Monday, August 12, 2019

Hakimpet airport: Fuelling point for war planes during World War II

Secunderabad: During the police action in 1948 that led to the merger of the princely Hyderabad state with the Indian Union, Secunderabad played a major role. Hakimpet airport and Bollaram were hotspots during and before the police action. Even after the merger of Hyderabad, Hakimpet airport was a beehive of activity.

The Nizam VII, Mir Osman Ali Khan, had met Union home minister Sardar Patel at Hakimpet airport in 1949, a few months after the police action. It was at Bollaram that the office of the agent-general of India, KM Munshi, was set up. Bollaram, today, hosts the President during his annual southern sojourn.
Long before the police action, Hakimpet airport served as a fuelling point for war planes during the Second World War. Today, Hakimpet is one of the three Indian Air Force (IAF) stations in Hyderabad, the other two being Begumpet and Dindigul.

Archival records show that when arms dealer Sidney Cotton parked his aircraft at Hakimpet airport to offload arms, many people gathered at the airstrip and threw stones at the plane. This forced Cotton to shift his base to Bidar, which was then part of Hyderabad state. In his last sortie to Hyderabad at 3am on September 16, 1948, Cotton took off from Hakimpet even as the Indian army was marching towards Bollaram, where General Syed Ahmad El-Edroos, army general of Hyderabad state, later, surrendered his forces. Nizam’s eldest son Azam Jah was also present.

Cotton took off mistaking that Razakar leader Khasim Razvi had boarded the plane. Archival records reveal how Razvi, who had made up his mind to leave Hyderabad for Karachi, unsuccessfully ran on the runway after the plane to board it.
11/08/19 Syed Akbar/Times of India
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