Bangladesh Genocide Archive http://www.genocidebangladesh.org An online archive of chronology of events, documentations, audio, video, images, media reports and eyewitness accounts of the 1971 Genocide in Bangladesh in the hands of Pakistan army. Wed, 23 Mar 2016 23:31:25 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Taj Uddin Ahmad: A Profile http://www.genocidebangladesh.org/taj-uddin-ahmad-a-profile/ Wed, 23 Mar 2016 23:25:18 +0000 http://www.genocidebangladesh.org/?p=672 Tajuddin Ahmed (L) along with Sheikh Mujibur Rahman

Tajuddin Ahmed (L) along with Sheikh Mujibur Rahman

Tajuddin Ahmad (July 23, 1925 – November 3, 1975) was a Bangladeshi statesman and freedom fighter. He served as the first Prime Minister of Bangladesh and lead the wartime Provisional Government during the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971.

A close confidante of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Ahmad was the General Secretary of the Awami League in the late 1960s and early 1970s. He coordinated the League’s election campaign for the Pakistani general election, 1970, in which the League gained a historic parliamentary majority to form government. Ahmad, along with Mujib and Dr. Kamal Hossain, led negotiations with President Yahya Khan and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto for the transfer of power to the elected National Assembly.

As the first Prime Minister of Bangladesh, he led people of Bangladesh to victory during the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971. He was a gifted organizer and administrator, characteristics which were surpassed only by his integrity, love for humanity, deep-seated patriotism, and unflinching stand for fairness and justice. A seeker of truth, he rose with purpose and commitment to the rank of statesman.

Tajuddin Ahmad was assassinated along with three other national leaders in Dhaka Central Jail on November 3, 1975 by a wayward section of the Bangladesh Army.

Check his website tajuddinahmad.com for more.

Documentary: Tajuddin Ahmad – An Unsung Hero

Timeline: The life and works of Tajuddin Ahmad

Tajuddin Ahmed - Addressing the nation after the liberation. Image courtesy Tajuddinahmed.com

Tajuddin Ahmed – Addressing the nation after the liberation. Image courtesy Tajuddinahmed.com

Date Event
23 July 1925 Born of Maulabhi Mohd Yasin Khan and Meher-un-Nesa Khan in the village Daradia of Kapasia PS in Gazipur district.

Education

Kapasia Minor English School, St Nicholas English school, Kaliganj, Muslim Boys’ school, Dhaka and St Gregory’s high.
1934 Secured 12th position in the combined merit list in SSC exam.
1938 Secured 4th position in the combined merit list in HSC exam.
1942 Civil Defense training
1943 BA (Honors) in Economics from Dhaka University
1946 Sat for and obtained LLB degree from the prison as a political prisoner

Political life

1943 Active supporter of the progressive faction (Abdul Hashim group) of Muslim League
1944 Elected the councilor of the Muslim League of the Eastern wing of Pakistan
6-7 September, 1947 One of the founding organizers (others being Sheikh Mujib, Mohd Toyaha, Shamsul Huq, Tasadduk Ahmed) of the secular youth forum-Democratic Youth League.
4 January 1948 Founding organizers of East Pakistan Students’ League (now BCL)
1949 One of the founding organizers of East Pakistan Awami (meaning people) Muslim League (AL)
1953-57 General Secretary, Dhaka Zilla Awami Muslim League and Awami League
1955
1954 1954: Elected MLA as a candidate of United Front by defeating the general secretary of Muslim League.
1955 1955: Elected the cultural and welfare secretary of Awami League. Staunch supporter of Mujib in his initiative to secularize Awami League by removing “Muslim” from the party’s name
1962 Played an active role in anti martial law campaign against Pakistani military dictator Ayub Khan
1964 Supported Mujib to revive Awami League severely repressed by Pakistani military dictators. Elected the Organizational Secretary of Awami League
1966 Key figure in drawing up and launching the historic Six Point Movement. Elected the General Secretary of Bangladesh Awami League. Accompanied Mujib to the Round Table Conference in Lahore. Organized and launched the Six Point Movement through out Bangladesh and due to his activism was arrested by the Pakistani rulers on 8 May 1966.
1968 Elected the GS of Awami League while being in the prison.
1969 Released from the prison following the Mass Movement of 1969
1970 Elected the GS of Awami League for the third term. Elected a member of the Pakistan Legislative Assembly
1971
1 March Sheikh Mujib called for a non-cooperation movement throughout Bangladesh as a protest against Yahyah Khan’s annulment order of the Pakistan Legislative Assembly. Awami League virtually took over the governance of east Bangla and Tajuddin as the chief administrator, designated by of Sheikh Mujib, efficiently ran all the public sectors of East Bangla.
25-26 March Massacre of Bangalees by Pakistan occupation army. Escaped the Pakistani SS forces and went underground
27-29 March Headed for Indian border on foot, by motorbike and boat
30 March Reached Meherpur near Indian border. Contacted the Indian officials
1 April Reached Delhi on special arrangement by Indian government to initiate a talk with the Indian prime minister to obtain Indian support for the independence of Bangladesh
4 April Formal meeting with Indira Gandhi, the prime minister of India and negotiated unconditional Indian support for the Independence of Bangladesh.
6 April Gave the prime ministerial speech in support of the independence of Bangladesh from Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendro
10 April Formed the provisional government and took the office of the prime minister.
11 April Addressed the nation via the radio as the prime minister of independent Bangladesh
17 April Formal oath as the prime minister at Mujib Nagar
17 April-16 Dec Led the war of independence against the Pakistani occupation army and achieved victory on 16 December 1971
24 December Returned to Dhaka from Mujib Nagar with the members of his ministry
12 January 1972 Voluntarily quit (the first ever in the history of Bangladesh) the prime ministerial post. Took oath as the Finance and Planning minister
30 June 1972 Gave the first national budget
24 Sept 1972 Gave speech in the Commonwealth conference of the finance ministers
26 April 1973 Represented Bangladesh in the ADB conference held in Manila
14 April 1974 Second National budget
21 Nov 1973 Five Year Fiscal Plan
28 July 1973 Attended the IMF committee meeting
26 September 1973 Represented Bangladesh in the annual conference of International Monitory Fund and the World Bank held at Nairobi
16 January 1974 Ministerial speech at the IMF conference in Rome
20 January 1974 Resigned from the post of the General Secretary of Awami League
24 April 1974 Ministerial speech at the ADB conference in Kuala Lumpur
8 June 1974 Ministerial speech at the IMF conference in Washington
August 1974 Saudi Arab, Kuwait and Iraq visit
September 1974 USSR visit
26 October 1974 Quit the ministry on Mujib’s call (thanks to Mostak gang’s ascendancy over Mujib)
15 August 1975 Assassination of Mujib and Tajuddin house arrested by the coup leaders (Cols Faruk / Rashid) and Mostak
23 August 1975 Taken to the Dhaka central jail on Mostak’s order
3 November 1975 Bayoneted to death in Dhaka central jail by the troops led by Risalder Moslem and sent by the coup leaders (Cols Faruk / Rashid) on express order from Mostak, the president.

