Biju Janata Dal lawmaker Pinaki Mishra on Tuesday recalled the contribution of former Odisha chief minister Biju Patnaik in saving Srinagar and Kashmir from falling in hands of Pakistani invaders.
Mr Misra said that Mr Patnaik was the one who flew the plane took several batches of soldiers to Srinagar on the dawn of October 27, 1947.
Addressing the Lok Sabha on the Jammu and Kashmir issue, the BJD leader said not many know that Mr Patnaik, an ultra skilled pilot, had played a significant role in saving the land of Kashmir. "He came out as a saviour of Srinagar," the lawmaker said.
He said when Pakistan attacked Kashmir in 1948, then Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru had sought help from the tallest leader of Odisha - Biju Patnaik.
"When in 1948, Pakistanis 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 Prime Minister Nehru asked Biju Patnaik for help," he said.
"On the dawn of October 27, 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," he said.
"Jawahar Lal Nehru had given very clear instructions to not land his DC-3 if he had detected Pakistani presence there but Biju Babu acted very skillfully and with great bravery accomplished the work assigned to him," he added.
The BJD leader stressed that 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 and Kashmir.
Mr Mishra said that a time when India is rejoicing the abolition of Article 370 and terming it as a historic event and as re-birth of 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.
"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 the daredevil act of "Biju Babu" is remembered fondly on this memorable day for Kashmir.
The lawmaker from Puri also stressed that in the past BJD has asked the government to honour Biju Patnaik with the Bharat Ratna but that couldn't happen and added that he hopes the government would rectify the error in near future.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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