Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Bangladesh, Post Independence (contd-2)

Following Suhrawardy's death in 1963, Mujib came to the top position of Awami League, the largest political Party in Pakistan.Ther party had dropped the word "Muslim" to show shift towards secularism and a broader appeal to non-muslim communities. Mujib was one of the key leaders to rally opposition to President Ayub Khan's Basic Democracy, the martial law and the one unit schemewhich centralised powers and and merged the provinces.Working with other political parties, he supported opposition candidate Fatima Jinnah against Ayub in the election of 1964. Mujib was arrested two weeks before the election, charged with sedition and jailed for one year.

In these years there was rising discontent in east Pakistan over the atrcities committed by the military against Bengalis and the neglect of the issues and needs of the East Pakistan by the ruling regime. Despite forming a majority of the population , the Bengalis were poorly represented in Pakistan's civil sevices, police and military. There also conflict of the allocation of revenues and taxation.Unrest over continuing denial of democrcy spread across Pakistan and Mujib intensified hisopposition to the disbandment of provinces . In 1966, Mujib proclaimed a 6-pt plan titled our charter of survival at a national conference of opposition poltical parties at Lahore, in which he demanded self-govrnmentand cosiderable political, economic, and defence autonomy for East Pakistan federation with a week central Govt.Mujib's points catalysed public support ac ross East Pakistan, launching what some historians have termed the 6-pt movement - recognized as the definite gambit for autonomy and rights of Bengalis in Pakistan.

Mujib was arrested along with 34 Bengali Military officers and was put in the charge of Agartala Conspiracy Case. Mujib then extended his 6-pt plan to 11-pt one.

Many of his supporters called him as "Bangabandhu".

Banglaesh, Post Independence (contd-1)

Mujib left Muslim League and launched his political carrer in Awami Muslim League, the predecessor of the Awami League, with Suhrawardy and Maulana Bhasani.He was elected Jt. Secretary of its East Pakistan Unit in 1949.
Mujib and Suhrawardy,1949
While Suhrawardy was engaged in forming a larger coalition of East Pakistani and Socialist Parties Mujib tried to organise the grassroots organisation.
In 1951 he began organising protests and rallies in response to the killings of students by police on peaceful picketing for Bengali as their state language.In 1953 he was made the Party's General Secretary and elected to the East Bengal Legislative Assembly on a United front coalition ticket in 1954.Serving Briefly as a Minister for agriculture , he was arrested for organising a protest for dismissing United Front Govt. by the centre.He was elected to the second Cosntituent Assembly of Pakistan and served for 1955to 1958. In a speech delivered in the assembly on the proposed "one unit" plan , Mujib reiterated that the Bengali people's ethnic identity be respected and the matter might be decided in a popular verdict.
Sheikh Mujibur,1950
In 1956 Mujib entered a second coalition minister of Industries, Commerce, labour, anti-corruptionand village aid but he resigned in 1957to work full time for the Party Organisation.
When Gen. Ayub Khan suspended the constitution and imposed martial law in 1958, Mujib was arrested and imprisoned till 1961. After release he started a political underground organisation Swadhin Bangla Biplabi Parishad to oppose the regime of Ayub and to work for more political power for Bengalis and independence of East Pakistan. But again he was arrested in 1962.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Bangladesh, Post Independence

Mujib rose in East Pakistan as a student leader in Awami league and was a charismatic and forceful orator. He was an advocate of socialism and became popular for his leadership against the ethnic and institutional discrimination of Bengalis. He demanded increased provincial autonony , and became a fierce opponoents of the Military rule of Ayub Khan. At the heightening of sectional tensions , Mujib outlined a 6-point autonomy plan, which was seen as separatism in West Pakistan . He was tied in 1968 for allegedly conspiring with the Indian Govt. But was not found guilty. Despite leading his party to a major victory in 1970 elections, Mujib was not allowed to form the Government.
After talks broke down with President Yahya Khan and West Pakistani Politician Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Mujib announced the declaration of independenc on 26 march, 1971. Susequently he was arrested and tried by Rahimuddin Khan in a military courtduring his nine month detention. An all out war with Indian aid Bangladesh became free and after his release Mujib assumed the office as a Provisional President and later Prime Minister.
A new constitution was adopted proclaiming socialism and a
secular democraacy.
Mujib, a student leader in 1949
Rahman was born in Tungipara, a village in Gopalganj district, in the Province of BengalHis father Sheikh Lutfar Rahman was a serestadar (record keeper) in Gopalganj civil court. He was the third child in a family of four daughters and two sons.
In 1929 , he was admitted in class III at Gopalganj Public School, and two years later, class IV at Madaripur Islamia High School. However he was withdrawn from school in 1934 to undergo eye-surgery, and return to school after four years. At the age 18 Mujib married Begum Fazilatnnesa who gave birth of two daughters Sheikh Hsina and Sheikh Rehana- and three sons - Sheikh Kamal,Sheikh Jamal and Sheikh Russel.
Mujib became politically active when he joined the All India Muslim students Federation in 1940. He enrolled at the Islamia College (now Maulana Azad College), a well respected College affiliated to the University of Calcutta to study law and entered students Politics there. He joined the Bengal Muslim League in 1943 and became close to H.S.Suhrawardy, a leading Muslim leader.
During this period Mujib worked actively for the League's cause of a separate Muslim state of Pakistan and in 1946 he was elected general Secretary of the Islamia College Students Union. After obtaining his degree in 1947, Mujib was one of the Muslim Politician working under Suhrawardy during the cmmunalviolence that broke out at Calcutta, in 1946 just before the paetition of India.
On his return to East Bengal, he enrolled in the Unversity of Dhaka to study law and founded the East Pakistan Muslim Students' League and became one of the most prominent student political leader. During this time Mujib developed an affinity to Socialism as the ideal to solution of mass poverty, unemployment, poor living conditions. On Jan 26, 1949, the Government declared that Urdu would be the state language of Pakistan. Though he was in Jail , Mujib encouraged fellow activist group to launch protest, strikes and undertook a hunger strike for 13 days. Mujib led the Muslimtudents in all types of agitation and he was arrested again in 1949.

