Junagadh 

#GS2 #International #GS1 #Geography 

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has recently unveiled a new political map that includes all of Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh, Sir Creek and Junagadh. Pakistan has said that it would be the new map of Pakistan. 

Junagadh issue  

  • Junagadh’s decision to join India in 1947, formalized through a Plebiscite in 1948, was not accepted by Pakistan then, but was overtaken by the first India-Pakistan war over Kashmir that began at the end of October 1947 and continued for over a year. 
  • Junagadh was mentioned by Pakistan when the Security Council took up the issue of the hostilities in J&K in January 1948. Under the UN Security Council resolution 39, a commission was set up for the “peaceful resolution of the Kashmir conflict”, and the mandate of this commission was to investigate allegations by India of the situation in J&K, as well as “other issues” raised by Pakistan, which included Junagadh that Pakistan accused India of “annexing and occupying by force”. 
  • But after the initial resistance from Pakistan, Junagadh has been seen as a settled matter in the bilateral relationship, brought up sometimes in conversations in Pakistan by those wishing to make the point that when India could not countenance the accession of a Hindu-majority state with a Muslim ruler to Pakistan, it should have applied the same yardstick in Kashmir and accepted Pakistan’s claim on a Muslim-majority state with a Hindu ruler. 

Accession to India 

  • Junagadh was in the Kathiawar region, where most other princely states had already acceded to India. 
  • The ruler of Junagadh was Nawab Mahabatkhan Rasulkhanji. 
  • The state was not contiguous with Pakistan. Eighty per cent of the population was Hindu. Somnath, where the famous Shiva temple was ransacked by Mahmud Ghazni, is located in Junagadh, near the port of Veraval. 
  • In May 1947, the Dewan-ship of the state changed hands through palace intrigue to a Muslim Leaguer from Karachi, Shah Nawaz Bhutto (his son Zulfikar Ali Bhutto would become the Prime Minister of Pakistan). Under his influence, the Nawab decided to accede to Pakistan on August 15, though he had earlier given the impression that the future of his Kathiawari state lay in joining India. 
  • After failing over a month to get a response from Pakistan to an offer by Nehru “to accept and abide by the verdict of the people of Junagadh in respect of the accession of the State to either of the Dominions”, starting from the last week of September to the end of October, India put in place a series of measures that held the threat of military action against Junagadh, mainly by deploying troops around the state, in an effective blockade. The Nawab of Junagadh fled to Karachi by air, with his family and his valuables. 

Plebiscite in Junagadh 

  • In September, a parallel government of Junagadh called Arzi Hukumat had been formed in Mumbai, and when the Nawab fled, they began to take over parts of Junagadh, and some of them also indulged in looting and arson. 
  • On November 7, Bhutto held talks with Samaldas Gandhi, head of the Arzi Hukumat, asking him to take over the administration and restore law and order. But a day later, on the urging of Muslim residents, he asked the government of India to directly take over the administration of Junagadh through the regional commissioner at Rajkot. The handover to M N Buch, Rajkot Commissioner, took place on November 9. 
  • Pakistan characterised the takeover as a “direct act of hostility”, and asked India to relinquish charge to the rightful ruler and withdraw its troops. 
  • India replied it had stepped in to restore law and order and prevent a complete breakdown of the administration only at the request of the Dewan of Junagadh who was acting on behalf of the Nawab, who was himself in Karachi. India had indicated that it would want to formalise the arrangement through a plebiscite. 
  • This was held on February 20, 1948. Of 2,01,457 registered voters, 1,90,870 cast their votes. Of this number only 91 cast their votes in favour of accession to Pakistan. A referendum was also held in five neighbouring territories. Out of 31,434 votes cast in these areas, only 39 were for accession to Pakistan. 
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