Puri MP Pinaki Mishra on Tuesday demanded Bharat Ratna for Biju Patnaik. He recalled the gallantry of former Odisha Chief Minister late Biju Patnaik in saving Srinagar and Kashmir from falling in hands of Pakistani invaders in 1947. Misra said that the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru had sought help from Biju Patnaik, who flew multiple sorties and took several batches of soldiers to Srinagar on October 27, 1947. The BJD MP urged the Central Government to honor Biju Patnaik with the Bharat Ratna award.
“In the past, we had urged the Government to recognize the tremendous qualities of Biju Babu by giving him Bharat Ratna. Unfortunately, it has not happened,” he said. He drew the attention of Defence Minister and other ministers present in the Lok Sabha.
At a time when India is rejoicing the historic event of abolition of Article 370 that accorded a special status to Jammu & Kashmir state for nearly seven decades and the 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.
Not many know that Biju Patnaik, former chief minister of Odisha, BhumiPutra of Indonesia and a highly skilled pilot of that time had played a significant role in saving the land of Kashmir. He said let us know how that man came out as a savior of Srinagar.
“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. This is vital 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.