Chapter 8


The first constitution of Pakistan was adopted in 1956, and the country was declared an Islamic Republic. H. S. Suhrawardy, the infamous author of the Great Calcutta Killings, became the Prime Minister of Pakistan and A. K. Fazlul Haq the governor of East Pakistan. Neither lasted very long, and power was usurped by Iskander Mirza, followed by General Mohammed Ayub Khan in 1958. Ayub Khan had considerable staying power, and gradually consolidated his position. In order to give his military dictatorship an outwardly civilian look he joined the 'Convention' Muslim League, while at the same time conferring upon himself the highest military rank of Field-Marshal. He also foisted a new constitution on the country in 1962, the underlying system of which he called 'Basic Democracy'. He was a multifaceted personality, and for a while was involved in the sex-and-state-secret scandal involving the English playgirl Christine Keeler and the British defence minister Jack Profumo. He did the misadventure of incursion into Indian territory in the Rann of Cutch in Gujarat, as a result of which all-out war ensued between India and Pakistan, and the Indian Army progressed to the outskirts of Lahore and held the city in its sights. The war was ended through the intervention of the Soviet Premier Alexei Kosygin who persuaded Ayub and the Indian Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri to come to talks at Tashkent. An accord was signed, but Shastri died the next night from a heart attack.

Meanwhile discontent continued to simmer in East Pakistan. There was increasing clamour for autonomy, and the leadership was provided mainly by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and his Awami League, and also by Maulana Abdul Hamid Khan Bhashani and his National Awami Party. The demand for autonomy and ‘one man-one vote’ found expression in the Mujib-led Awami League’s six-point charter of demands. This principle of ‘one man-one vote’, if given effect to, would give an advantage to the numerically superior East Pakistanis, and was therefore staunchly resisted by the otherwise powerful West Pakistanis. Popular discontent against Ayub Khan and his puppet ‘Basic Democrats’ assumed such proportions that Ayub had to step down. Power was usurped by the army chief, Agha Mohammed Yahya Khan who immediately clamped Martial Law on both wings of the country.

Yahya Khan, as an administrator, was much worse than Ayub. Inordinately fond of Black Dog Scotch, and after-dinner peccadilloes with mature women, he had little time for much else. However, he decided to begin his reign with the right noises, and to that end announced his acceptance of the ‘one man-one vote’ principle. He also announced an election in December 1970.

The election was held, and resulted in a landslide victory for Mujib’s Awami League. The party secured absolute majority - 167 seats in the Federal Assembly out of 313, and a whopping 298 seats out of 310 in the East Pakistan Provincial Assembly. Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had fought the election treating it as a referendum on his six-point charter of demands. There was no way now for West Pakistan to accept it, and no way for East Pakistan to compromise on it either. The final confrontation, the point of no return, had been reached between the two wings of what could arguably be the most absurd country on earth - two wings separated by a thousand miles of territory that they had chosen to be unfriendly with. Some desultory efforts followed, in the form of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s trip to Dacca and his talks with Mujib. Nothing much happened, and then the inevitable followed. On 25th and 26th March 1971 the Pakistan Army, under Lieutenant General Amir Abdullah Khan Niazi, cracked down on unarmed citizens of what was still their own country. And among such citizens were there any that they especially targeted? Yes, of course there were. They targeted the Hindus of East Pakistan.

It is usually referred to as crackdown, but it was a bloodbath, pure and simple murder and mayhem, by an army on defenceless civilians of their own country, in the manner of Mao Zedong's Red Guards, Heinrich Himmler’s Schutzstaffeln (SS) and Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge. It was trampling of Human Rights on an unprecedented scale. The murder and mayhem took place throughout the length and breadth of East Pakistan, and it is as a result of this that more than ten million – one crore – East Pakistanis sought refuge in India. This time the refugees had a substantial number of Muslims among them. Not only so, but unspeakable atrocities were committed this time by West Pakistani Muslims on East Pakistani Muslims - as for example the Comilla Cantonment massacre, on 27th/28th of March, 1971, under the orders of CO 53 Field Regiment, Lt. Gen. Yakub Malik, in which 17 Bengali Officers and 915 men (all Muslims) were just slain by a flick of one Officer’s fingers during their disarming
[1]. Bengali Muslim intellectuals and professionals with the slightest hint of sympathy to the Bangladeshi cause were suspect, and a lot of them fled to India, or at least left the towns for the countryside. Meanwhile the atrocities against Hindus continued with full force, in which the Pakistani Army was joined by the Urdu-speakers, mainly Biharis, and a not insubstantial number of pro-Pakistani Bengali Muslims also, who were organised in bands named Razakar and Al-Badr. These Bengali Muslims are known today in Bangladesh as Ekattorer Ghatak-Dalal (murderers and stooges of 1971).

Henry Kissinger’s ‘White House Years’, in its Chapter XXI entitled ‘The Tilt : The India-Pakistan Crisis of 1971’ describes what happened at Washington, New Delhi and Islamabad during the days in great detail
[2]. It also mentions the crackdown of March 1971 in East Pakistan, choosing to name it rather cynically, after Talleyrand, as ‘worse than a crime ; a blunder’. Characteristically, he is completely silent about the scale of the atrocities, the flagrancy of the Human Rights abuses, and attempted genocide of the Hindus that Senator Kennedy and Schanberg have mentioned.

'India Today', a respected newsmagazine of India, in its August 21, 2000 issue quotes from evidence given before the Hamoodur Rahman Commission, chaired upon by Hamoodur Rahman, Chief Justice of Pakistan. This Commission had been set up by Z.A.Bhutto, President of Pakistan in 1971 to investigate Pakistan's debacle in the Bangladesh war of Liberation. According to an article by Samar Halarnkar appearing in that issue of India Today, the first part of the report was destroyed by personal order of Bhutto, and not a single copy exists. A supplement was however prepared by the Commission after questioning the Pakistani POWs after they were repatriated from India. A copy of the report had come to the possession of India Today, and the full text of the report was available in the internet edition of the magazine

Just to give few examples of the explosive material thet the report contains, consider this : Lt. Col. Aziz Ahmed Khan, Commanding Officer of 8 Baluch, said in his deposition before the Commission "General Niazi asked as to how many Hindus we had killed. In May there was an order in writing to kill Hindus. This order was from Brigadier Abdullah Malik of 23 Brigade". According to Brigadier Iqbalur Rahman Shariff, GSO Division-1, Lt. General Gul Hasan (later Army chief) while visiting troops in East Pakistan used to routinely ask "How many Bengalis have you shot?". A part of the text of the relevant chapter of the report has been reproduced below.