 

Stamp commemorating Tajuddin Ahmed

Stamp commemorating Tajuddin Ahmed

Tajuddin’s Appeal to the International Community in support of Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971

TO THE PEOPLE OF THE WORLD

A statement issued by the Prime Minister of Bangla Desh Tajuddin Ahmad, on 17.04.1971

Bangla Desh is at war. It has been given no choice but to secure its right of self-determination through a national liberation struggle against the colonial oppression of West Pakistan.

In the face of positive attempts by the Government to distort the facts in a desperate attempt to cover up their war of genocide in Bangla Desh, the world must be told the circumstances under which the peace-loving people of Bangla Desh were driven to substitute armed struggle for parliamentary politics to realize the just aspirations of the people of Bangla Desh.

The Six Point Program for autonomy for Bangla Desh within Pakistan had been put forward in all sincerity by the Awami League as the last possible solution to preserve the integrity of Pakistan. Fighting the elections to the National Assembly on the issue of Six Points, the Awami League won 167 out of 169 seats from Bangla Desh out of a house of 313. Its electoral victory was so decisive that it won 80% of the popular votes cast. The decisive nature of its victory placed it in a clear majority within the National Assembly.

The post election period was a time of hope, for never had a people spoken so decisively in the history of parliamentary democracy. It was widely believed in both wings that a viable constitution based on six points could be worked out. The Pakistan Peoples party which emerged as the leading party in Sind and Punjab had avoided raising the issue of Six Points in their election campaign and had no obligation whatsoever to its electorate to resist it. In Baluchistan the dominant party, National Awami Party, was fully committed to Six Points. In NWFP, the NAP dominant in the Provincial Assembly, was also a believer in maximum autonomy. The course of the elections, which marked the defeat of the reactionary parties, therefore, gave every reason to be optimistic about the future of democracy in Pakistan. Preparatory to the convening of the National Assembly talks were expected between the main parties in the political areas. However, whilst the Awami League was always willing, preparatory to going to the Assembly, to explain its constitutional position and to discuss alternative proposals from other parties, it is believed that the spirit of true democracy demanded that the constitution be debated and finalized in the National Assembly rather tan in secret sessions. To this end, it insisted on an early summoning of the National Assembly. In anticipation of this session, the Awami League worked day and night to prepare a draft constitution based on Six Points and fully examined all the implications of formulating and implementing such a constitution.

The first major talks over Pakistan’s political future took place between General yahya and Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in Mid-January. In this session General proved the extent of the Awami League’s commitment to its program and was assured that they were fully aware of its implications. But contrary to expectation did not fully spell out his own ideas about the constitution. General gave the impression of not finding anything seriously objectionable in Six Points but emphasized the need for coming to an understanding with the PPP in Western Pakistan.

The next round of talks took place between the PPP and the Awami League from 27th January, 1971 in Dacca where Mr. Bhutto and his team held a number of sessions with the Awami League to discuss the constitution.

As in the case with, Mr. Bhutto did not bring any concrete proposals of his own about the nature of the constitution. He and is advisors were mainly interested in discussing the implications of Six Points. Since their responses were essentially negative and they had no prepared brief of their own it was not possible for the talks to develop into serious negotiations where attempts could be made to bridge the gap between the two parties. It was evident that as yet Mr. Bhutto had no formal position of his own from which to negotiate.

It must be made clear that when the PPP left Dacca there was no indication from their part that a deadlock had been reached with the Awami League. Rather they confirmed that all doors were open and that following a round of talks with the West Pakistani leaders the PPP would either have a second and more substantive round of talks with the Awami League or would meet in the National Assembly whose committees provided ample opportunity for detailed discussion on the constitution.

Mr. Bhutto’s announcement to boycott the National Assembly, therefore, came as a complete surprise. The boycott decision was surprising because Mr. Bhutto had already been accommodated once by the President when he refused Sheikh Mujib’s plea for an early session of the Assembly on the 15th of February and fixed it, in line with Mr. Bhutto’s preference, for 3rd March.

Following his decision to boycott the Assembly, Mr. Bhutto Launched a campaign of intimidation against all other parties in West Pakistan to prevent them from attending the session. In this task there is evidence that Lt. General Umer, Chairman of the National Security Council and close associate of, with a view to strengthening Mr. Bhutto’s hand, personally pressured various West Wing leaders not to attend the Assembly. In spite of this display of pressure tactics by Mr. Bhutto and Lt. Gen Umer, all members of the National Assembly from West Pakistan, except the PPP and the Qayyum Muslim League, had booked their seats to East Pakistan, for the session on 3rd March.

Within the QML itself, half their members had booked their seats and there were signs of revolt within the PPP where many members were wanting to come to Dacca. Faced with the breakdown of this joint front against Bangla Desh, General obliged Mr. Bhutto on 1st March by postponing the Assembly, not for any definite period, but sine die. Moreover he dismissed the Governor of East Pakistan, Admiral S. M. Ahsan, who was believed to be one of the moderates in his administration. The Cabinet with its component of Bengalis was also dismissed so that all power was concentrated in the hands of the West Wing military junta.

