Bhubaneswar: Biju Janata Dal (BJD) MP from Puri, Pinaki Mishra on Tuesday recalled the contribution of Odisha’s former Chief Minister late Biju Patnaik in saving Srinagar and Kashmir from Pakistani invaders.
“At this time when India is rejoicing the abolition of article 370 and terming it as a historic event and as re-birth of a new Jammu and Kashmir, it is important for the new generations to turn back the pages of history and take note of an important contribution in Kashmir’s accession to India,” Mishra said in the Lok Sabha.
“Not many know that Biju Patnaik, former chief minister of Odisha, BhumiPutra of Indonesia and an ultra skilled pilot of that time had played a significant role in saving the land of Kashmir,” he pointed out.
Mishra said, “When in 1948, Pakistani attackers attacked Kashmir, killing and looting people on the way, an Instrument of Accession was signed by the last King of Kashmir, Maharaja Hari Singh. But the situation was slowly getting out of control. The then PM Nehru asked Biju Patnaik for help.”
“On the dawn of 27 October 1947, he landed at the Srinagar airport bringing 17 soldiers of Sikh regiment along with him. He flew at a very low level to look around whether the enemy had already taken over the airport or not. Nehru had given very clear instructions to not land his DC-3 if he had detected Pakistani presence there but Biju Babu acted very skilfully and with great bravery accomplished the work assigned to him,” he added.
The BJD MP said this is a very vital fact in India’s Kashmir history not told by many people because if we had lost Srinagar in 1947 Kashmir War we would have lost the entire territory of Jammu & Kashmir.
“With most of the roads blocked by the invading forces, securing the Srinagar airport and sending troops through it was the deciding factor in India’s takeover of Kashmir,” he said, adding that today that daredevil act of Biju Babu is remembered fondly on this memorable day of Kashmir.
Mishra said the BJD in the past had demanded Bharat Ratna for the late Odisha CM but that could not happen. He hoped that the present government would rectify the error and confer the honour on Biju Babu.