This is the only period during which the history of the brutalities on Hindus was documented to some extent, and is not altogether unknown to the world. However, the intensity of the brutalities is another matter. One of the places where these brutalities took a particularly concentrated, bestial and inhuman form was in the Jagannath Hall massacre. This phase therefore needs to be dealt in some detail.

A detailed account of this massacre, down to some very macabre and gory details, have been recorded in the book "Dacca Bishshobidyalaye Gonohatya : 1971, Jagannath Hall" (in Bangla, meaning "Mass Murder in Dacca University : 1971, Jagannath Hall of Residence"). The recording is on the basis of interviews of eyewitnesses who escaped death very narrowly. A slightly abridged and shortened translation of a part of the introduction by the editor (to give an overview of the situation) and a few of the interviews appears below.

". . . . . . Jagannath Hall was a Hall of Residence of Dacca University reserved for non-Muslim students, mainly Hindus. In 1971 a white paper published by the Pakistan Government said that Jagannath and Iqbal Halls were headquarters for armed insurrection. This was, however, far from the truth. . . . Right through the day of March 25 protest marches and similar activities took place. Most people were very apprehensive, but no one could foresee the magnitude and the severity of the bloodbath that would take place. Some of the residents of the university had left for the countryside for fear of trouble. The inmates of Jagannath Hall were, however, mostly students of very limited means who met the expenses of their education by giving private tuition, and most of them had stayed on at the Hall.
Around the midnight of 25-26 March the Pakistani Army broke down a wall, stormed into the Hall campus with tanks and stated mortar fire towards the northern block Simultaneously they also started an incessant barrage of machine-gun fire. Over their public address system they barked orders in English and Urdu to all residents to lay down arms and come out in the open.
Then the real carnage began. They entered every room, every toilet of the North and South Blocks, poked their heads into every water tank, and mercilessly machine-gunned whomever they could find. They set fire to the Western Block, the canteen and the attached tin shed, and gunned down whoever came out to flee from the fire. . . . They attacked and stormed the residence of Dr. Gobinda Chandra Deb (a former Provost of the Hall and a Professor of Philosophy of international repute) and killed Dr. Deb and the husband of his adopted daughter, Rokeya. They killed Dr. Muneer-uz-Zaman, Professor of Statistics, along with his entire family. They shot at Dr. Jyotirmay Guha Thakurta, the Provost, who later died in a hospital, and also killed Madhusudan Dey and most of the family, including his pregnant wife, his son and his daughter-in-law. They then rounded up some of the Hall staff and some of the surviving students and ordered them to drag the corpses out of the buildings and into the quadrangle. Meanwhile they had rounded up some people from the adjoining areas. They included a few Hindu monks from the local Shibbari (Shiva temple), and a bearded man who was clearly a Muslim. Once the corpses had been laid out and neatly arranged, they ordered these people and the corpse-bearers to stand in a line and sprayed them with machine-gun fire from one end to the other. The soldiers then brought a Bulldozer, dug a shallow trench, and dozed the corpses into the trench and covered them with earth. . . . .

How many people had died in the carnage? It is not easy to answer the question, because the Provost's office was ransacked, and practically no records survived. . . . Attempts were made later by Professor Ajoy Kumar Roy, Provost of the Hall, in 1974 by corresponding with the families of the slain students and staff. This was found to be difficult in the case of those families who had in the meantime emigrated to India, and Professor Roy's list was incomplete. The task was later taken up by Professor Rangalal Sen, Provost, in 1981, and a more complete list was prepared. . . . . According to this list thirty-four students and three teachers - Gobinda Chandra Deb, Jyotirmay Guha Thakurta and Anudwaipayan Bhattacharyya - were killed. In addition, there were non-teaching staff of various departments of the University and the Hall resident at the Hall, such as demonstrators, laboratory assistants, an electrician, other artisans, cooks, janitors and others - all non-Muslims - among those killed. In addition to all these, also killed were several guests living in the Hall at the time, and some persons had come to visit the students or faculty members, and did not get a chance to return home. Their names were gathered from the persons interviewed during compilation of the account. Seven of them have been named, although practically nothing, other than their names and home towns were known. Three, probably four, of these were Muslims. Finally, the people buried in the mass grave in Jagannath Hall included those that were killed in the vicinity by the army, and were brought to the Hall for mass burial by a bulldozer. These included five Hindu monks of the Shibbari (Shiva Temple), some Hindu students residing at the Kalibari (Kali Temple) at Ramna and many others.

The late Dr. Noorul Ullah, a Professor of the Technological University, showed incredible courage in videotaping the shooting of the five monks and a few other scenes were from his house across the road, obviously at great personal risk to himself. He had wrapped his video camera in a piece of black cloth with only the lens exposed, positioned it next to the window facing the quadrangle and in that state shot scenes of the carnage in broad daylight. However, Professor Ullah had only one tape with him, and at one point of time apprehended that it was getting too dangerous to continue the taping. As a result the tapes, although invaluable as evidence, are somewhat disjointed. . . "
[4] [Introduction by Editor]

So, how many people actually died in the carnage? As The Editor and Compiler Ratanlal Chakraborty had remarked, it is impossible to get a correct figure. Begum Rokeya, adopted daughter of the slain Dr. Gobinda Chandra Deb, puts the figure at 'hundreds',
[5] but her observation is based on the number of corpses that she saw lying in the quadrangle, and she must have been totally disoriented then by grief at the loss of her husband and her adoptive father, and in no state to count corpses. Dr. Noorul Ullah, in a saner frame of mind, mentions a figure of 70/80 in respect of the corpses which he saw (and videotaped) being bulldozed into a mass grave in the Jagannath Hall quadrangle[6]. Assuming that all the corpses had not been dragged out by the Pakistani soldiers, the total number killed would be somewhere around a hundred. The point in this massacre however is not the number. The point is the bestiality exhibited by the Pakistanis, the wantonness, the sheer disregard for human life, the very casual way in which they killed defenceless citizens of their own country. As the excerpt below from an interview will reveal[7].