In these circumstances Yahya’s gesture could not be seen as anything but an attempt to frustrate the popular will by colluding with Mr. Bhutto. The National Assembly was the only forum where Bangla Desh could assert its voice and political strength, and to frustrate this was a clear indication that Parliament was not to be the real source of power in Pakistan.

The reaction to the postponement in Bangla Desh was inevitable and spontaneous and throughout the land people took to the streets to record their protest at this arbitrary act. People now felt sure that they (Pakistani authority) never really intended to transfer power, and was making a mockery of parliamentary politics. The popular mood felt that the rights of Bangla Desh could never be realized within the framework of Pakistan, where could so blatantly frustrate the summoning of an assembly proclaimed by his own writ and urged that Sheikh Mujibur Rahman must go for full independence.

Sheikh Mujib however continued to seek a political settlement. In calling for a program of non-cooperation on 3rd March he chose the weapon of peaceful confrontation against the army of occupation as an attempt to bring them to their senses. This was in itself a major gesture in the face of the cold blooded firing on unarmed demonstrators on the 2nd and 3rd March which had already led to over a thousand casualties.

The course of the non-cooperation movement is now a part of history. Never in the course of any liberation struggle has non-cooperation been carried to the limits attained within Bangla Desh between first and 25th March. Non-cooperation was total. No judge of the High Court could be found to administer the oath of office to the new Governor Lt. General Tikka Khan. The entire civilian administration including he police and the Civil Service of Pakistan, refused to attend office. The people stopped supply of food to the army. Even the civilian employees of the Defense establishment joined the boycott.

Non-cooperation did not stop at abstention from work. The civilian administration and the police positively pledged their support to Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and put themselves under his orders.

In this situation the Awami League without being a formally constituted Government, was forced to take on the responsibility of keeping the economy and administration running whilst non-cooperation lasted. In this task they had the unqualified support not only of the people but the administration and the business community. The latter two subordinated themselves to the directives of the Awami League and accepted them as the sole authority to solve their various problems.

In these unique circumstances the economy and administration were kept going in spite of the formidable problems arising out of the power vacuum which has suddenly emerged in Bangla Desh. In spite of the lack of any formal authority, Awami League volunteers, in cooperation with the police, maintained a level of law and order which was a considerable improvement on normal times.

Faced with this demonstration of total support to the Awami League and this historic non-cooperation movement, General appears to have modified his tactics. On the 6th March, he still seemed determined to provoke a confrontation when he made his highly provocative speech putting the full blame on the crisis, on the Awami League and not even referring to the architect of the crisis, Mr. Bhutto. It seems that he expected a declaration of independence on 7th March. The Army in Dacca was put on full alert to crush the move and Lt. Gen. Tikka Khan was flown in to replace Lt. Gen. Yakub to signify the hardening of attitudes within the Junta.

Sheikh Mujib, however, once again opted for the path of political settlement in spite of massive public sentiment for independence. In presenting his 4-point proposal for attending the National Assembly he not only had to contain the public mood but to leave a way open for to explore this last chance of a peaceful settlement.

It is now clear that Pakistani Generals never had the slightest intention of solving Pakistan’s political crisis peacefully but were only interested in buying time to permit the reinforcement of their military machine within Bangla Desh. Yahya’s visit to Dacca was a mere cover for his plan of genocide. It now becomes clear that contingency plans for such a crisis had already begun well in advance of the crisis. Shortly before 1st March tanks which had been sent north to Rangpur to defend the borders were brought back to Dacca. From the 1st March the families of Army personnel were being sent off to West Pakistan on a priority basis as were the families of West Pakistani businessmen.

The military build-up was accelerated after 1st March and continued throughout the talks up to 25th March. Members of the armed forces dressed in civilian clothes were flown in PIA commercial flights via Ceylon. C 130s carrying arms and provisions for the garrisons flew in to Dacca. It is estimated that up to one division, with complementary support, was brought into Bangla Desh between 1st and 25th March. To ensure security, the airport was put under strict air force control and heavily guarded with artillery and machine gun nets whilst movement of passengers was strictly supervised. As SSG commando group especially trained in operations in sabotage and assassinations was distributed in key centers of Bangla Desh and were probably responsible for the attacks on Bengalis in Dacca and Saidpur in the two days before 25th march to provoke clashes between locals and non-locals so as to provide a cover for military intervention.

As part of this strategy of deception adopted the most conciliatory posture in his talks with Mujib. In the talks beginning on the 16th of march, he expressed regrets for what had happened and his sincere desire for a political settlement. In a crucial meeting with Sheikh Mujib he was asked to positively state the Juntas position on the Awami Leagues 4-point proposal. He indicated that there was no serious objection and that an interim constitution could be worked out by the respective advisors embodying the four points.

The basic points on which agreement was reached were:

  • 1.Lifting of Martial Law and transfer of power to a Civilian Government by a Presidential Proclamation.
  • 2. Transfer of power in the provinces to the majority parties
  • 3. To remain as President and in control of the Central Government
  • 4. Separate sittings of the National Assembly members from East an West Pakistan preparatory to a joint session of the house to finalize the constitution.

Contrary to the distortions now put out by both Yahya and Bhutto the proposal for separate sittings of the Assembly was suggested by to accommodate Mr. Bhutto. Hi cite the practical advantage that whilst 6-points provided a viable blueprint to regulate relations between Bangla Desh and the Center its application would raise serious difficulties in the West Wing. For this reason West Wing MNAs must be permitted to get together to work out a new pattern of relationships in the context of the Six-point constitution and the dissolution of One Unit.

Once this agreement in principle had been reached between Sheikh Mujib and there was only the question of defining the powers of Bangla Desh vis-a-vis the Center during the interim phase. Here it was again jointly agreed that the distribution of power should as far as possible approximate to the final constitution approved by the National Assembly which, it was expected, would be based on Six Points.