Bangladesh, Worst Ethnic Cleansing

There were three types of Hindu Exodus in India from East bengal/East Pakistan/Bangladesh.
1. Gentle push method, 2. violent riots, 3. Enemy Proprty act, 1965,which was in fact an evolution of different earlier acts to grab the properties of the Hindus.
Abul Barkat, Professor of Economics in Dhaka University, has done seminal work on this subject. Even after the Pakistan regime , Vested Property Act is still used to grab Hindu Property . An interesting example is given by Prof. Barkat in the preface of his book:
The tales of prominent persons who have been affected by the VPA are well known. For example; Mr. Dhirendranath Dutta, the veteran politician from Comilla, freedom fighter against the Brirish Raj, and a member of the then Constituent Assembly, raised the first voice against the imposition of Urdu as the only state language of pakistan and Shaheed Dhirendranath Dutta was brutally killed along with his son Dilip Dutta by Pakistani Army in 1971 in Comilla cantonment.He donated his properties for cause of Education keeping only a small portion which was taken away. Masterda Surya Sen, Mr. AmalSen, Barin Majumdar, a classical artist, are also the important names, among the victims.
Home Minister Indrajit Gupta in reply to question in Parliammenton 6th May, 1990, stated that the number of illegal immigrants in India was about one crore. So by 1990, a figure of 10 million comes into discussion. The reaction of Priyaranjan Dasmunshi, an important congress leader from West Bengal said in Parliament;
I was born in Bangladesh... One night I came out and found that there was trouble. My father, mother and sister were staying in the housee and the house with all the property was lit.The next day morning I found that the man with the help of whom we managedto escape, was dead.
On july 14, 2004, in reply to a question in Parliament Minister of state for Home Affairs Sri Prakash Jaiswal informed that 1 crore 20 lakhs 53 thousand and 950 illegal Bangladeshi are in the country.Record shows the number of bangladeshi's in different states in India;
State***************************Estimated Number
Andaman -Nicobar********3000

Bangladesh, Population Explosion,(contd-1)

It is noteworthy that, of the ten million Hindu refugees leaving East Pakistan for India in course of the 1971 liberation struggle, a large number didnot return to Bangladesh. Moreover of those who returned , a big number, failing to recover movable/immovable properties looted / misappropriated during 1971, came back to India in one or two years. These refugees have not been taken account by the bangladesh census reports. Their number soars above 3 million.
After the successful conclusion of the Bangladesh liberation war in 1971, only 2,00,000 out of 1 million standard non-Bengalis (usually called Biharis) in Bangladesh, could obtain help from International Red cross Society in order to move over to Pakistan. The Govt. of Pakistan trumped up a vriety of excuses to avoid the repatration of the other 8,00,000 Biharis, who were compelled to stay on in Bangladesh. As of-late 1994-i.e., after the lapse of 23 years since 1971 - only 2,50,000 Biharis were found to be living amid sub-human condition at 66 camps in Bangladesh. Actually, in terms of a natural population increase the 8,00,000 Biharis should have swelled to more than 1,3 million by 1994.To the question of where have the more than 1 million Biharis vanished from bangladesh since 1971,the obvious answer is , they have surreptitiously moved into their ancestral places in India (notably in Bihar), and settled down . In one of his election utterances , Laloo Prasad Yadav , the chief Minister of Bihar,has confessed to granting ration cards and voting rights to 1,00,000 Biharis from Bangladesh. It may be added that some Govts have loudly complained about infiltration of Pakistanis and bangladeshis into such important citiess like Bombay and Delhi.
It is therefore pertinent to affirm that 6 million Hindus have left Bangladesh for India during 1971-1991., and not less than 6 million Bangladeshi Musalmans have infiltrated in India during 1971-1991.To conclude at least 13-14 million migrants/infiltrators have crossed over from Bangladesh to India during 1971-1991.
Table 1,3
West Bengal*Total population 5,45,80,647 (1981)* 6,80,77,965 (1991)
***************Hindu*********4,20.07,159 ,,, *****5,08,50,000
******************************76.96 %**************74.69 %
************net Increase**********************88,42,841 (21.05 %)
******************************* 21.51**************23.57
Net increase*****************43,06, 791 (36.67)