"I had become very friendly with Dr. Jyotirmay Guha Thakurta, the Provost of the Hall. He loved flowers, and it was my job to grow flowers. He was particularly fond of Rajanigandha, the tuberose that grows in profusion in East Bengal, and asked for a sapling of the same on 25th March evening when I had gone to visit him. We both talked about the situation in the city and agreed that it seemed quite bad that particular evening . . . . . Sometime around midnight we heard sounds of brush fire. We heard the army approaching the hall from the direction of the Public Library. We could make out that they had surrounded the hall. There was a loud bang, and the whole area was lit with a red glow. We kept lying on the ground. They entered the hall sometime around three in the morning. Shibu, the son of Gayanath, was on duty at the gate. The soldiers first thrashed the poor man roundly and then addressed him in Urdu and said "Sale, tere Mujibur bapko bula" (Bastards, get your dad Mujibur down here). They asked Shibu for the whereabouts of the student-inmates of the hall. Shibu truthfully replied that they had all left for their homes abut a month ago. They asked about us, and Shibu replied that we were all non-teaching staff of the university. They ordered Shibu to fetch us. Shibu came to our quarters and took Bihari Das's eldest son with him. As soon as this poor guy reached there they started beating him with rifle butts. They also started to fire towards the North Block. I decided to get out and see things for myself. I wrapped myself in a black cloth, told my mother to keep absolutely quiet, and ventured out into the open. They were beating up someone behind Biraj-da's quarters. One of them noticed me, and came after me, but I ran and hid myself in a duck-coop, and then in the cattle-shed, and they could not find me in the dark. Meanwhile this batch of soldiers left and another batch came. This new batch set fire to the tin shed canteen - probably they used some chemical powder.

Meanwhile some four soldiers caught hold of a sweeper called Buddhu, and bayoneted him. As they kept thrusting their bayonets into Buddhu's stomach, the poor man kept crying and choking, repeating that he was merely a Bhangi, a lowly sweeper of garbage. Then it struck one of them that there was no point in going after this man, and they left the poor guy in that condition.

I was all along hiding in the cattle-shed. They sensed that there was someone inside, so they set fire to the shed too. I had to come out. I ran home and told my mother to sit still and leave the door open - maybe they will not harm an old woman like her. Around five in the morning it began to get lighter, and we could no longer hide from the soldiers. They surrounded us, and separated the relatively young people like us from the older, and told us to stand in a line in front of the shed where Khagen and Shyamlal used to tend the cattle. I do not remember how many of us were there. There were a few students too, clad in torn undershirts and lungis. They set up a light machine-gun right in front of us. There was an officer, possibly a Major, standing in front of us. Meanwhile they were constantly abusing us in filthy language in Punjabi, telling us to call our dad Mujibur. Some of us were quiet, while some others were loudly begging for mercy. They first asked us to enter the cattle-shed, then ordered us out, then marched us to a place where a Captain was sitting on a heap of stones. The Captain laughed at our state and called us Bengali motherf___s. Some of us again appealed to him to spare our lives. The Captain in reply asked us to say "Joy Bangla" (Victory to Bangla), and call our dad Mujibur Rahman to save us. Then he asked us whether we were prepared to do what he asked us to do ; if we did as he told us to, he said he would let us go. The thought of being allowed to live made us go crazy, and we readily agreed.

The soldiers then divided us into two groups, and asked us to drag the corpses out. Two soldiers accompanied each group and held sten-guns to our backs. We were first taken to a warehouse on the road leading to the Shibbari. Some ten or twelve corpses were lying there. I did not know any of them. They seemed to have been rounded up from all over the place and sprayed with bullets. The floor of the warehouse was awash with blood. Shyamlal and I dragged out a corpse in put it down in the location where the present Shaheed-Minar (Monument to the martyrs) is located. We were ordered to arrange the corpses with their heads all on one side. Meanwhile the soldiers discovered some five or six students hiding in the water tank on the terrace. They lined them all up along the edge of the terrace and sprayed them with bullets, and we watched the bodies fall. In course of dragging the corpses we also had to carry Dr. Deb's body.

We were then taken to the first house next to the Shibbari where Madhuda (Madhusudan Dey) used to live. We saw his pregnant wife lying dead on the floor. Madhuda himself was reclining against a wall with a gunshot wound on his chest, which was bleeding profusely. His younger daughter, also bleeding, was hugging on to him and crying. The Pakistani soldiers abused all of us, including the little girl, and told us to drag Madhuda out without wasting any time. Shyamlal and I managed to half-carry Madhuda out without dragging him. We brought him to the quadrangle where the corpses were lined up. Madhuda asked us who they were, were they all dead? I replied " Yes, they are all dead. You wouldn't know who they were, they were from outside. We are going to share their fate very soon. There is no point in straining yourself, you better lie down". By this time Madhuda was very weak from loss of blood, and lay down. While we were taking Madhuda out the Pakistani solders were lining the path. Quite a few of them were drinking straight from bottles, some were warming tea. All along they continued to abuse us in filthy language, asking us to say 'Joy Bangla', or to call our dad Mujibur.

Meanwhile the Pakistanis dragged out four Sadhus (Hindu monks) from the Shibbari on to the quadrangle. I knew two among them. One of them was called Brajananda Sadhu and the other was his favourite disciple Mukindra (Mukunda?) Sadhu, whom I knew very well. But I did not know what to say to him in the face of sure death. We had lost the will to run away. I was thinking of my mother and sister. The soldiers made the sadhus stand next to me, and told all of us to keep standing.

Meanwhile all the corpses had been brought into the quadrangle. I saw that there were no women among them, nor any children. I saw Dr. G.C.Deb's corpse. He was a fat man in life, but now his body was bloated almost beyond recognition. It was around nine in the morning then. As far as I remember, Shyamlal and I, working as a team, must have dragged around twenty corpses. I wanted to talk to Shyamlal, but his throat was parched from fear, and he could not talk. Among the corpses there were some people still alive, one of them a bearded Moulana (Muslim priest). He was trying to recite the Kalma (words from the Quran). The soldiers who had made us drag the corpses now left us and were replaced by another six. These six were so drunk that they were slurring over the words while abusing us. They kept on telling us, bastards, stand in a line, you sonofabitches, stand in a line, don't delay, you motherf___s, stand in a line. I cannot describe our reaction at this command, because we knew that these would be the last words we would hear. Some of us began to beg for mercy, some wanted to have a last look at their families. The soldiers kicked them to the ground and ordered them to stand up again. I decided not to beg anything from these beasts. Then they started firing at us, beginning from the end far from where I was standing. My elder brother was standing a few places away from me. A Moulvi (Muslim priest) standing next to me was reciting from the Quran. He took a step towards them and they shot him three times. Then my turn came. They aimed at me and shot. I was hit in the thigh and fell down next to a corpse. While in that state I saw my brother take a shot and fall down. People were rolling over, begging for their lives, moaning. My brother after falling down wanted to get up. I pressed his arm to signal him to keep lying down. I also heard an impossible sound - the sound of falling blood, just the way falling water makes a sound. Blood was spurting from quite a few bodies, just like water gushing from a tap. Through the corner of my eyes I saw the Pakistani soldiers taking aim and shooting at those that were still moving. I lay still, trying very hard to keep my brother from getting up. My brother was struggling to get up, mumbling that he wanted to see his wife and daughter.