For working out this part of the interim settlement Mr. M. M. Ahmed, the Economic Advisor to the President was specially flown in. In his talks with the Awami League advisors he made it clear that provided the political agreement had been reached there were no insuperable problem to working out some version of Six Points even in the interim period. The final list of three amendments to the Awami League draft which he presented as suggestions, indicated that the gap between the Government and Awami League position was no longer one of principle but remained merely over the precise phrasing of the proposals. The Awami league in its sitting of 24th March had accepted the amendments with certain minor changes of language and there was nothing to prevent the holding of a final drafting session between the advisors of the President and Mujib when the interim constitution would be finalized.

It must be made clear that at no stage was there any breakdown of talks or any indication by General or his team that they had a final position which could not be abandoned.

The question of legal cover for the transfer of power is merely another belated fabrication by to cover his genocide. He and his team had agreed that, in line with the precedence of the Indian Independence Act of 1947, power could be transferred by Presidential Proclamation. The notion that there would be no legal cover to the agreement raised subsequently by Mr. Bhutto and endorsed by General (Yahya) was never a bone of contention between Sheikh Mujib and Pakistani authorities. There is not the slightest doubt that had indicated that a meeting of the National Assembly was essential to transfer power, the Awami League would not have broken the talks on such a minor legal technicality. After all as the majority party it had nothing to fear from such a meeting and its acceptance of the decision for a separate sitting was designed to accommodate Mr. Bhutto rather than a fundamental stand from the party.

Evidence that agreement in principle between contending parties had been reached is provided by Mr. Bhutto’s own Press Conference on 25th March. It is not certain what passed in the separate session between General and Mr. Bhuttto but there is evidence that deliberate falsehoods about the course of the talk with the Awami League were fed to the PPP who were told that Sheikh Mujib was determined to have a showdown and was daily escalating his demands. Needless to say not the slightest indication of these misgivings have been raised in the meetings between the Awami League team and General Yahyas advisors where amicability and optimism prevailed to the end.

Whilst hope for a settlement was being raised more ominous signs of the intentions of the army were provided by their sudden decision to unload the munitions ship MV Swat berthed at Chittagong Port. Preparatory to this decision, Brigadier Mazumdar, a Bengali officer commanding the garrison in Chittagong had been suddenly removed from his command and replaced by a West Pakistani. On 24th night he was flown to Dacca under armed escort and has probably been executed. Under the new command notice was given to local authorities of the decision to unload the ship in spite of the fact that the army had abstained from doing so for the last 17 days in the face of non-cooperation from the port workers. The decision to unload was a calculated provocation which immediately brought 100,000 people on the streets of Chittagong and led to massive firing by the Army to break their way out. The issue was raised by the Awami League with General Peerzada as to why this escalation was being permitted whilst talks were still going on. He gave no answer beyond a promise to pass it on to General.

Following the final meeting between General Yahya’s and Awami League’s advisors on 24th March where Mr. M.M. Ahmed passed on his amendments, a call was awaited from General Peerzada for a final session where the draft could be finalized. No such call materialized and instead it was learnt that Mr. M. M. Ahmed, who was central to the negotiations, had suddenly left for Karachi on the 25th morning without and warning to the Awami League team.

By 11P.M. of the 25th all preparations were ready and the troops began to take up their positions in the city. In an act of treachery unparalleled in contemporary history a program of calculated genocide was unleashed on the peaceful and unsuspecting population of Dacca by midnight of 25th March. No ultimatum was given to the Awami League, no curfew order was even issued when the machine guns, artillery and canon on the tanks unleashed their reign of death and destruction. By the time the first Martial Law proclamations issued by Lt. General Tikka Kahn were broadcast the next morning some 50,000 people, most of them without offering any resistance, and many women and children, had been butchered. Dacca had been turned into an inferno with fires raging in most corners of the city. Sleeping inhabitants who have been drawn from their homes by the fires started by the military, were machine gunned as they ran to escape the flames.

Whilst the police, EPR, and armed volunteers put up a heroic resistance, the main victims remained the weak, the innocent and the unsuspecting who were killed at random in their thousands. We are compiling a first hand account of the details of genocide committed by the Pakistani Army on the orders of the President of Pakistan which we will publish shortly. The scale and brutality of the action exceeds anything perpetrated in the civilized world.

The President (Yahya) himself left Dacca on the night of 25th March after having unleashed the Pakistan Army, with an open license to commit genocide on all Bengalis. His own justification for this act of barbarism was not forthcoming till 8 P.M. the next day when the world was given its first explanation for the unleashing of this holocaust. This statement was self-contradictory and laced with positive lies. His branding of a party as traitors and outlaws, with whom he had only 48 hours ago been negotiating for a peaceful transfer of power, bore no relationship to the situation in Bangla Desh or the course of the negotiations. His promise to hand over power to the elected representatives of the people after banning the Awami League which was the sole representative of Bangla Desh and held a majority of seats in the National Assembly was a mockery of the freely recorded voice of 75 million Bengalis. The crudity of the statement was clear evidence that he was no longer interested in taking shelter behind either logic or morality and had reverted to the law of the jungle in his bid to crush the people of Bangla Desh.

Pakistan is now dead and buried under a mountain of corpses. The hundreds and thousands of people murdered by the (Pak) army in Bangla Desh will act as an impenetrable barrier between West Pakistan and the people of Bangla Desh. By resorting to pre-planned genocide must have known that he was himself digging Pakistans grave. The subsequent massacres perpetrated on his orders by his licensed killers on the people were not designed to preserve the unity of a nation. They were acts of racial hatred and sadism devoid of even the elements of humanity. professional Soldiers, on orders, violated their code of military honor and were seen as beasts of prey who indulged in an orgy of murder, rape, loot, arson and destruction unequaled in the annals of civilization. These acts indicate that the concept of two countries is already deeply rooted in the minds of his associates who would not otherwise dare commit such atrocities on their own countrymen.

Yahya’s genocide is thus without political purpose. It serves only as the last act in the tragic history of Pakistan which has chosen to write with the blood of the people of Bangla Desh. The objective is genocide and scorched-earth before his troops are either driven out or perish. In this time he hopes to liquidate our political leadership, intelligence and administration, to destroy our industries and public amenities and as a final act he intends to raze our cities to the ground. Already his occupation army has made substantial progress towards this objective. Bangla Desh will be set back 50 years as West Pakistans parting gift to a people they have exploited for 23 years for their own benefit.

