This article deals with slaughter of about 2.5 million Hindus in East Pakistan in 1971. This article refers to information provided by Dept. of Planning of Government of Bangladesh, Encyclopedia Britannica, Senator Edward Kennedy’s report to the U.S.Senate Judiciary Committee, Newsweek, New York Times,etc. This information and elementary math are used to show that indeed millions of Hindus were killed in East Pakistan in 1971.
It is well known that the 1971 army repression in Bangladesh (former East Pakistan) resulted in an influx of 10 million refugees into Bharat. Most world renowned relief and news agencies put the number of dead at 3 million. However the fact that is glossed over in these statistics is that the entire Hindu population of East Pakistan was the primary target of Pakistani army during the 9 months of repression in 1971.
Using the population statistics from Bangladesh Government and US Government publications, this article proves that 80 percent of the refugees from Bangladesh were Hindus and that 80 percent of the 3 million killed were Hindus. Thus, it was a Hindu refugee problem and it was a Hindu genocide that took place in East Pakistan in 1971.
10 References – Encyclopedia Britannica, Bangladesh Government – Ministry of Planning (for statistics), Newsweek, New York Times, Senator Edward Kennedy’s report to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee.
In the December 1970 general election in Pakistan, Awami League won 167 of 169 seats and over 80 % of popular votes in East Pakistan. Numerically Awami League had an absolute majority of seats in the Pakistan National Assembly (167 of the total 313 seats)(1). Historically, East Pakistan was allocated only 36 % of the total resources and East Pakistanis occupied only 20 % of the positions in the federal government in the United Pakistan (2).
The Pakistani government’s apathy towards East Pakistan after a terrible cyclone in November 1970 in which over 250,000 people died, had alienated East Pakistani people. The solid outcome of the 1970 elections for Awami League created an alternative power center for an already alienated people.
The differences between the East and West Pakistani politicians snowballed into a major international crisis. On March 25, 1971, Pakistani army on President Yahya Khan’s orders initiated a campaign of terror which was to last till its final surrender to the Bharatiya army on December 17, 1971.
This terror campaign by Pak army resulted in 10 million Bangladeshi refugees crossing over to Bharat (per Senator Edward Kennedy’s report to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee (3)) and 3 million killed (4,5) based on reports from most relief agencies and official Bangladesh government estimate.
However, the religious mix of both the refugees and the dead is nowhere emphasized anywhere. This significant information has particularly been absent in the reports from Bharatiya News Media. This selective news dissemination has kept a more sinister truth of Hindu genocide in East Pakistan hidden from the world in general and Bharatiyas in particular.
HINDUS IN EAST PAKISTAN WERE SPECIAL TARGET OF PAK ARMY
In the summary of his report dated November 1, 1971 Senator Edward Kennedy writes (6):
‘Field reports to the U.S. Government, countless eye-witness journalistic accounts, reports of International agencies such as World Bank and additional information available to the subcommittee document the reign of terror which grips East Bengal (East Pakistan). Hardest hit have been members of the Hindu community who have been robbed of their lands and shops, systematically slaughtered, and in some places, pained with yellow patches marked “H”.
All of this has been officially sanctioned, ordered and implemented under martial law from Islamabad. ..’ (emphasis added by author of this article).
Sydney Schanberg, pulitzer prize winning journalist (of ‘Killing Fields’) was New York Times correspondent in Dhaka in 1971 at the time of army repression and during the 1971 Bangladesh war. In his syndicated column ‘The Pakistani Slaughter That Nixon Ignored’ Mr.Schanberg writes:
“I covered the war and witnessed first the population’s joyous welcome of the Bharatiya soldiers as liberators .. Later I toured the country by road to see the Pakistani legacy firsthand. In town after town there was an execution area where people had been killed by bayonet, bullet and bludgeon. In some towns, executions were held on a daily basis.”
This was a month after the war’s end (i.e. January 1972), … human bones were still scattered along many roadsides. Blood stained clothing and tufts of human hair clung to the brush at these killing grounds. Children too young to understand were playing grotesque games with skulls. Other reminders were the yellow “H”s the pakistanis had painted on the homes of Hindus, particular targets of the Muslim army.” (7) (emphasis added by the author of this article).
Thus, two independent observations one dated prior to November 1, 1971 and other in January 1972 confirm that Hindu houses in East Pakistan were marked with yellow “H”s and that Hindus were particular targets of the Pakistani army. The situation thus bears an uncanny resemblance to the predicament of Jews targeted by Nazis from 1939 to 1944, with similar outcome.
MOST OF THE REFUGEES FROM BANGLADESH WERE HINDUS
Senator Edward Kennedy in his report gives following details about the the refugees from Bangladesh in 1971. As of October 25, 1971, 9.54 million refugees from East Pakistan had crossed over to Bharat. The average influx as of October 1971 was 10,645 refugees a day (3). Hence, the total refugee population at the start of Bangladesh war on December 3, 1971 was about 10 million (5).
Sen. Kennedy further mentions that Government of Bharat had set up separate refugee camps for Hindus and Muslims where possible, i.e. refugee camps of Hindus were located in Hindu majority areas and similarly Muslim camps were located in Muslim majority areas. The communal representation of refugees was 80 percent Hindu, 15 percent Muslim and 5 percent Christian and other (8). This means that 8 million of the 10 million refugees were Hindu (8).
Other fact that corroborates this is that when Sen. Kennedy had asked several Chief Relief officers in charge of refugee camps what was needed most urgently, their reply was “crematoriums”.