Bangladesh, Population Explosion

Population Explosion in West Bengal: A survey
(Source: A study by South Asia Research Society, Calcutta)
On account of the Partition of the Indian Subcontinent in 1947, refugees moved from Pakiswtan, without much interruption, to various parts of India
specially to West Bengal till 1971, when political boundaries in South Asia were redrawn.nEven after the emergence of Bangladesh as an Independent Country in 1971, however, the march of refugees to WestBengal appeared to be ceaseless. Neverhless, there is one great difference in the patterns of migration before and after 1971. In the days of Pakistan, nearly all refugees coming to West Bengal were members of the minority communities in East Bengal, viz, Budhists,Christians and Hindus. In the Bangladesh era , however, in addition to the forced migration of members of the minority community (overwhelming majority being Hindus) to West Bengal, there had been largescale voluntary infiltration of Bangladeshi Musalmans to West Bengal and other parts of India.Certainly , the Govt. of India and the Govt. of West Bengal were not unaware of this grim phenomenon.
Table 1.1
Year***Population***Incr.of pop.***% growth
in decades
Source: Statistical abstract, WB,1978-89
In accordance with estimates prepared by the Govt. of WB , 44.5 lakhs of refugees came from East Bengal to WB during 1946-1970. The 1981 cinsus contained an important clue to the persistence of migration /infiltration to WB. the population growth rate declined from 26.9% in 1961-1971 to 23.2 % in 1971-1981. Yet the 1981 census recorded a population of 4,67,000 in excess of the population derived from differences in birth and death rates.If one excluded these 4,67,000 persons - who obviously moved to WB from other regions.
It has been suggested that, during 1971-81 and 1981-91, WB has accomodated 2 million outsiders. Actually, this number should much larger, because, from Bangladesh alone , 2.95 million Bengali speaking Hindus have entered into India during 1974-1991.
As Mohiuddin Ahmed, a renowned journalist of Bangladesh, writes: Thus, we encounter a scenario of *missing Hindu population * in the successive sensus periods. The extent of this missing population was about 1,22 million during the period of 1974-1981, and about 1.73 million during the last intercensual period 1981-1991.As many s 475 Hindus are missing every day from the soil of Bangladesh on an average since 1974.
Table 1.2
Census year ****Muslims (%)****Hindus (%)
Source: Bangladesh Population Census in 1981 and 1991.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Bangladesh, Illegal Migration (Contd-2)

Let us clarify the terms "Illegal Migration", "Undeclared refugees", and "infiltrators."
"It is simply that whoever enters a country without proper legal papers or reside without legal permission, after entering legally is an illegal migrant.
"A refugee is defined in Article 1 of the 1951 UN convention as amended by 1967 protocol as :
A person who owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion , is outside the country of his nationality and is unaable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country; or who, not having anationality and being outside the country of his formal habitual residence as a result of such events, is unable or , owing to such fear , is unwilling to return to it."
However India, Pakistan and Bangladesh are not signatories to this convention or protocol.So by International law there have never been any refugees in between these countries. The 2005 UN data shows that in India there are 77,200 refugees from China, 50,730 from Srilanka, 9,700 from Afganistan, 1,471 ffrom Myanmarand 104 from Somalia. So UN keeps no data on the refugees of the subcontinent. Recently on 19 June,2007, a minority rights group Human Rights Congress for Bangladesh Minorities has filed a writ petition at Cacutta High court on June 19th,2007, appealing that Government of India should grant Refugee status to Bangladesh Minorities, who took shelter in India to escape escape violence in their country.
By UN definition the Hindus of bangladesh are entitled to be considered as Refugee.
Till 25 March 1971, the Hindus who crossed the border were issued a receipt of their entry into the country and entitled to get Refugee status.
The situation changed from 26th march,1971, the category of Undeclared Refugees came into being.
The above discussion of "Illegal Migration" and "undeclared Refugees" were obtained from a national seminar on the subject on 13 March, 2009 at University of Pune.