This is a point of major significance to those great powers who choose to ignore this largest single act of genocide since the days of Belsen and Auschwitz. If they think they are preserving the unity of Pakistan they can forget it because the president (Yahya) himself has no illusions about the future of Pakistan. They must realize that Pakistan is dead and murdered by – and that independent Bangla Desh is a reality sustained by the indestructible will and courage of 75 million Bengalis who are daily nurturing the roots of this new nationhood with their blood. No power on earth can unmake this new nation and sooner or later both big and small powers will have to accept it into the world fraternity.

It is therefore, in the interest of politics as much as humanity for the big powers to put their full pressure on to cage his killers and bring them back to West Pakistan. We will be eternally grateful to the people of USSR and India and the freedom loving people of all countries for their full support they have already given us in this struggle. We would welcome similar support from the Peoples Republic of China, USA, France, Great Britain and all Afro Asian countries who have freed themselves from colonial rule and from all freedom loving countries. Each in their own way should exercise considerable leverage on West Pakistan; and were they to exercise this influence, could not sustain his war of aggression against Bangla Desh for a single day longer.

Bangla Desh will be the eighth most populous country in the world. Its only goal will be to rebuild the nation from the ashes and carnage left behind by Yahya’s occupation army. It will be a stupendous task because of destruction of economy by Yahya’s army in our already underdeveloped and overpopulated region. But we now have a cause and a people who have been hardened in the resistance, who have shed their blood for their nation and won their freedom in an epic struggle which pitted unarmed people against a modern army. Such a nation cannot fail in its task of securing the foundations of its nationhood.

In our struggle for survival we seek the friendship of all people, the big powers and the small. We do not aspire to join any bloc or pact but will seek assistance from those who give it in a spirit of goodwill free from any desire to control our destinies. We have struggled far too long for our self determination to permit ourselves to become anyone’s satellite.

We now appeal to the nations of the world for recognition and assistance both material and moral in our struggle for nationhood. Every day this is delayed a thousand lives are lost and more of Bangla Deshs vital assets are destroyed. In the name of Humanity act now and earn our undying friendship.

This we now present to the world as the CASE of the people of Bangla Desh. Bangla Desh has earned her right to recognition at great cost, as the people of Bangla Desh made sacrifices of unequal magnitude and fought hard in order to establish the rightful place for Bangla Desh in the community of Nations.

Mujib and Taj: The liberators of Bangladesh

Mujib and Taj: The liberators of Bangladesh

“Lilie, said Tajuddin I never made a wrong decision in my whole life. But the deadliest mistake of my life was not leaving home in the fatal night of 15 August.” – Tajuddin to his wife

“……. I had to bury a huge pain in the hearts of my heart. Mujib bhai who was embedded in my mind forever, Mujib bhai who over the years became part of my being, that Mujib bhai never asked me, even for a day, Tajuddin what did you do in 71 when I was away. Never asked Tajuddin, you tell me, I’d like to hear about 71…..” – My Childhood in 1971 and my dad Tajuddin Ahmad: Shimeen Hussain Rimi

Books on Tajuddin Ahmad
1. Muldhara 71: Muyeedul Hasan. UPL
2. Tajuddin Ahmad’s Diary (Vol I & II), Pratibhas, Dhaka, 1999
3. Tajuddin Ahmad: Endless Stream of Light: Simeedn Hossaiin Rimi, Pratibhas, Dhaka 2006
4. Shakkhi Chilo Shirostran – Suhan Rizwan, Dhaka 2015

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Major General J. F. R. Jacob http://www.genocidebangladesh.org/major-general-j-f-r-jacob/ Wed, 23 Mar 2016 22:54:00 +0000 http://www.genocidebangladesh.org/?p=669  Jacob (far right) presents his books to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Three Chiefs (Army-Air Force-Navy) are also present. Image via Wikimedia Commons. CC BY-SA 3.0

Jacob (far right) presents his books to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Three Chiefs (Army-Air Force-Navy) are also present. Image via Wikimedia Commons. CC BY-SA 3.0

Jacob Farj Rafael “J. F. R.” Jacob (1923 – 13 January 2016) as a Major General with Indian army, served as the Chief of Staff of the Indian Army’s Eastern Command during the war. During his 36-year career in the army, he also fought in World War II and the Indo-Pakistan War of 1965. He later served as the Governor of the Indian states of Goa and Punjab.

Jewish general led Indian army in 1971 war

By SHELDON KIRSHNER

In the annals of modern warfare, the 1971 war between India and Pakistan is regarded as a template of brilliance. Within 13 days, the Indian army routed Pakistan in one of the swiftest campaigns of the 20th century.

Occasionally compared to Israel’s victory in the 1967 Six Day War, and studied at military academies as a textbook example of efficient planning, the Indo-Pakistan war gave rise to a new state, Bangladesh, and established India as a regional superpower.

The major general who masterminded and spearheaded India’s offensive, and who accepted Pakistan’s surrender, was Jack Frederick Ralph Jacob, the scion of an old Jewish family from Calcutta. A spry bachelor of 81 who retired in 1978 as the commander of India’s eastern army, he considers that war the highlight of a long and distinguished career as a soldier. Having written a book about it, Surrender at Dacca, published in 2001 by Manohar, he claims that the war was “surely the greatest military feat in our history.”

Although historians are acquainted with his resumé, Jacob is not exactly a household name outside India. As I prepared for my trip to India late last year, I ran across his name in my research. Intrigued by the possibility of interviewing a Jewish warrior from an exotic country whose Jewish community is rooted in antiquity, I asked to meet him.

When I arrived in New Delhi on my last day in India, following relatively brief flights from Cochin and Mumbai, B.B. Mukherjee, a helpful contact from the ministry of tourism, was at the terminal to greet me with the news that Jacob had consented to an interview. I was pleased, but the timing was hardly fortuitous. I was tired, coming down with a cold and a hoarse voice, and my flight back to Toronto was just hours away. Nevertheless, I told Mukherjee I would be ready to talk to Jacob at his home in New Delhi at around five o’clock.

