The decision to divide India on religious grounds into two political entities and incompetent handling of the migration led to one of the largest ethnic cleansings in the world history.
On 2nd March 1947, the collapse of Khizr Hayat Tiwana government led to large scale protests which rapidly escalatated into communal riots, starting from Lahore and then spreading to Rawalpindi, Attock and Multan with the violence in Rawalpindi being the worst. The attacks mainly targeted non-Muslim property and people. Murree Hills resort is burnt, more than 50,000 people took shelter in the camps of Wah Attock and Kala Rawalpindi. By mid March, it is estimated that around 5000 Hindus and Sikhs were killed and armoured trucks and tanks had to be brought to handle the situation. In this situation of uncertainty, large number of these victims escaped into Patiala and Jammu along with other Hindu/Sikh majority areas, spreading tales of horror.
This led to plans of retribution where Muslims were in a minority, with all Punjab and J&K becoming violent. J&K had an added variable – the king attempting to gain independence. In this context, the government started removing Muslims and others whose loyalty was in question from military and other government positions. In Jammu city, the Muslim military were disarmed and the Jammu cantonment head Khuda Baksh was replaced by a Hindu Dogra officer.
Popular anger targeted Poonch which led to the Muslim exodus towards Rawalpindi, Jhelum, Gujrat and Sialkot. This escalated the chain of violence with massacres in both Hindu and Muslim areas becoming a regular happening. At this juncture, Pakistani raiders invaded Kashmir, selectively killing Hindus all over in an attempt to annex it to Pakistan which added fuel to the fire and gave the issue a clearly religious dimension. Unwaton brutality against the Hindus by these raiders led to another round of mass exodus of Hindus. On the other side were the communal disturbances in Punjab. More than 2.5 lakh Hindus and Sikhs entered J&K, with Jammu itself holding 65000 refugees.
This led to a general escalation in Jammu with Muslim localities like Ustad da Mohalla, Pthanan da Mohalla, Khalka Mohalla, Mohalla Ram Nagar, Raipur specifically targeted. It is alleged that the Dogra government allowed a free run for it’s forces and issued weapons, not just to the people in Jammu, but for the people of adjoining areas in Punjab. There were also reports that the Maharaja of Patiala was not only supplying weapons, but also a Sikh Brigade of Patiala State troops were also operating in Jammu and Kashmir. A refugee convoy sent by Pakistani Government containing people removed from Jammu was attacked at Satwari and most of the passengers were killed. About 123 villages were completely depopulated. While Muslims comprised 37 per cent of the total population in 1941, in the year 1961, it was only 10 per cent, with total deaths amounting to around 237000.