BHUBANESWAR: On a day, when the historic decision to scrap Article 370 and bifurcate Jammu and Kashmir was given shape to in the Lok Sabha, the contribution of former Odisha Chief Minister, the legendary Biju Patnaik to the State’s accession to India was fondly remembered by the members.
Recalling the gallantry of former Odisha Chief Minister Biju Patnaik which saved Jammu and Kashmir from falling into the hands of Pakistan supported tribal invaders, a few months after Independence, BJD MP Pinaki Mishra on Tuesday demanded that Bharat Ratna should be conferred on him.
Participating in the debate on Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill, 2019, Mishra said, the BJD in the past had demanded Bharat Ratna for the late Chief Minister which did not materialise.
“I hope the present Government would rectify the error and confer the honour on Biju Babu,” he said.
The BJD MP recalled the history of the State during that turbulent period soon after Independence and the contribution of the legendary leader.
He said when the entire country is describing the scrapping of Article 370 as a historic event and rebirth of Jammu and Kashmir, it is important for the new generation to look back and take note of an important contribution in Kashmir accession to India.
Mishra said that not many know that the legendary leader was a skilled pilot and played a significant role in saving Kashmir from the intruders. When Pakistani invaders attacked Kashmir in 1947, killing and looting people on the way, the instrument of accession was signed by Maharaja Hari Singh. As the situation was slowly getting out of control, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru sought the help of Biju Babu.
“On the dawn of 27 October 1947, he landed the first plane 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 detected Pakistani presence there but Biju Babu acted very skilfully and with great bravery accomplished the work assigned to him,” he added.
Mishra said Biju Babu’s contribution at that time was very vital. “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.