After a shower and change of clothes, I met Mukherjee in my hotel lobby, and off we drove to Jacob’s flat in a non-descript gray apartment building in the centre of this sprawling city and capital of India. When we arrived, one of his Nepalese houseboys opened the door and ushered us into a dimly lit room filled with French furniture and crowded with original Mogul art on the walls.

Jacob, a surprisingly small man with a café au lait complexion and a formal manner, was smartly decked out in a blue blazer, creased pants, shirt and tie. He motioned me to sit down next to him on a narrow couch.

I began by asking him about his role in the war – the 33rd anniversary of which was marked shortly before my trip to India – and his decision to become a soldier. Jacob, whose Baghdadi family settled in Calcutta more than 200 years ago and whose father – Elias Emanuel – was a businessman, was quite effusive, enunciating his words in a posh upper-class Indian accent.

A brigadier-general by 1963 and a major-general by 1967, he was appointed chief of the Eastern Command in 1969 by Gen. Sam Maneckshaw, the Parsi chief of staff. Jacob’s immediate superior was Lt. Gen. J.S. Aurora, a Sikh.

Jacob joined the British army in the summer of 1941 while at university and when India was still a British colony. He did so, he said, “to fight the Nazis.” After graduating from officers training school in 1942, he was posted to northern Iraq in anticipation of a possible German thrust to seize the Kirkuk oil fields. He trained with Glubb Pasha’s Arab Legion, which would be the backbone of Jordan’s army. In the wake of Japan’s defeat, he was assigned to Sumatra. Returning to an independent India after taking a gunnery course in Britain, Jacob commanded a mountain battery and served in an armoured division. Then, in short order, he took artillery and missile courses in the United States and was a general staff officer at Western Command headquarters.

“I didn’t plan to be a career officer,” he said. “I liked the army and stayed on. I did everything I was supposed to do.”

During the mid-1960s, when India fought a war with Pakistan, he was the commandant of the School of Artillery. Subsequently, he was in charge of an infantry division in Rajasthan, where he wrote a much-praised manual on desert warfare. Promoted to chief of staff of the Eastern Command, based in Calcutta, Jacob was soon grappling with insurgencies in Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram.

The Eastern Command was a sensitive one. The partition of the Indian sub-continent in 1947 had led to the emergence of India and Pakistan, which was made up of two distinct and geographically disconnected areas. Although East Pakistan was more populous than West Pakistan, political power rested with the western elite, causing resentment, unrest and calls for autonomy in the other half.

By 1971, East Pakistan was in revolt, and Pakistan’s ruler, Yahya Khan, cracked down. As the violence escalated, with a massive loss of life and an exodus of millions of Hindu refugees into Indian territory, Indo-Pakistani tensions rose.

When India’s prime minister, Indira Gandhi, extended assistance to Bengali rebels who sought to break away from Pakistan and form their own country, Pakistan responded first by attacking rebel camps in India and then, on Dec. 3, by bombing nine northern Indian airfields. In a dramatic broadcast to the nation, Gandhi declared war on Pakistan.

Having watched these developments with mounting concern, Jacob realized that conflict was imminent. “We knew we would have to intervene, but we hardly had any infrastructure and had to build it up,” he recalled.

In consultation with his superiors, he refined his plan to engage Pakistan in a “war of movement” in difficult terrain with few bridges and roads, crisscrossed by rivers and broken up by swamps, mangroves and paddy fields. Jacob’s strategy was clear. Dacca – the heart of East Pakistan – would be captured and Pakistani forces bypassed. Pakistan’s communication centres would be secured and its command and control capabilities destroyed, while its forces would be drawn to the border. Some Indian commanders raised objections to the unorthodox plan, but it was finally approved.

“I planned for a three-week campaign, but it went faster than I expected,” said Jacob, who instinctively understood that speed was essential and that a protracted war would not be in India’s interests: The United Nations would apply pressure on India to halt its offensive, and the Soviet Union – India’s ally – might not be able to fend off calls for a ceasefire.

As fighting raged, Jacob flew to Dacca and wrested unconditional surrender terms from his opposite number, Gen. Amir Niazi, who would later accuse Jacob of having blackmailed him into submission.

“It was a total victory over a formidable, well-trained army,” he observed. “Had Pakistan fought on, it would have been difficult for us.” Indian casualties were 1,421 killed and 4,058 wounded. “We expected higher casualties,” he admitted. The Pakistani figures were much higher, in India’s estimation: 6,761 killed and 8,000 wounded.

Jacob, who calls Surrender at Dacca the most authoritative and objective account of the war to date, ascribed his victory to a few factors – imaginative planning, flexibility of approach, the capacity to react to shifting and perhaps unforeseen events and, of course, luck. But for Jacob, a keen student of warfare, historical context was always of crucial importance. As he put it, “I’ve learned from every campaign since Alexander the Great and Napoleon.”

Looking back, he described his 37-year career in the army as “the happiest and most enjoyable period of my life.” Never once did he feel the sting of anti-Semitism in the Indian army. “But I had some problems with the British,” he said, declining to elaborate. “I don’t like to talk about it.”

Interestingly enough, Jacob – whose Hebrew name is Yaacov Rafael and who serves as president of New Delhi’s one and only synagogue – was not the only high-ranking Jewish officer in the armed forces. “There was another Jewish general, a chap named Samson, and he was in research and development and ordnance. And there was also a Jewish vice-admiral.”

Upon leaving the army, Jacob went into business. But in 1998, he was called out of retirement to be governor of Goa, a former Portuguese colony popular with Israeli tourists. He remained there until 1999, when he assumed the governorship of Punjab, a job he held until 2003.

A three-time visitor to Israel who was once invited there by Yitzhak Rabin when he was the prime minister, Jacob was also on friendly terms with Mordechai Gur, a former Israeli chief of staff. Jacob played an indirect role in India’s decision to establish diplomatic relations with Israel in 1992, but he refused to talk about his role in that diplomatic rapprochement.

