesn’t say. Till then, Sai Das lives with no place to call his home and, perhaps, dies the same way too.
Direction & Voice: Akanksha Joshi * Camera: Vikram * Script: Krishna Deo * Edit: Divya Kohli