Bangladesh, Illegal migration (contd-1)

Even the historians like Dr. Amalendu De , an expert in Islamic History, could not find any publisher to publish his research materials on "illegal migration and Undeclaed refugees'. Similarly, Prafulla Chakraborty, well for his books on European History, could not find a publisher for seminal work " The Marginal Man." The most striking aspects of this source book published in 1990 that it has very brief bibliography - simply because there is hardly any work on this subject.In last decade there had been some work on the issue of migration and refugees due to international funding on this subject. But still the researchers are very careful not to cross the sacred line what is known as 'secularism'.
Chandan Nandy, the author of one of the few extensibly researched treatise on the subject. States :
" I had to approach the field research with extreme caution lest I ended up , "taking sides", especially because the pernicious debate between the left, centre, and right of the Indian political spectrum invariably castes researchers as either "communal" or "secular'.
A detailed study of transborder migration from Bangladesh to West Bengal by Ranabir Samaddar provides human stories, theories , with some useful data but very careful not put any attention on the communal nature of Bangladesh. Though he put a subsection " the vanishing Hindus of Bangladesh".
Enough literature of riots of 1990 and 1992 , the rapes of hundreds Bhola women were easily available but you would be islated if you would drag them to show the issue of Islamic violence. Even Samadder was much annoyed when a BSF jawan asked him to read "Lajjya."
In a paper Published from Indian Statistical Institute wrote in conclusion that:
"Migration from Bangladesh to West Bengal has been a continuous process since 1947. The reasons are historical, political, social, cultural, economic, geographical, and environmental."
This can be note that the list contains all the factors except the religious or communal one.

Bangladesh, Illegal Migration and Undeclared Refugees

Stunned eerie Silence
No books, films or literature had mentioned about such a huge number of influx of refugees within ashort time.Ther might be some without analysing the source of the misery,as in the case of the famous film maker Ritwik Ghatak. There were some societies such as, Chattagram Sammilani, Sylet Sammilani, Mymensing Sammilani but none had raised a voice of these refugges. Tathagata Roy summed up nicely as :
"In such circumstances one would expect the exodus of Hindus from East bengal to be hot issue in the State of West Bengal . One would expect hundreds of books to be written on the subject , articles appearing in the news papers every now and then , research being conducted on the political , sociological, and economic reasons for the exodus , as well as the fall out in these fields, debaes on the questions..."
No news from Bangladesh is a good news :
Average Bengali has no idea about the situation of Bangladesh. After Independence on 1971, Bangladesh changed its secular constitution adopted in 1972 to include in 1977 (5th amendment) " absolute trust and faith in Allah as guiding principle of all state acivities " in fundamental principles clause 8(1) and removed the whole cause 12 on secularism. It didn't touch the mind of West Bengal people. Then in 1988, Bangladesh constitution was amended ( 8th amendment)to declare Islam as State religion. In 1990, after an attack on Babri Masjid (it was not abolished then) a country wide rioting took plce in Bangladesh.Bengali Muslims not only damaged hundreds of temples through out the country, looted Hindu shops, and houses, also famous temples like Dhakeswari Temple in Dhaka , Kaibalyadaham of Chittagong were daamaged and ransacked. The pogrom of larger scale took place in 1992 after demolition of Babri masjid 28,000 houses were destroyed, 3600 religious places and 2500 commercial establishments were demolished, many people were killed. The news papers observed a self-censor about the Islamic violence. Even the killing of Humayun Azad or assault on Shahriar Kabir did not find any place in West bengal media. A study of BRAC researcher summed up the situation as ;
Violence against minority was in the process being institutionalized in Bangladesh.
After the election of BNP-Jamat coalition under Begum Zia in Oct 2001, a massive onslaught came down on the Hindu community. Several lakhs of people fled to india. Hundreds of women were raped days after days. The atrocities on the Hindus contrinued for next three years. Ekattarer Ghatak Dalal Nirmul Committee (committee for resisting killers and collaborators of 1971) have published a three volumes report on it by eminent Human rights activists Shahriar Kabir .A case has been filed in the Supreme Court Of Bangladesh in 2006. But there was no news in West Bengal. Even aprocession 10,000 strong people with a deputation in Bangaladesh High commissioner found no place in bengali media.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Bangladesh War, End of legal Refugees

