Sardar Patel had offered Kashmir Valley to Pakistan, says Congress leader Saifuddin Soz
Sardar Patel was ready to “trade Kashmir for Hyderabad during Partition”, senior Congress leader Saifuddin Soz said on Monday at the launch of his book, Kashmir Glimpses of History and the Story of the Struggle, an event that was given a miss by his party leaders.
“Sardar Patel had offered Kashmir to Liaquat Ali Khan instead of Hyderabad, this was done with Lord Mountbatten and (Jawaharlal) Nehru in the chair,’’ Soz said of Vallabhbhai Patel, India’s first deputy prime minister who is popularly known as Sardar Patel and is widely credited with unifying India after Partition.
The veteran Congress leader, who is from Kashmir, said Lord Mountbatten, who was part of the Partition Council, had gone to Lahore with the same suggestion from Patel.
In the last chapter -- Kashmir The way forward – Soz quotes books by fourth Pakistan prime minister Chaudhry Mohammad Ali’s and Shaukat Hayat Khan, a former military man and an influential Pakistani politician, to back his claims.
“Patel had said Pakistan could take Kashmir and let go of Hyderabad Deccan, which had a majority Hindu population and was nowhere near Pakistan by sea or land,’’ he writes.
Soz has also written extensively about former Jammu and Kashmir governor Jagmohan’s role in the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits in early 1990s, when insurgency in the Valley was escalating. He has dedicated a chapter to the Pandit exodus, a reference to thousands of Hindu families leaving Kashmir.
There is “overwhelming evidence that former Governor of Kashmir Jagmohan was squarely responsible for organising the exodus of Pandits’’. Soz goes on to call the move Jagmohan’s efforts to organise a safe passage for Pandits to Jammu and elsewhere.
The Congress has already distanced itself from Soz and his book after the Musharraf comment, which came in for all-round criticism. Other than former union minister Jairam Ramesh, no Congress leader was present at the book event.
Congress spokesman Randeep Surjewala had earlier said the Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress would take appropriate action against Soz for his “Azadi remarks’’.