THE MISSING 2 .5 MILLION HINDUS
Several agencies indicate that the brutal Pakistani army repression killed 3 million Bengalis. This estimate is even given by the Government of Bangladesh (5). However no religious mix of the dead is easily available.
Let us therefore look at the population demographics for Bangladesh which is given in Table I.
Since Hindus and Muslims in Bangladesh have similar socio- economic and educational backgrounds, the birth and death rates for these two groups must be very similar. This means that the Hindu population must grow at the same pace as the total population growth rate. Hence, any unusual drop must be accounted for by influx of Hindu refugees and mortality rate from non natural causes. The expected Hindu population, the emigration to Bharat from E. Pakistan and actual populations are listed in Table II.
Thus, if 1947 partition had not resulted, the Hindu population of East Pakistan area should by 1961 have increased proportionally from 11.76 millions in 1941, to 14.24 millions (11.76 * 50.84 / 42 = 14.24). The official Indian Government records indicate that between 1947 and 1958, 4.12 million (Hindu) refugees crossed into India from East Bengal(3). This means the Hindu population in East Pakistan in 1961 should have been 10.12 million (14.24 – 4.12) compared to the actual 9.41 million. The missing 0.7 million Hindu population can be accounted by several hundred thousands killed in the riots in 1947 on the Bengal border, plus the refugee influx from 1958 to 1961. 1961.
Let us now look at Hindu population in East pakistan from 1961 to 1974. With proportional increase the Hindu population of 9.41 million in 1961 should have increased to 13.23 million ( 9.41 * 71.48 / 50.84 = 13.23 ) by 1974. However the actual Hindu population as per Bangladesh Census data for 1974 was 9.65 million. Of the 3.58 million shortfall only 1.11 million can be accounted for since Government of Bharat’s record indicate that 1.11 million (Hindu) refugees crossed into Bharat between 1964 and 1970 (3) i.e.PRIOR to the 1971 crisis.
Thus, 2.47 million (13.23 – 9.65 – 1.11 = 2.47) Hindus from East Pakistan are unaccounted for from the 1971 Pak army repression. Other proof for 2.4 million Hindus killed in East Pakistan.
Since the 80 percent of the refugees in 1971 were Hindus, a similar proportion of the dead are likely to be Hindus also. The official Bangladesh government estimate puts the number of Bengalis killed at 3 million. 80 percent of 3 million put the number of Hindus killed at 2.4 million which is close to the number of Hindus missing calculated comes above.
SUMMARY & CONCLUSIONS
1. Independent accounts indicate that Hindus from East Pakistan were special target during the 1971 army repression. Hindu houses were marked with yellow “H”s, HINDU HOUSES WERE PAINTED WITH YELLOW “H”s, they were robbed of their lands and shops, and systematically slaughtered.
2. 80 percent of the refugees to Bharat in 1971 were Hindus, thus, it was a Hindu refugee problem.
3. Nearly 2.5 million Hindus were killed during the 9 months army repression of East Pakistan in 1971. Thus, it was a Hindu slaughter in 1971.
4. All the above bear an uncanny resemblance to the persecution and holocaust of Jews by the Nazis.
5. Bharatiya government controlled ‘Secular’ media deliberately hid the sinister truth of Hindu genocide in East Pakistan.
6. In any internal political problem of an Islamic country, Hindus (or minorities of other religions) become the scapegoats and will be liquidated at the first chance the Islamic Government gets.
7. We have learnt nothing from the history and with the ‘Secular’ media we will learn nothing.
COMMENTS & FUTURE WORK
This is just the tip of the iceberg. The ethnic cleansing of Hindus in Bangladesh did not end in 1971. Since 1974 to 1981 the Hindu population as a percent of total Bangladeshi population decreased from 13.5 % to 12.2 %. This slide has continued over the last decade. Same is true about Hindus in Pakistan and in Kashmir valley.
There is a genuine need for systematic record keeping and documentation of the history of Hindu genocides & Hindu ethnic cleansing, so that we don’t repeat it again (and again and again..) There is also a need to build a memorial of this Hindu holocaust similar to the Jewish Holocaust memorial in Washington DC.
This topic is extensively dealt in a book ‘Genocide in East Pakistan/ Bangladesh’ by S.K.Bhattacharya. However, the present author has verified the findings of S.K. Bhattacharya based on completely independent sources. For detailed descriptions and news reports of 1971, reader should refer to the original book.
1. Bangladesh: The Birth Of A Nation, A hand book of Background information and Documentary Sources Compiled by Univ. of Chicago Group of Scholars, by M.Nicholas, P.Oldensburg, Ed.W.Morehouse, M.Seshachalam & Co., India, 1972, p.7
2. Same as reference 1, p.73
3. Crisis in South Asia – A report by Senator Edward Kennedy to the Subcommittee investigating the Problem of Refugees and Their Settlement, Submitted to U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, November 1, 1971, U.S. Govt. Press, pp.6-7.
4. Newsweek, August 1, 1994, p.37
5. Same as reference 1, pp.44-45
6. Same as reference 3, p.66
7. The Pakistani Slaughter That Nixon Ignored, Syndicated Column by Sydney Schanberg, New York Times, May 3, 1994.
8. Same as reference 3, p. 19
9. Bangladesh A Country Study, Ed. J.Heitzman & R.L.Worden, 2nd Ed, Federal Research Division, Library of Congress, Publisher U.S. Army, 1989, pp.250,255
10. Encyclopedia Britannica, 15 th Ed, Micropedia, Vol.1, p.789 Desh.
-By Shrinandan Vyas
(This article was published on home.iitk.ac.in and has been reproduced here with minor change- references to ‘India’ have been substituted with ‘Bharat’)
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