Awami League won the election in East Pakistan and Sheikh Mujibar Rahman declared independence on 26 March 1971 . It was one of the quickest liberation struuggle in the history, and
credit went to mostly Indian Intervention. But Pakistani Army carried out a well planned genocide on the Hindus though many Muslims were also killed. Hamoodur Rahman Commission, chaired by Chief Justice of Pakistan, Hamoodur Rahman, revealed explosive documents which include written order to kill Hindus. R.J.Rummel, the researcher, on killings by the state authorities, described a chilling gendercidal ritual, reminiscent of nazi procedure towards Jewish Males,
" In what become province-wide acts of genocide , Hindus were sought out and killed on the spot. As a matter of course, soldiers would check males for the obligated circumcision among Moslems. If circumcised they might live, if not , sure death."
Bangladesh was liberated mostly on the dead bodies of Hindu Bengalis. Then there were 10 million refugees, about 13 % of then East Pakistan's populations.There were 67,97,615 refugees in the Govt. camps and 31,01,660 were on their own as per Govt. record. Out of the refugees in the camps 92.7% were Hindus. It can be assumed that the refugees on their own will be mostly Hindus taking shelter in their relative's house. This make the total number of Hindu refugees as 91,76,627. Now Bangladesh census of 1974 shows the number of Hindus as 9,67,300. This means nearly all the Hindu Population of East Pakistan took refuge in India. This shows who were the real target of Pakistan Army and its Bengali muslim collaborators However Bangladesh war only brought some nostalgic emotions about their lost East Bengal to upper caste Hindu refugees who were then mmostly getting settled in West Bengal. This horrrible aggression on their own brothers and sisers evoked no sympathetic response in West Bengal. The West Bengal was getting eady for new types of migration- Illegal Migration and undeclared refugees.

Bangladesh,Migration and its Impact (contd-1)

Within a few months another minister from Pakistan Govt. also resigned.Mr. Jogendranath Mandal, the Minister of Law and Labour of Liaquat Ali Khan's cabinet sent his resignation on Oct 8, 1950. Jogendranath Mandal was the leader ofr Scheduled Caste-Muslim Unity in Bengal. After partition he was rewarded with a Ministership in Pakistan cabinet. After riots in 1950, from his promised heaven within three years to the Brahminical Hindustan and send resignation from there.Some excerpts from his resignation letter could be useful for the proponents of Dalit-Muslim unity today. Mr. Mandal wrote:
'Now this being the over all picture of Pakistan so far as the Hindus are concerned, I shall not be unjustified in stating that Hindus of Pakistan have to all intents and purposes been rendered "Stateless" in their own houses. They have no other fault than that they profess Hindu religion.'
Mr. Mandal foresaw the bleak future,
After anxious and prolonged struggle I have to come to the conclusion that Pakistan is no place for Hindus to live in and that their future is darkened by the ominous shadow of conversation or lquidation. The bulk of the upper class Hindus and politically conscious Scheduled Castes hae laft East Bengal. The Hindus who will continue to stay in that accursed province for that matter in Pakistan will , I am afraid, bygradual stages and in a planned manner be either converted to Islam or completely exterminated.
Two leaders with different political ideology shared the same idea.
UCRC (United Central Refugee C ouncil), a leftist controlled organistion instead of looking into problems of Refuggees tried to capitalise Anti-imperialistic slogan . In a convention in 1952 adopted a list of resolutions which included,
i)Exploitation of the country by foreign powers and discrimination against Russia and China in the field of international trade must be ended,
ii) Equipment should be imported from Russia for the improvement of indigenous heavy industries. etc
The left influenced refugee movement not only suppressed the continuous harassment of the Hindus in East Pakistan, they also supported Pakistan.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Bangladesh, Migration and Its Impact

In fact It was B.R.Ambedkar who categorically stated , longt before partition, in 1940 that:
"That the transfer of minorities is the only lasting remedy for communal peace is beyond doubt." The Muslim population which stood at 29.5 % in 1941 in West Bengal got reduced to 19.5 % in 1951, had shot back to 25.5 %in 2001. We should later with these figures in a greater detail and its significance for West Bengal. Going back to the advice of Dr B.R.Ambedkar on the issue of numbers :
"What do these figures indicate ?.....This distribution of the Muslim Population, in terms of communal problems, means that while without pakistan the communal problem in india involves 6.5 crores of Muslims, with the creation of Pakistan it will invollve only 2 crores of Muslims. Is this to be no consideration for Hindus who want communal peace ? To me it seems that if Pakistan does not solve the communal probleb within Hindusthan, it substantially reduces its proportion..."
Nehru-Liaquat treaty
After the partition of India in 1947, within a yearthe situation started to settle down in Wstern Border . It was generally expressed that Eastern part was relatively calm , and initial migration on both sides of Bengal were expected to stop in the coming years. But the situation in East Pakistan always remained as a status of "gentle Push" even when ther was no major pogrom.A simple method was to harass the Hindu neighbours , teasew their woman, violate the sanctity of theirhousehold by polluting their worshipping areas. Many a vivid accounts were available in Bengali writings.
On 8 April 1950, Jawaharlal Nehru , Prime Minister of India, and Liaquat Ali Khan, Prime Minister of Pakistan, signed an agreement between two countries 'to ensure to the minorities throughout its territory complete equality', which included freedom of movement. Shyamaprasad Mukherjee, the minister of Industries and Supply in Nehru's cabinet, resigned over this issue. In his statement in the parliament on 14 April, 1950, he said,
The fact thus remains that inspite of two inter-dominion agreements as many as 16 to 20 lakhs of Hindus were sent away to India from East Bengal.About a million of uprooted Hindus had also to come away from Sind. During this period a large number of Muslims also come away from Pakistan mainly influenced by economc consideration. The economy of West Bengal received a rude shock and we continued as helpless spectators of a grim tragedy."
Like Ambedkar's prophetic comment , Shyamprsad's comment is true for today.