Then the Pakistani soldiers left, rather suddenly. There were about a hundred and fifty of them, but they all left in one go. As soon as they left my brother got up and tried to run towards his home, but stumbled and fell on his face. Meanwhile the women and children cane running towards us, carrying pitchers of water. The place was full of cries of 'Jol, Jol'
[8] ('water, water'!). I saw my mother, sister and sister-in-law. By that time I was very weak, and could see them only through a haze. I told them to take me home. They took me home but could not find my elder brother - the poor man must have died under the weight of corpses that fell on him. I saw Bindu's mother trying to take her husband home. I saw our electrician Chitballi running around aimlessly, crazed with fear. I felt I was sinking. I told my mother to leave me with a jug of water. They all left. I tried to lift the jug to my lips, but did not have the strength to do so. Then I saw my mother had returned with a few boys, and was entreating them to take me to the Medical College. The boys then laid me on a door shutter that they got from somewhere, covered me with a piece of cloth and took me running, through Buxibazar to the Medical College, through the rear gate. The doctors then surrounded me and started questioning me - was I a student, what had really happened at Jagannath Hall, and so on. Then their Professor came on the scene, told them not to question me further, and took me to the Operation Theatre. One of the last things that I felt was that the doctors were feeling me all over - wherever they poked a finger the flesh yielded.

After weeks of treatment I recovered and left the hospital. Later I heard that the soldiers had come back to the scene with tractors (bulldozers?) and trucks and picked up as many corpses as they could and dozed the rest into the ground"
[Interview of Chand Deb Roy, Hindu, Mali (Horticulturist), Botany Department, Dacca University]

An Indian Press Correspondent, Chand Joshi of 'The Hindusthan Times', New Delhi
[10], narrated the bitter record of the Pakistani Army's barbarities in Bangladesh as follows:

"The tears are not yet dry. The stench of death still fills the nostrils as one walks through many of Dacca's streets. Perhaps all this is imagination? One could only pinch oneself to find out whether it was just a cruel nightmare or whether all this was reality.

On Nawabpur Road a pregant girl ran around, her hair dishevelled, her saree torn and shouting ‘Na, na, na’ (No, no, no!). She no longer had any name. She is mad. But a few months ago, she had a face, a figure and a name. She was a Dacca college student. She was, that is till the Pakistani Army took her away to the cantonment. Nobody could ask her what happened, for she cannot talk anymore. Only at the first sight of people approaching her she shrinks back and shouts ‘Na, na, na’.

An Indian army officer said that she was perhaps luckier than some others. She might even be cured. Most of them never had a chance. At the Dacca cantonment young girls were rounded up and then made to fall in naked. Some tried to hide their breasts with their hair. The mocking soldiers would brush their hair aside with a 'Dekhne do’ ‘(Let’s have a look’). The soldiers would form into company formations and choose the girls. Innumerable times, innumerable soldiers chose the girls till they collapsed. They would then mockingly cut off their breasts or bayonet them through the vagina. Those who were liked particularly would be kept for a repeat performance every hour of the day. Most of then who were recovered were pregnent. A majority had been killed. At Brahmanbaria the Indian army recovered nude women, dead or almost senseless with continued rape, from trenches. Apart from Dacca, in Jessore, Faridpur, Tangail and everywhere the same thing happened. In a village near Dacca, a father was asked at bayonet point to rape his daughter. When he refused the soldiers raped the girl in the father's presence. The soldier then bayoneted his daughter to death. Mercifully they hanged the father also for the crime of refusing to obey the orders.

The story was repeated in exactly the same manner by at least half a dozen persons from the village. The living proof of atrocities committed by the occupation forces was the recovery of the bodies of intellectuals who were killed on Dec 15, a day before the surrender. They included prominent doctors, intellectutals and journalists, including the BBC's representative in Dacca.

People may exaggerate, but the evidence of one's eyes cannot lie. Burnt-out, broken localities, bullet holes on the walls of houses, the stains of blood -- all speak of the enemy's barbarity. In one such locality, Sankhari Patti
[11] in Dacca, there is not a single house standing. Massive old buildings were raised to the ground after being looted. Some of them were shelled. And what about their inmates? Those who were lucky stayed in the houses to be buried alive. Those who ran out were mowed down by machinegun fire from all sides.

The law then was simple. If there was an explosion anywhere, the people within a radius of 500 yards were to be punished. A cracker was set off and units of the army and Razakars moved in and mowed down everybody in sight. In villages near the Mirzapur industrial area, they shot about 1000 people on suspicion that they belonged to the East Pakistan Rifles or the East Bengal Regiment. The procedure was direct. All males available would be rounded up and shot. They would then turn over the bodies to see whether there was any identification supporting their suspicion. In the Razakar-infested localities of Mohammedpur and Mirpur, there were ceremonial sacrifices of Bengalis. In sector 12, the quota was fixed at 25 a day. People were picked up and their throats slashed till they bled to death. We met a man from that area. Of a family of 19 members, he was the only one who survived. He says nothing any more. He only wants to get back to search in local well for the bodies so that he may give his family members a decent burial. There are many such wells in the locality. Nobody drinks water from them since they know that the bottom is full of bodies. The fish from smaller rivers have no buyers for the same reason. They had been fed on corpses. At one point 100 hilsas were being offered for Rs 2 but nobody would take it."

People had come to know of Jagannath Hall and Dacca city, and the massacres there were documented, because it was the provincial capital., and had a concentrated Hindu population. What had happened in the countryside must have been just as bad. What was the picture if the totality of East Pakistan is taken into account? Consider the following statements:

"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 painted with yellow patches marked "H". All of this has been officially sanctioned, ordered and implemented under martial law from Islamabad. .." (Senator Edward Kennedy)

"I covered the war and witnessed first the population's joyous welcome of the Indian 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." (Sydney Schanberg)

U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy in his report gives following details about the refugees from Bangladesh in 1971. As of October 25, 1971, 9.54 million refugees from East Pakistan had crossed over to India. The average influx as of October 1971 was 10,645 refugees a day
[14]. Hence the total refugee population at the start of Bangla Desh war on December 3, 1971 was about 10 million[15]. . . . . Sen. Kennedy further mentions that Government of India 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 the refugees was 80 percent Hindu, 15 per cent Muslim, and 5 per cent Christian and others.(Shrinandan Vyas)[16]

