The Kanpur session ended with a resolve: to launch a countrywide movement for the full integration of J&K State into the Union.
The movement was preceded by Dr. Mookerjee’s correspondence with Prime Minister Pandit Nehru on this issue of J&K’s full integration.
This was followed up by Dr. Syama Prasad undertaking a countrywide tour on this issue. In this tour he was accompanied by Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
I was in Kota, Rajasthan, those days.
I can never forget meeting these two great stalwarts at the Kota Railway Station, when the two were passing through Kota Junction.
The J&K Government had decreed that any visitor to the State would be permitted entry only if he secured a permit from the State Government. Dr. Mookerjee felt that this order of the State Government was violative of the Indian Constitution. So he decided that he himself would lead from the front the movement he had given a call for, by defying the entry-permit order.
Dr. Mookerjee left Delhi for his Kashmir destination on May 8, 1953 by a passenger train carrying him and his entourage into Punjab. Throughout Punjab, it was a sea of humanity that accosted him everywhere.
His last stop was at the border check-post at Madhopur on the river Ravi, one of the great five rivers of Punjab, marking the boundary between Punjab and J&K. The day of his entry into this State was May 10, 1953. There was a road bridge across the Ravi. The boundary between the two states was supposed to be at the mid point of this Madhopur bridge.
When the jeep carrying Dr. Mookerjee reached the centre-point of the bridge they found a posse of J&K Police blocking the road. The Superintendent of Police, Kathua (J&K State) handed Dr. Mookerjee an order signed by the Chief Secretary of the State banning Dr. Mookerjee’s entry into the State. “But I am determined to go into the State”, Dr. Mookerjee declared.
Thereupon the police officer took out an order of arrest under the Public Safety Act, and took Dr. Mookerjee into custody. Vaidya Guru Dutt and Tekchand were two colleagues in the group who had been assigned the duty of accompanying Dr. Mookerjee when he was arrested. These two also courted arrest.
Dr. Mookerjee then spoke to Atalji and asked him to go back and convey to the people of the country that Dr. Mookerjee had defied the prohibitory orders, and entered Jammu and Kashmir without a permit, though as a prisoner.
The place at which Dr. Syama Prasad was incarcerated was a small house near Nishat Bag far away from Srinagar City. This house was converted into a sub-jail.
On June 23, 1953, the whole country was shocked to learn that after a brief illness at his place of detention, Dr. Mookerjee was shifted to the State Hospital about ten miles away, where he had breathed his last.
I was at Jaipur that day. I vividly remember how in the early hours of June 24 morning, about 4.30 a.m., I was woken up from sleep by the loud wailing sounds of someone outside our party office at Chaura Rasta (he turned out to be a local newsman), who kept shouting, while weeping: “Advaniji, they have killed Dr. Mookerjee”!
Tathagata Roy is one of our prominent activists of West Bengal. He has been at one point of time the President of our State unit there. He has lately written “a complete biography” of Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee. It is to be released next month. We in the BJP owe our position in India’s politics to the sacrifices and exertions of thousands who have preceded us, and above all to the vision and martyrdom of Dr. Mookerjee.
We had known our great leader closely only during the closing years of his life. Tathagata has done a signal service to history and to the nationalist cause we are pursuing in politics by doing all the research necessary and preparing this volume informing readers about the life of this great patriot right from his birth. All kudos to Tathagata Roy.
Text of the letter written to Prime Minister Nehru by Smt. Jogmaya Debi, mother of Dr. S. P. Mookerjee on 04 July, 1953