Bangladesh, Reeactions (contd-2)

As a long standing ally of Pakistan, the people 's Republic of China with alarm to the evolving situation in East Pakistan and te prospect of India invading West Pakistan and Pakistani controlled Kashmir . Believing that that such an Indian attack was imminent, Nixon encouraged China to mobilize its armed forces along its border with India to discourage such an eventuality, the Cinese did not , however, respond in this manner and instead threw their weight behind demands for an immediate cease fire. China did, however, coninue to supply Pakistan with arms and aid. It is belived that had China taken action against India to protect West Pakistan then the Soviet Union would have military action againsst china. One Pakistani writer had speculated that China chose not to attack India because Himalayan passes were snow bound in the wintry monthsof Nov and Dec.
United Nations
Though the United Nations condemned the humanrights violations, it failed to diffuse the situation politically before the the start of the war. The secretary council assembled on 4 Dec to discuss the volatile situation in South Asia. USSR vetoed the resolution twice. After lengthy discussions on 7 Dec, the General Assembly promptly adopted by a majority resolution calling for an immediate cease fire and withdrawal of troops. he United States on 12 Dec requested that the Security Council be reconvened . However by the time it was reconvened and proposals were finalised, the war had ended, making the measures merely academic.
The inaction of the United Nations in face of the East pakistan crisis was widely criticised . The conflict also exposed the the delay in decision making that failed to address the underlying issues in time.

Bangladesh, Reactions (Contd-1)

Yahya and Nixon
USA supported Pakistan both politically and materially. US President Richard Nixon denied getting involved in the situation, saying that it was an internal matter of Pakistan. But when Pakistan's defeat seemed certain, Nixon sent USS enterprise to the Bay of Bengal, a move deemed by the Indians as a Nuclear threat. Enterprise arrived on station on Dec 11, 1971. On 6 Dec and 13 Dec, The Soviet navy dispatched two groups ofships , armed with nuclear missles, from Viadivostok, the trailed US. Task force 74 in the Indian ocean from 18 Dec until 7 Jan, 1972.
Nixon and Henry Kissinger feared Soviet expasion into South and South East Asia. Pakistan was close ally of the People's Republic of China, with whom Nixon had been negotiating a reproachment and where he intended to visit in Feb 1972. Nixon feared that an Indian invasion
of west Pakistan would mean totalsoviet domination of the region, and tha it would seriously undermine the global position of the United States and the regional position of the America's new tacit ally , China . In order to demonstrate to China the bonafides of the United States as an ally,and in direct violation of the US Congress-imposed sanctions on Pakistan, Nixon sent military supplies to Pakistan and routed them through Jordan and Iran, while also encouraging China to increase its arms supplies to Pakistan.The Nixon administration ignored reports it received of the genocidal activities of the Pakistani Army in East Pakistan, most notably the Blood telegram. The Soviet Union had supported the Bangladeshis, and supported the Indian Army and Mukti Bahini during the war, recognizins that the independence of the Bangladesh would weaken the position of its rivals the United States and China developed, the USSR would take counter-measures. This was enshrined in Indo-Soviet friendship treaty signed in August 1971. The Soviets also sent a nulear submarine to ward off the threat posed by USS Enterprise in the Indian Ocean.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Bangladesh, Independence War (Reactions)

The defeat and dismemberment of half the nation was not only shocking but unexpected to the top military and civilians of West Pakistan. Yahya Khan dictatorship collapsed and gave way to Bhutto who took the opportunity to rise to power . General Niazi , who surrendered along with 93, 000 troops, was viewed with suspicion and hatred upon his return to Pakistan. He was shunned and branded with traitor . The war also exposed the shortcoming of Pakistan's declared strategic doctrine that the "defence of East Pakistan lat in East Pakistan." Pakistan also failed to gather the international support, and were found fighting a lone battle with only the USA providing any external help. This embittered the Pakistanis who had faced the worst military defeat of an army in decades.
The debacle immediatelt prompted an enquiry headed by Justice Hamdoor Rahman, known as Hamdoor Rahman Commision. It was initially suppressed by Bhutto as it criticised the activity of the military. It also condemned the atroccities and war crimes committed by the armed forces.
Bangladeshi authorities claim that 3,000,000 people were killed , while the Hamidoor Commission put the figures as low as 26,000 civilian casualities. The international media and reference books in English had also published figures which vary greatly from 200,000 to 300,000 for Bangladesh as a whole.
On 16 Dec, 2002, The George Washington University's National Security Archive published a collection of declassified documents, consisting mostly of communications between US embassy officials and United States Information service centers in Dhaka and India, and officials in Washington DC.