"In the 1971 war of liberation 200,000 women were raped . . . . Hundreds of thousands were victims of mass murders" (Mrs. Sheikh Hasina Wajed)

One of the campaigns mounted against the people of East Pakistan by the West Pakistani army was the attempt at annihiliation of all professionals and intellectuals. This was done in the closing stages of the war, when it was all but known that East Pakistan would fall, and was probably directed at depriving the future republic of Bangladesh of its entire brainpower. This was done through the agency of two fundamentalist Bengali Muslim groups known as Razakar and Al-Badr. The victims were almost entirely Muslim, since most Hindu professionals and intellectuals had emigrated to India long ago, and among the few that remained, a number were killed in the Jagannath Hall massacre. Shahriyar Kabir, a contemporary Bangladeshi author and journalist has recorded the experience of one of those who managed to get away

It would now be of interest to see how Pakistan looked at its own misdeeds, with a special reference to the subject of this book, that is the persecution and killing of Hindus. The best source for this is the Hamoodur Rahman report mentioned earlier. The full text of the supplementary report was placed in the Internet edition of the 'India Today' newsmagazine of August 21, 2000. Of the report, Part 5, Chapter 2 deals with the atrocities. To the extent admitted in the report, there can be no greater proof of the atrocities, and certain parts of the above chapter of the report are reproduced below.


1.Alleged atrocities by the Pakistan Army
As is well known, the conduct of the Pakistani army, while engaged in counter-insurgency measures in East Pakistan since March 1971, has come in for a lot of criticism from several quarters. We had occasion to deal with the subject in Paragraphs 5-8 of Chapter II of Part V of the Main Report. We have examined this question further in the light of fresh evidence recorded by us.

Misdeeds of the Awami League Militants:
2. It is necessary that this painful chapter of the events in East Pakistan be looked at in its proper perspective. Let it not be forgotten that the initiative in resorting to violence and cruelty was taken by the militants of the Awami League, during the month of March, 1971, following General Yahya Khan’s announcement of the 1st of March regarding the postponement of the session of the National Assembly scheduled for the 3rd of March 1971. It will be recalled that from the 1st of March to the 3rd of March 1971, the Awami League had taken complete control of East Pakistan, paralysing the authority of the federal government. There is reliable evidence to show that during this period the miscreants indulged in large scale massacres and rape against pro-Pakistan elements, in the towns of Dacca, Narayanganj, Chittagong, Chandragona, Rungamati, Khulna, Dinajpur, Dhakargaoa (Thakurgaon?), Kushtia, Ishuali (Ishurdi?), Noakhali, Sylhet, Maulvi Bazaar, Rangpur, Saidpur, Jessore, Barisal, Mymensingh, Rajshahi, Pabna, Sirojgonj, Comilla, Brahmanbaria, Bogra, Naugaon, Santapur (Santahar?) and several other smaller places.

3. Harrowing tales of these atrocities were narrated by the large number of West Pakistanis and Biharis who were able to escape from these places and reach the safety of West Pakistan. For days on end, all through the troubled month of March 1971, swarms of terrorised non-Bengalis lay at the Army-controlled Dacca airport awaiting their turn to be taken to the safety of West Pakistan. Families of West Pakistani officers and other ranks serving with East Bengal units were subjected to inhuman treatment, and a large number of West Pakistani officers were butchered by the erstwhile Bengali colleagues.

4. These atrocities were completely blacked out at the time by the Government of Pakistan for fear of retaliation by the Bengalis living in West Pakistan. The Federal Government did issue a White Paper in this behalf in August 1971, but unfortunately it did not create much impact for the reason that it was highly belated, and adequate publicity was not given to it in the national and international press.

5. However, recently, a renowned journalist of high standing, Mr Qutubuddin Aziz, has taken pains to marshal the evidence in a publication called Blood and Tears. The book contains the harrowing tales of inhuman crimes committed on the helpless Biharis, West Pakistanis and patriotic Bengalis living in East Pakistan during that period. According to various estimates mentioned by Mr. Qutubuddin Aziz, between 100,000 and 500,000 persons were slaughtered during this period by the Awami League militants.

6. As far as we can judge, Mr Qutubuddin Aziz has made use of authentic personal accounts furnished by the repatriates whose families, have actually suffered at the hands of the Awami League militants. He has also extensively referred to the contemporary accounts of foreign correspondents then stationed in East Pakistan. The plight of the non-Bengali elements still living in Bangladesh and the insistence of that Government on their large-scale repatriation to Pakistan, are factors which appear to confirm the correctness of the allegations made against the Awami League in this behalf.

Provocation of the Army
7. We mention these facts not in justification of the atrocities or other crimes alleged to have been committed by the Pakistani Army during its operations in East Pakistan, but only to put the record straight and to enable the allegations to be judged in their correct perspective. The crimes committed by the Awami League miscreants were bound to arouse anger and bitterness in the minds of the troops, especially when they were not confined to barracks during these weeks immediately preceding the military action, but were also subjected to the severest of humiliations. They had seen their comrades insulted, deprived of food and ration, and even killed without rhyme or reason. Tales of wholesale slaughter of families of West Pakistani officers and personnel of several units had also reached the soldiers who were after all only human, and reacted violently in the process of restoring the authority of the Central Government.

The Nature of Allegations
8. According to the allegations generally made, the excesses committed by the Pakistani Army fall into the following categories:
a) Excessive use of force and fire power in Dacca during the night of the 25th and 26th of March 1971 when the military operation was launched.
b) Senseless and wanton arson and killings in the countryside during the course of the “sweeping operations” following the military action.
c) Killing of intellectuals and professionals like doctors, engineers, etc and burying them in mass graves not only during early phases of the military action but also during the critical days of the war in December 1971.
d) Killing of Bengali Officers and men of the units of the East Bengal Regiment, East Pakistan Rifles and the East Pakistan Police Force in the process of disarming them, or on pretence of quelling their rebellion.
e) Killing of East Pakistani civilian officers, businessmen and industrialists, or their mysterious disappearance from their homes by or at the instance of Army Officers performing Martial Law duties.
f) Raping of a large number of East Pakistani women by the officers and men of the Pakistan army as a deliberate act of revenge, retaliation and torture.
g) Deliberate killing of members of the Hindu minority.

Substance of Evidence
9. In view of the seriousness of the allegations, their persistence and their international impact as well as their fundamental importance from the point of view of moral and mental discipline of the Pakistan Army, we made it a point of questioning the repatriated officers at some length in this behalf. We feel that a brief reference to some typical statements made before us by responsible military and civil officers will be instructive, and helpful in reaching the necessary conclusions.

