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Letters to the Editor

Published : Sep 07, 2012 00:00 IST

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Letters of Sir Chimanlal H. Setalvad addressed to the Editor, The Times of India, October 3 and November 3, 1947.

Many of those who are enthusing over the activities of the so-called Provisional Government of Junagadh do not seem to realise the dangerous consequences that are likely to follow from what is happening. The Junagadh Government has acted unwisely in acceding to Pakistan, ignoring geographical considerations and the wishes of its subjects, but that affords no justification for what is being done.

The Provisional Government was formed and functioned for some days in Bombay with the avowed object of overthrowing by force the established Government in Junagadh. The Government of Bombay was, I venture to say, bound not to allow the Provisional Government to start its hostile activities against a State which is at peace with the Government of Bombay and with the Government of India, who are at peace with Pakistan to which Junagadh had acceded. Their permitting this to be done amounts to an unfriendly and hostile act against Junagadh and Pakistan.

The Government of India should not have allowed passage over its railways to a body proceeding to Rajkot with the proclaimed object of raising a volunteer army to overthrow the establishment of Junagadh.

The Government of Rajkot should not have given asylum to a body that was raising an army to overthrow the Junagadh Government.

It is most surprising that the Government of Rajkot should have tolerated the seizure by force of Junagadh State property within its territory.

Legally and constitutionally, the Governments of Bombay and India and those of the Kathiawar States are bound to stop and prohibit all activities within their territories of the Provisional Government. The consequences of their inaction would be very serious.

The Times of India, October 3, 1947.* * *

The appeal made by you in your leader this morning for reason and common sense is very opportune. Recent unfortunate events have so frayed the nerves of those in the Governments of the two Dominions that indulgence in charges and counter-charges and attributing motives has become the order of the day and has widened the gulf between the two Dominions.

It is hoped for the welfare of the whole country that reason and common sense will take the place of the present temper on both sides. Pandit Nehru in his broadcast has rightly asked the Pakistan Government how and why the invaders of Kashmir came across the Frontier Province or West Punjab, and how they came to be fully armed. He charges the Pakistan Government with violation of international law and an unfriendly act towards India. He alleges that the Pakistan Government was either too weak to prevent the invaders of Kashmir from marching across its territory or that it was willing that this should happen.

Exactly the same poser can be put to the Indian Dominion with regard to Junagadh. The so-called `Provisional Government' of Junagadh was openly formed in Bombay, and for days it proclaimed its intention of marching to Junagadh to overthrow the Junagadh Government as by law established. The leaders of that `Provisional Government' have openly raised a volunteer army and have captured several villages in Junagadh territory. Junagadh House in Rajkot was forcibly seized by the `Provisional Government', and Rajkot State, which has acceded to India, and the Indian Government themselves have remained passive spectators of all unfriendly and hostile acts against a State which is, together with the Dominion to which it has acceded, at peace with India.

Undoubtedly, Junagadh's action in acceding to Pakistan is unwise from all points of view and deserves condemnation, but that cannot justify the action that has been taken against it. The Indian Dominion may well be asked the self-same questions that Pandit Nehru has put to Pakistan. Was the Government of India too weak to prevent the armies of the `Provisional Government' from invading Junagadh territory, or was it willing that this should happen.

The Times of India, November 3, 1947.

(This story was published in the print edition of Frontline magazine dated Sep 07, 2012.)

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