Bangladesh, Horrors of Liberation War,1971

Liberation Army,1971

Bangladesh, Liberation War,(Indian Invovement)

The violence unleashed by the Pakistani forces on 25th March 1971, proved the last straw to the efforts to negotiate a settlement. Following these outrages, Sheikh Mujibar Rahman signed an official declaration that read :
Today Bangladesh is a sovereign and Independent country. On thursday night, West Pakistani armed forces suddenly attacked the police barracks at Razarbagh and the EPR headquarters at Pilkhana in Dhaka . Many innocent and unarmed have been killed in Dhaka cityand other places oc Bangladesh. Violent clashes between EPR and police on the one hand and the armed forces of Pakistan on the other , are going on. The Bengalis are fighting the enemies with great courage for an Independent Bangladesh. May Allah aid us in our fight for frreedom. Joy Bangla.
Sheikff Mujib also called upon the people to resistthe occupation forces through a radio message .
Mujib was arrested on the night of 25-26 March 1971at about 1.30 a.m. ( as per radio Pakistan's news on 29 March 1971.
Indian Involvement

Wary of the growing invovement of India , the Pakistan Air force (PAF) launched a premptive strike on india. The attack was modelled on the Israeli Air Force's Operation Focus during the six day war.
Major Battles
Battle of Boyra

Battle of Garibpur

Battle of Dhalai

Battle of Hilli

Battle of Kushtia.

Indian Army's T-55 Tanks

Surrendor; Lt.Gen.Aurora Singh (left), Pakistan's Lt. Gen.A.A.K.Nazi,16 Dec

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Bangladesh, Mukti Bahini (contd-3)

Leaflets and pamplets played an important role in driving public opinion during the war
Regular forces later called Niomita Bahini ( regular forces) cosisted of the members of the of the East Bengal Regiments (EBR), East Pakistan Rifles later (EPR later BDR), police , other paramilitary forces and the general people who were commanded by the army commanders in the 11 sectors all over Bangladesh. Three major zones ; Z-force under the command of Major (later Major General) Ziaur Rahman, K-force under Major (later Brigadier) Khaled Mosharraf and S-force under Major (later Major General) K.M.Safiullah were raised afterwrds to fight battles in efficient manners. Irregular forces are Generally called Gono Bahini (peoples army) werethose who were trained more in Gerrilla warfare than in regular one.
After sometime Pakistani Army causing heavy damages and casualities and prompted to induct Razakars, Al-badrs and Al-sams (mostly members of jamaat-e-Islami and and other islamist groups), also some Biharis who settled in Bengal.
Later Navy, Airforce and other independent forces were included in bangladesh army.
They had also swadhin bangla Betar Kendra for broadcasting.

Bangladesh, Mukti Bahini (contd-2)

A constant Bengali resistance was not expected by the planners of Operation Searchlight of Pakistani Armywhen crackdown upon the population. the Muktibahini of bangladesh was gradually gaining ground headed by M.A.G.Osmani.
The composition of the Mukti Bahini was divided into three parts, i) Guerilla team of operations, ii) Regular Army, and iii) irregular forces.
The Tactics of the combatants would be as follows;
* Guerrilla teams comprising of 5 to 10 trained members would be sent to specific areas of Bangladesh with specific assignments,
*Combat soldiers would carry out frontal attacks against the enemy. Between 50 and 100 % would carry arms. Intelligent volunteers would be engaged to collect information about the enemy among whom 30% would be equipped with weapons.
* The regular forces would organised into battalions and sectors
The following strategies would be adopted while carrying out military operations against the enemy,
*A large number of guerrillas would be sent out inside Bangladesh to carry out raids and ambushes,
* Industries would be brought to a syand still and electricity supply would be disrupted,
* Pakistanis would be obstructed in exporting manufactured goods and raw materials,
*Communication net work would be destroyed in order to obstruct enemy movement,
*Enemy forces would be forced to disperse and scatter for strategic gains,
* The whole area of Bangladesh would be divide into 11 sectors.
Other than the organisation of the Mukti Bahini who were generally trained and armed by the Indian Army , there were independent guerrila groups led by individual leaders , either nationalists or leftists who were successfully controlling some areas.