10. Lt. Gen. A.A.K. Niazi, apparently in an endeavour to put the blame on his predecessor, then Lt. Gen. Tikka Khan, stated that “military action was based on use of force primarily, and at many places indiscriminate use of force was resorted to which alienated the public against the Army. Damage done during those early days of the military action could never be repaired, and earned for the military leaders names such as “Changez Khan” and “Butcher of East Pakistan.” While the military action was on, the then Martial Law Administration alienated the world press by unceremoniously hounding out foreign correspondents from East Pakistan, thus losing out in the propaganda war to the Indians completely. He went on to add: “on the assumption of command I was very much concerned with the discipline of troops, and on 15th of April, 1971, that is within four days of my command, I addressed a letter to all formations located in the area and insisted that loot, rape, arson, killing of people at random must stop and a high standard of discipline should be maintained. I had come to know that looted material had been sent to West Pakistan which included cars, refrigerators and air conditioners etc.”

When asked about the alleged killing of East Pakistani officers and men during the process of disarming, the General replied that he had heard something of the kind but all these things had happened in the initial stages of the military action before his time. He denied the allegation that he ever ordered his subordinates to exterminate the Hindu minority. He denied that any intellectuals were killed during December 1971. He admitted that there were a few cases of rape, but asserted that the guilty persons were duly punished. He also stated that “these things do happen when troops are spread over. My orders were that there would not be less than a company. When a company is there, there is an officer with them to control them but if there is a small picket like section, then it is very difficult to control. In Dacca jail we had about 80 persons punished for excesses.”

11. Another significant statement was made in this regard by Maj. Gen. Rao Farman Ali, Adviser to the Governor of East Pakistan namely: “Harrowing tales of rape, loot, arson, harassment, and of insulting and degrading behaviour were narrated in general terms. I wrote out an instruction to act as a guide for decent behaviour and recommended action required to be taken to win over the hearts of the people. This instruction under General Tikka Khan’s signature was sent to Eastern Command. I found that General Tikka’s position was also deliberately undermined and his instructions ignored...excesses were explained away by false and concocted stories and figures.”

12. About the use of excessive force on the night between the 25th and 26th March 1971, we have a statement from Brigadier Shah Abdul Qasim (witness No. 267) to the effect that “no pitched battle was fought on the 25th of March in Dacca. Excessive force was used on that night. Army personnel acted under the influence of revenge and anger during the military operation.” It has also been alleged that mortars were used to blast two Residence Halls, thus causing excessive casualties. In defence, it has been stated that these Halls were at the relevant time not occupied by the students but by Awami League insurgents, and were also being used as dumps for arms and ammunition stored by the Awami League for its armed rebellion.

13. Still another significant statement came from Brigadier Mian Taskeenuddin (Witness No. 282): “Many junior and other officers took the law into their own hands to deal with the so called miscreants. There have been cases of interrogation of miscreants which were far more severe in character than normal and in some cases blatantly in front of the public. The discipline of the Pakistani army as was generally understood had broken down. In a command area (Dhoom Ghat) between September and October miscreants were killed by firing squads. On coming to know about it I stopped the same forthwith.”

14. Maj. Gen. Nazar Hussain Shah, GOC 16 Division, conceded that “there were rumours that Bengalis were disposed of without trial.” Similarly, Brigadier Abdul Qadir Khan (Witness No. 243) Commander 93 (A)? admitted that “a number of instance of picking up Bengalis did take place.” Lt. Col. S.S.H. Bokhari, CO of 29 Cavalry, appearing as Witness no 244, stated that “in Rangpur two officers and 30 men were disposed of without trial. It may have happened in other stations as well.”

An admission was also made by Lt. Col. S.M. Naeem (Witness No 258), CO of 39 Baluch, that “innocent people were killed by us during sweep operations and it created estrangement amongst the public.”

15. Lt Col. Mansoorul Haq, GSO-I, Division, appearing as Witness No 260, has made detailed and specific allegations as follows: “A Bengali, who was alleged to be a Mukti Bahini or Awami Leaguer, was being sent to Bangladesh — a code name for death without trial, without detailed investigations and without any written order by any authorised authority.” Indiscriminate killing and looting could only serve the cause of the enemies of Pakistan. In the harshness, we lost the support of the silent majority of the people of East Pakistan. The Comilla Cantt massacre (on 27th/28th of March, 1971) under the orders of CO 53 Field Regiment, Lt. Gen. Yakub Malik, in which 17 Bengali Officers and 915 men were just slain by a flick of one Officer’s fingers, should suffice as an example. There was a general feeling of hatred against Bengalis amongst the soldiers and officers, including Generals. There were verbal instructions to eliminate Hindus. In Salda Nadi(?) area about 500 persons were killed. When the army moved to clear the rural areas and small towns, it moved in a ruthless manner, destroying, burning and killing. The rebels while retreating carried out reprisals against non-Bengalis.

16. Several civilian officers have also deposed in a similar vein, and it would suffice to quote here the words of Mr. Mohammad Ashraf, Additional Deputy Commissioner, Dacca, to whose evidence we have also referred earlier in another context. He stated that “after the military action the Bengalis were made aliens in their own homeland. The life, property, and honour of even the most highly placed among them were not safe. People were picked up from their homes on suspicion and dispatched to Bangladesh, a term used to describe summary executions. The victims included Army and Police Officers, businessmen, civilian officers, etc. There was no Rule of Law in East Pakistan. A man had no remedy if he was on the wanted list of the Army... Army Officers who were doing intelligence were raw hands, ignorant of the local language and callous of Bengali sensibilities.”

17. About the attitude of senior officers in this behalf, Brigadier Iqbalur Rehman Shariff (Witness no. 269), has alleged that during his visit to formations in East Pakistan General Gul Hassan used to ask the soldiers “how many Bengalis have you shot”.

18. The statements appearing in the evidence of Lt. Col. Aziz Ahmed Khan (Witness no 276) who was Commanding Officer 8 Baluch and then CO 86 Mujahid Battalion are also directly relevant. “Brigadier Arbab also told me to destroy all houses in Joydebpur. To a great extent I executed this order. General Niazi visited my unit at Thakargaon and Bogra. He asked us how many Hindus we had killed. In May, there was an order in writing to kill Hindus. This order was from Brigadier Abdullah Malik of 23 Brigade.”

19. While the extracts of evidence given above reflect the general position in regard to the allegations we are considering, it appears to be necessary to deal specifically with certain matters brought to the notice of the Prime Minister of Pakistan by the Bangladesh authorities, or which have otherwise been particularly mentioned by certain witnesses appearing before the Commission during the present session.