Referring to himself as “a very private person,” he was likewise reluctant to speak about his family, apart from saying that his brothers and sisters are deceased.

Today, in his twilight years, Jacob is a writer and lecturer on military and political affairs. But he wryly described his current status as “unemployed.”

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A khaki dissident on 1971 http://www.genocidebangladesh.org/a-khaki-dissident-on-1971/ Mon, 03 Jan 2011 13:49:22 +0000 http://www.genocidebangladesh.org/?p=562 by Colonel Nadir Ali, retired Army Officer , Punjabi poet and short story writer

“It is Mujib’s home district. Kill as many bastards as you can and make sure there is no Hindu left alive,” I was ordered. I frequently met Mr Fazlul Qadir Chaudhry, Maulana Farid Ahmed and many other Muslim League and Jamaat leaders. In the Army, you wear no separate uniform. We all share the guilt. We may not have killed. But we connived and were part of the same force

During the fateful months preceding the dismemberment of Pakistan, I served as a young Captain, meantime promoted to the rank of the Major, in Dhaka as well as Chittagong. In my position as second-in-command and later as commander, I served with 3 Commando Battalion.

My first action was in mid April 1971. “It is Mujib-ur-Rahman’s home district. It is a hard area. Kill as many bastards as you can and make sure there is no Hindu left alive,” I was ordered.

“Sir, I do not kill unarmed civilians who do not fire at me,” I replied.

“Kill the Hindus. It is an order for everyone. Don’t show me your commando finesse!”.

I flew in for my first action. I was dropped behind Farid Pur. I made a fire base and we fired all around. Luckily there was nobody to shoot at. Then suddenly I saw some civilians running towards us. They appeared unarmed. I ordered “Stop firing!” and shouted at villagers, questioning them what did they want. “Sir we have brought you some water to drink!”, was the brisk reply.

I ordered my subordinates to put the weapons away and ordered a tea-break. We remained there for hours. Somebody brought and hoisted a Pakistani flag. “Yesterday I saw all Awami League flags over your village” I told the villagers. That was indeed the fact. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. Later the main army column caught up to make contact. They arrived firing with machine guns all around and I saw smoke columns rising in villages behind them. “What’s the score?” the Colonel asked.

“There was no resistance so we didn’t kill anyone,” he was informed.

He fired from his machine gun and some of the villagers who had brought us water, fell dead. “That is the way my boy,” the Colonel told this poor Major.

I was posted there from early April to early October. We were at the heart of events. A team from my unit had picked up Sheikh Mujib Ur Rehman from his residence on 25th March, 1971. We were directly under the command of Eastern Command. As SSG battalion commander, I received direct orders from General Niazi, General Rahim and later Gen Qazi Majid of 14 Div Dhaka.

Ironically, the resistance was led by General Zia Ur Rehman (later to become Bangladesh’s military ruler) was a fellow instructor at Pakistan Military Academy. Similarly, General Khalid Musharaf, who overthrew Zia in a counter-coup, was my course mate as well as a room-mate at the Pakistan Military Academy (PMA). He was also a fellow officer in SSG. Brig Abu Tahir, who brought General Zia back to power in a counter-counter coup, was also a friend and fellow officer in SSG. He was a leftist, jailed and later hanged by Gen Zia Ur Rehman whom he brought back to power in the fateful months in Bangladesh’s history, after the murder of founding father, Sheikh Mujib Ur Rehman.

Another leftist friend was Major Zia Ud Din. He was a freedom fighter and as Naxalite remained under ground from 1971 to1989 when a general amnesty was declared.

I came back to West Pakistan for getting my promotion to Lt. Colonel, in my parent corp, Ordnance, in October 1971.From December 1971 onwards, I began to suffer memory loss till my retirement on medical grounds in 1973. I remained in the nut house for six months in 1973. As a Punjabi writer, I regained my memory and rebuilt my life. I remember every moment from the year 1971.

For operations and visits to my sub units, I travelled all over East Pakistan. I never killed anybody nor ever ordered any killing. I was fortunately not even witness to any massacre. But I knew what was going on in every sector. Thousands were killed and millions rendered homeless. Over nine million went as refugees to India. An order was given to kill the Hindus. I received the same order many times and was reminded of it . The West Pakistani soldiery considered that Kosher. The Hamood Ur Rehman Commission Report mentions this order. Of the ninety-three lakh (9.3 million) refugees in India, ninety lakh were Hindus .That gave us, world-wide, a bad press and morally destroyed us. Military defeat was easy due to feckless military leader ship. Only couple of battalions in the north offered some resistance. For example, the unit of Major Akram, who was awarded highest military medal, Nishan-e-Haider, resisted and he lost his life.

East Pakistan, part of the country a thousand miles away, was “a geographical and political absurdity” as John Gunther said in “Inside Asia Today”.

With federal capital in Islamabad, dominated by West Pakistani civil servants and what they called a Punjabi Army, East Pakistanis felt like subjects of a colony. They never liked it ever since 1947. In early sixties, my fellow Bengali officers called each other general, a rank they would have in an independent East Pakistan. We all took it in good humour. But 1971 was not a joke. Every single Bengali felt oppressed. Their life and death was now in the hands of what they called “Shala Punjabies”.

I granted a long interview, recounting what I saw and felt in 1971, to BBC Urdu Service in December 2007. The Bangladesh Liberation Museum asked for a copy of the interview. It was too lengthy for me to transcribe, translate and type. Here, I attempt to re-collect bits and pieces yet again.