11 Sectors of Bangladesh

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Bangladesh, Mukti Bahini (contd-1)

Mukti Bahini
During the army crack down on the night of 25 March, 1971, there were reports of small scale resistance notably at Iqbal Hall, Dhaka University and the Rajarbagh Police Headquartes (later initially put a strong fight against the pakistan army). As political events gathered momentum, the stage was set for a clash between the Pakistan Army and the Bengali people vowing for Indpendence. Bengali members of the army were also defecting and gathering on various pockets in the country.
All these early fights were dis-organised and futile because of the greate military strength of the pakistani army. Outside of Dhaka , resistance was more successful . The earliest move towards forming a liberation army officially came from the declaration of Independence made by Major Ziaur Rahman of East bengal Regiment oon behalf of Seikh Mujibar Rahman. In the declaration made from Kalurghat Betar Kendra (Chittagong) on 27 march, 1971, Zia assumed the title of provisional commander-in-chief of the Bangladesh Liberation Army.

Bangladesh, Mukti Bahini

"You remember us for only two or three days in a year, rest of our time is spent on this floor -in turmoil and illness "-sayings of a veteran warrior of Bangladesh
Mukti Bahini ( Liberation Army), also termed as the "Freedom Fighters" or FFs, collectively refers to the armed organisations who fought against the Pakistan Army during the Bangladesh Liberation War,1971.he earliest move towards the formation of a liberation army started from the reading of declaration of Independence by Major Ziaur Rahman of east bengal Regiment on behalf of Seikh Mujibar Rahman. He had defected from the Paakistani Armies when crackdown was started on 25 March, on the Bangladesh Army.In the declaration made from
Kalurghat Betar Kendra (Chittagong) on 27 March 1971, Zia assumed the title of Provisional commnder-in-chief of the Bangladesh liberation army.

Headed by Colonel MuhammadAtaur Gani Osmani, a retired Pakistani army officer of Bangladesh, this band was raised as Mujib's action arm and security force before assuming the character of a conventional Guerrilla force.After the declaration of Independence, the Pakistani Militarysought to quel them, but increasing number of Bengali soldiers defected to the underground "Bangladesh army."These Bengali units slowly merged into the Mukti Bahini and bolstered their weapnry.

On April, 1971, Colonel(later general)M.A.G.Osmani assumed the command of armed forces Teliapara, Sylet Headquarters. Osmani was made the commander-in-chief of Bangladesh Armed forces on 17 April, 1971.Serious inititiave for organising the Bangla Desh Liberation army was taken betweeen 11-17 July. In a meeting of the sector commanders in Kolkata , four important resolutions were taken in consideration of strategic aspects of the war, existing problems, and future course of resistance.

Bangladesh, Liberation War (contd-6)

The 1970 Bhola Cyclone made landfall on the East Pakistan coastline doring the evening of 12 Nov. 1970, around the same time as a local high tide. Killing an estimated 300,000 to 500,000 people. THough the exact death toll was not known, it was considered the deadliest tropical cyclone on record. A week after the landfall, President Khan conceded that his Govt. made slips and mistakes in its handlin of the relief efforts for a lack of understanding of the of the magnitude of the disaster.
A statement released by eleven political leaders in East Pakistan ten days after the cyclone hit charged the Govt. with gross neglect, callous indifference and utter indifference. On 19 Nov, students held a march in Dhaka protesting the slowness of the Govt response. Maulana Abul Hamid Khan Bhashani addressed a rally of 50,000 people on 24 Nov where he accused the president of inefficiency and demanded his resignation.
As the conflict between east and west Pakistan developed in Marvh, 1971, the Dhaka offices of the two Govt organisations directly involved in relief work, were closed for at least two weeks. This is one of the first time that a natural event helped to trigger a civil war.
According to Asian Times ;
"At a meeting of the military top brass, Yahya khan Declared : "Kill 3 million of them and the rest will eat out of our hands ." Accordingly, on the night of 25 march, the Pakistan Army launched operation Searchlight to crush Bengali Resistance in which Bengali members of militaryservices were disarmed and killed, the students and the intelligensia symmetrically liquadated and able-bodied Bengali males just picked up and gunned down.

Bahgladesh, Liberation War (contd-5)

Military Imbalance:
Bengalis were under represented in the Pakistan Military. Officers of Bengali origin in the different wings of the armed forces madeup just 5 % of over all force by 1965, of these, only a few were in command positions, with the majority in technical, with the majority in technical or adminitrative posts. West Pakistanis believed that Bengalis were not martially inclined unlike Pushtuns and Punjabis , the martial races notion was dismissed as ridiculus and humiliating Bengalis. Moreover, despite huge defence spending, East Pakistan received none of the benifits, such as contracts, purchsing and military support jobs. The Indo-Pakistan War of 1965 over Kashmir also highlighted the sense of military insecurity among Bengalis as only an under-strength infantry division and 15 combat aircraft without tank support were in East Pakistan to thwart any Indian retaliation during the conflict.
1970 Bhola Cyclone
Bangladesh had another natural set backs in 1970 by a Bhola Cyclone.