Painting the Green of East Pakistan Red
20. During his meeting with the Prime Minister of Pakistan at Dacca on Friday, the 28th of June 1974, the Bangladesh Prime Minister Sh. Mujibur Rehman, complained inter-alia that Maj Gen Rao Farman Ali had written in his own hand on Government stationery that “The green of East Pakistan will have to be painted red.” Sh. Mujibur Rehman promised to supply a photostat copy of this document to the Government of Pakistan.” The same has since been received . . . . . . The insinuation is that this writing amounted to a written declaration of the intentions of the Pakistan Army and the martial law administration in East Pakistan to indulge in large-scale bloodshed in order to suppress the movement for Bangladesh.. . . . . .

Magnitude of Atrocities
31. In the circumstances that prevailed in East Pakistan from the 1st of March to the 16th of December 1971, it was hardly possible to obtain an accurate estimate of the toll of death and destruction caused by the Awami League militants and later by the Pakistan Army. It must also be remembered that even after the military action of the 25th of march 1971, Indian infiltrators and members of the Mukti Bahini sponsored by the Awami League continued to indulge in killings, rape and arson during their raids on peaceful villages in East Pakistan, not only in order to cause panic and disruption and carry out their plans of subversion, but also to punish those East Pakistanis who were not willing to go along with them. In any estimate of the extent of atrocities alleged to have been committed on the East Pakistani people, the death and destruction caused by the Awami League militants throughout this period and the atrocities committed by them on their own brothers and sisters must, therefore, always be kept in view.

32. According to the Bangladesh authorities, the Pakistan Army was responsible for killing three million Bengalis and raping 200,000 East Pakistani women. It does not need any elaborate argument to see that these figures are obviously highly exaggerated. So much damage could not have been caused by the entire strength of the Pakistan Army then stationed in East Pakistan even if it had nothing else to do. In fact, however, the army was constantly engaged in fighting the Mukti Bahini, the Indian infiltrators, and later the Indian army. It has also the task of running the civil administration, maintaining communications and feeding 70 million people of East Pakistan. It is, therefore, clear that the figures mentioned by the Dacca authorities are altogether fantastic and fanciful.

33. Different figures were mentioned by different persons in authority but the latest statement supplied to us by the GHQ shows approximately 26,000 persons killed during the action by the Pakistan Army. This figure is based on situation reports submitted from time to time by the Eastern Command to the General Headquarters. It is possible that even these figures may contain an element of exaggeration as the lower formations may have magnified their own achievements in quelling the rebellion. However, in the absence of any other reliable date, the Commission is of the view that the latest figure supplied by the GHQ should be accepted. An important consideration which has influenced us in accepting this figure as reasonably correct is the fact that the reports were sent from East Pakistan to GHQ at a time when the Army Officers in East Pakistan could have had no notion whatsoever of any accountability in this behalf.

34. The falsity of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s repeated allegation that Pakistani troops had raped 200,000 Bengali girls in 1971 was borne out when the abortion team he had commissioned from Britain in early 1972 found that its workload involved the termination of only a hundred or more pregnancies.

Question of Responsibility
35. For almost three years now, the world has repeatedly heard a list of 195 names said to have been prepared by the Dacca authorities in connection with the commission of these atrocities and crimes. As the Commission has not been supplied with a copy of this list, it is not possible for us to comment upon the justification or otherwise of the inclusion of any particular names therein. It is, however, clear that the final and overall responsibility must rest on General Yahya Khan, Lt. Gen. Pirzada, Maj Gen. Umar, Lt. Gen. Mitha. It has been brought out in evidence that Maj. Gen. Mitha was particularly active in East Pakistan in the days preceding the military action of the 25th of March 1971, and even the other Generals just mentioned were present in Dacca along with Yahya Khan, and secretly departed there on the evening of that fateful day after fixing the deadline for the military action. Maj. Gen. Mitha is said to have remained behind. There is also evidence that Lt. Gen Tikka Khan, Maj. Gen. Farman Ali and Maj. Gen Khadim Hussain were associated with the planning of the military action. There is, however, nothing to show that they contemplated the use of excessive force or the Commission of atrocities and excesses on the people of East Pakistan.

36. The immediate responsibility for executing the plan of this action fell on Lt. Gen. Tikka Khan who succeeded Lt. Gen. Mohammad Yakub on the 7th of March 1971 as Zonal Administrator, Martial Law, as well as Commander Eastern Command. This last responsibility was passed on by him to Lt. Gen. A.A.K. Niazi on the 7th of April 1971. From that day until the day of surrender the troops in East Pakistan remained under the operational control of Lt. Gen. Niazi who also assumed powers of the Martial Law administrator on the appointment of a civilian Governor in August 1971. It is a question for determination as to what share of responsibility must rest on these commanders for the excesses allegedly committed by the troops under their Command. It is in evidence that Lt. Gen. Tikka Khan was always willing to redress grievances and take disciplinary action whenever complaints of excesses were brought to his notice. It has also to be said that both these Generals had issued repeated warnings to troops to refrain from acts of violence and immorality. At the same time there is some evidence to suggest that the words and personal actions of Lt. Gen. Niazi were calculated to encourage the killings and rape.

37. The direct responsibility of the alleged excesses and atrocities must, of course, rest on those officers and men who physically perpetuated them or knowingly and deliberately allowed them to be so perpetuated. These officers and men not only showed lack of discipline in disobeying the directives of the Eastern Command and Zonal Martial Law Administrator, but also indulged in criminal acts punishable under the Army Act as well as the ordinary law of the land.

Conclusions and Recommendations
38. From what we have said in the preceding paragraphs it is clear that there is substance in the allegations that during and after the military action excesses were indeed committed on the people of East Pakistan, but the versions and estimates put forward by the Dacca authorities are highly coloured and exaggerated. Some of the incidents alleged by those authorities did not take place at all, and on others fanciful interpretations have been deliberately placed for the purpose of maligning the Pakistan army and gaining world sympathy. We have also found that the strong provocation was offered to the army owing to the misdeeds of the Awami League. It has also been stated that use of force was undoubtedly inherent in the military action required to restore the authority of the Federal Government. Nevertheless, inspite of all these factors we are of the view that the officers charged with the task of restoring law and order were under an obligation to act with restraint and to employ only the minimum force necessary for the purpose. No amount of provocation by the militants of the Awami League or other miscreants could justify retaliation by a disciplined army against its own people. The Pakistan Army was called upon to operate in Pakistan territory, and could not, therefore, be permitted to behave as if it was dealing with external aggression or operating on enemy soil. Irrespective, therefore, of the magnitude of the atrocities, we are of the considered opinion that it is necessary for the Government of Pakistan to take effective action to punish those who were responsible for the commission of these alleged excesses and atrocities"


What is one to make of this report? Well, for one, the recording of evidence seems to have been done fairly meticulously. The problem is not so much with the facts that the Commission had unearthed, as with the conclusions that they drew from them. Let us take them one by one.

