At the start of 1964, Nehru was not unusually perturbed by any problem. Only the crisis in Kashmir, which had been caused by the disappearance, on 27 December 1963, from a shrine in Shrinagar, of a strand of hair believed to be of the Prophet Mohammad caused him real concern. This holy relic, so the tradition went, had been brought to India from Medina in the seventeenth century and, in due course, found its habitat in Kashmir. Its sudden disappearance infuriated the Muslim people of Kashmir, and politically interested parties directed their fury against the Government of Kashmir. Also, Pakistan, which according to the Indian intelligence officers had had a hand in arranging the theft of the holy relic, now exploited the situation by accusing the Government of India of having engineered the theft to humiliate the Muslims of the Kashmir valley.1 Law and order almost collapsed, and a demand for the release of Sheikh Abdullah grew among the people of Kashmir. Nehru became concerned about the recovery of the holy relic; he was disappointed that the people of Kashmir could, in the heat of the moment, attack his government, forgetting all it had done for them over the past fifteen years. He thought that a new policy towards Kashmir was necessary.
KeywordsPrime Minister Indian People Kashmir Valley Congress Party Sudden Disappearance
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