(a) This part of the report begins with tales of the insults and humiliation, and even physical damage suffered by Pakistani soldiers at the hands of Awami Leaguers. No details are given, but it is presumed that these could serve as mitigating circumstances in respect of mass murders committed by the army. It is more than a little difficult for the uninitiated to accept that a Judge’s findings would include such incredible assertions as unarmed Bengali Awami League supporters insulting or humiliating a West Pakistani soldier armed to his teeth, especially when that soldier knew that he would lose nothing by shooting down that man. However those who are familiar with the ways of Pakistan would not find this surprising. The army is such an all-powerful institution in Pakistan that it was impossible for even the Chief Justice of the country to write things against them without writing at least some things in their favour. This part, therefore, should be taken with several pinches of salt. Things like 'wholesale slaughter of West Pakistani officers and personnel' (paragraph 7 above) can only be pure imagination. It is worthy of note that nothing has been mentioned about the Hindus - nothing that could remotely serve to mitigate, even in a Pakistani judge's view, the unspeakable crime of the country's army attempting to annihilate the entire Hindu minority of East Pakistan.

(b) In the conclusion it has been acknowledged in so many words that whatever these circumstances are, they may mitigate, but do not justify " retaliation by a disciplined army against its own people ". It has further been observed that " The Pakistan Army was called upon to operate in Pakistan territory, and could not, therefore, be permitted to behave as if it was dealing with external aggression or operating on enemy soil "

(c) What is particularly important for the purposes of this book is that the attempt to eliminate or exterminate the entire Hindu minority in East Pakistan, an act comparable to Hitler's action against the Jews or Pol Pot's against city people in his own country, has been given only marginal importance. The frequency with which the subject of killing of Hindus has been mentioned in the report should make this clear. All such mentions have been made in italics (by author), and it can be readily seen that they are very few and far between. It is as if by trying to 'eliminate' the Hindu minority, or asking (that too by a General) as to how many Hindus one had killed, or a Brigadier giving written orders to kill Hindus, only a minor misdemeanour had been committed.

No analysis had been attempted to determine officially, either in India or in Bangladesh, the proportion of Hindus among those killed. However, Shrinandan Vyas
[18] has estimated that among the refugees who fled to India following Pakistani persecution in 1971, as well as among the total number of people killed, roughly 80% were Hindus, 15% Muslims, and 5% Christians and Buddhists.

Ms. Asma Jehangir, a noted and respected human rights activist and feminist of Pakistan, visited Bangladesh in February 2001 when this author happened to be in Dacca. She spoke to a small and select audience at the Muktijuddha Jadughar (Liberation War Museum) where she openly apologised for the atrocities committed by the Pakistani army on the civilian population of East Pakistan. She said that the civilian population of West Pakistan had been kept completely in the dark about these atrocities. The speech was widely reported in the Bangladeshi media, and this author scanned all major Bangla and English newspapers of Dacca to see if there was any reference to the fact that the majority of the victims of these atrocities were Hindus - in fact to see whether at all there was any reference to Hindus in her speech. There was none.

Taslima Nasrin's great work Lojja (Shame), described in the next chapter in detail, mentions a gory distinction between the Pakistani Army's treatment of Bengali Hindus and Muslims. She mentions that the army used to nab people at random, Hindus invariably and Muslims sometimes, and try various tricks on them like kicking them with boots on, bayoneting, breaking their backbones (literally), gouging out their eyes and so on. In the end they sometimes spared the Muslims their lives, but never the Hindus.

One question survives. These demons, these Pakistani soldiers and officers, had been in the custody of the Indian Army as Prisoners of War after their surrender at Dacca in 1971. Their bestialities had received publicity the world over. Pakistan was a vanquished country, and there was no way it could have concealed the horrendous record of its army against people who were once its citizens. Why, then, did Indira Gandhi's India or Sheikh Mujib's Bangladesh not institute a Nuremberg or Serbia-type trial for the bestialities, which can easily qualify as Crimes against Humanity, committed by the Pakistan Army?

Such a trial would have had the support of the whole world. Finding witnesses to the ghastly crimes would have been very easy then. The publicity would have caused Pakistan untold embarrassment, and it would have been good for the whole of the Human race to have such acts exposed and the guilty brought to book. No such move was, however initiated, even demanded by any quarter in India, and the soldiers, held as POWs in India, were quietly repatriated to Pakistan after the Simla Accord between Mrs. Indira Gandhi and Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. This is yet another enigma, and again an answer has been attempted in Chapter 10.

[1] Hamoodur Rahman report, see below

[2] White House Years, ibid., p. 871

[3] India Today (newsmagazine published from New Delhi), August 21, 2000 issue, p. 34.

[4] Dacca Bishshobidyalaye Gonohatya : 1971, Jagannath Hall (Mass Murder in Dacca University : 1971, Jagannath Hall of Residence) (Bangla), Ratanlal Chakraborty, Ed. and Compiled 1st Ed., Aagami Prakashani, Dacca, 1993, pp. 14-20

[5] ibid. p. 135

[6] ibid. p. 126

[7] ibid. p. 60-68

[8] Only Bengali Hindus use 'Jol', as the Bangla word for 'water'. The Muslims always say 'Pani'.

[9] ibid. p. 60-68

[10] 'The Hindusthan Times' , New Delhi, Dec 24 1971, p. 6

[11] Sankhari Patti means abode of the Sankharis, people who work on Sankha or Conchshells. They are all Hindus

[12] '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

[13] 'The Pakistani Slaughter That Nixon Ignored' , Syndicated Column by Sydney Schanberg, New York Times, May 3, 1994

[14] 'Crisis in South Asia - A report', ibid.

[15] 'Bangladesh: The Birth Of A Nation', A handbook 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

[16] 'Hindu Genocide in East Pakistan', by Shrinandan Vyas, Web Article,

[17] Mrs. Sheikh Hasina Wajed, Prime Minister of Bangladesh, addressing the U.N. Millenium Summit, 7th September 2000, quoted in the Times of India, Mumbai Ed. 9th September 2000, p. 12

[18] Hindu Genocide in East Pakistan, ibid.