What drove me mad? Well I felt the collective guilt of the Army action which at worst should have stopped by late April 1971. Moreover, when I returned to West Pakistan, here nobody was pushed about what had happened or was happening in East Pakistan. Thousands of innocent fellow citizens had been killed, women were raped and millions were ejected from their homes in East Pakistan but West Pakistan was calm. It went on and on .The world outside did not know very much either. This owes to the fact that reporters were not there. General Tikka was branded as “Butcher Of Bengal”. He hardly commanded for two weeks. Even during those two weeks, the real command was in the hands of General Mitha, his second-in-command. General Mitha literally knew every inch of Bengal. He personally took charge of every operation till General Niazi reached at the helm. At this juncture, General Mitha returned to GHQ. General Tikka, as governor, was a good administrator and made sure that all services ran. Trains, ferries, postal services, telephone lines were functioning and offices were open. There was no shortage of food, anywhere by May 1971. All in all, a better administrative situation than Pakistan of today ! But like Pakistan of today, nobody gave a damn about what happens to the poor and the minorities. My worry today is whether my granddaughter goes to Wisconsin University or Harvard. That nobody gets any education in my very large village or in the Urdu-medium schools of Lahore, where I have lived as for forty years so called concerned citizen, does not worry me or anyone else.

In Dhaka, where I served most of the time, there was a ghostly feeling until about mid April 1971. But gradually life returned to normal in the little circuit I moved: Cantonment, Dacca Club, Hotel Intercontinental, the Chinese restaurant near New Market. Like most human beings, I was not looking beyond my nose. I moved around a lot in the city. My brother-in-law, Riaz Ahmed Sipra was serving as SSP Dhaka. We met almost daily. But the site of rendezvous were officers’ mess, some club or a friend’s house in Dhan Mandi. Even if I could move everywhere, I did not peep into the hearts of the Bengalis. They were silent but felt oppressed and aware of the fact that the men in uniforms were masters of their lives and properties. I frequently met Mr Fazlul Qadir Chaudhry, Maulana Farid Ahmed and many other Muslim League and Jamaat leaders in one government office or the other. Prof. Ghulam Azam and Ch Rehmat Elahi also used to meet me to provide me volunteers to carry out sabotage across the Indian Border.

Dr Yasmin Sakia, an Indian scholar teaching in America, told me once an anecdote. When she asked why in the 1990s she could not find any cooperation in tracing rape-victims of 1971, she was told by a victim,” Those who offered us to the Army are rulers now.”

One can tell and twist the tale. The untold part also matters in history. Two Bengali soldiers whom I released from custody, were issued weapons and put back in uniform. They became POWs along 90 thousand Pakistani soldiers and spent three years in Indian jails. I discovered one of them serving as a cook in 1976 in Lahore. I had regained my memory. “Kamal –ud-Din you?” I exclaimed on sighting him. “Sir you got me into this!”

The Pakistani Army had thrown them out. The other guy teaches in Dhaka now.

The untold part of the story is that one day I enquired about one soldier from Cammandos unit. He used to be my favourite in 1962. “Sir, Aziz-ul –Haq was killed”, the Subedar told me rather sheepishly.

“How?” was not a relevant question in those days. Still I did ask.

“Sir! first they were put in a cell, later shot in the cell”.

My worst nightmare even forty years later is the sight of fellow soldiers being shot in a cell. “How many ?” was my next question. “There were six sir, but two survived. They pretended to be dead but were alive,” came the reply.

“Where are they ?”

“In Cammilla sir, under custody”.

I flew from Dacca to Commilla. I saw two barely recognizable wraiths. Only if you know what that means to a fellow soldier! It is worse than suffering or causing a thousand deaths. I got them out, ordered their uniforms and weapons. “Go, take your salary and weapons and come back after ten days.” They came back and fought alongside, were prisoners and then were with difficulty, repatriated in 1976. Such stories differ, depending on who reports.

All these incidents, often gone unreported, are not meant to boast about my innocence. I was guilty of having volunteered to go to East Pakistan. My brother-in-law Justice Sajjad Sipra was the only one who criticized my choice of posting. “You surely have no shame,” he said to my disconcert. My army friends celebrated my march from Kakul to Lahore. We drank and sang! None of us were in two minds. We were single-mindedly murderous! In the Air Force Mess at Dacca, over Scotch, a friend who later rose to a high rank said, “ I saw a gathering of Mukti Bahini in thousands. I made a few runs and let them have it. A few hundred bastards must have been killed” My heart sank. “Dear! it is the weekly Haath (Market) day and villagers gather there,” I informed him in horror. “ Surely they were all Bingo Bastards!,” he added. There were friends who boasted about their score. I had gone on a visit to Commilla. I met my old friend, then Lt. Col. Mirza Aslam Beg and my teacher, Gen. Shaukat Raza. Both expressed their distaste for what was happening. Tony, a journalist working with state-owned news agency APP, escaped to London. He wrote about these atrocities that officers had committed and boasted about. It was all published by the ‘Times of London’. The reading made me feel guilty as if I had been caught doing it myself! In the Army, you wear no separate uniform. We all share the guilt. We may not have killed. But we connived and were part of the same force. History does not forgive!

Source: Viewpoint, a Pakistani a non-profit venture having a long history of struggle for democracy, human rights and justice in Pakistan.

http://www.viewpointonline.net/a-khaki-dissident-on-1971.html

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Bangladesh War of Independence: West Pakistani Soldiers Kill Catholic Priests http://www.genocidebangladesh.org/bangladesh-war-of-independence-west-pakistani-soldiers-kill-catholic-priests/ Sat, 01 Jan 2011 18:26:01 +0000 http://www.genocidebangladesh.org/?p=554

Photo Courtesy: Father Evans (Holy Cross Church, Luxmibazar, Dhaka),
Father Veronesi (Bishop’s House Archives, Khulna), Father Marandi
(Catholic Beginnings in North Bengal by by Luigi Pinos, P.I.M.E.)
Layout and Design: Joachim Romeo D’Costa

The Pakistani ruling elite always considered the Hindus in East Pakistan as enemies and agents of India. During their nine-month long deadly crackdown in 1971, West Pakistani soldiers not only demolished many Hindu temples, but also killed a sizable number of Hindu priests, besides Hindu intellectuals, influential persons and common folks in different parts of the eastern wing of the country.

Comparatively, Christians did not suffer that much death and destruction as suffered by the Hindus. Yet, they were not totally spared. In certain pockets of East Pakistan, death and destruction visited them as well. In many mission church and school compounds, internal refugees –Hindus, Muslims and Christians — fleeing West Pakistani military crackdown and barbarity had taken shelter. They were fed and clothed. In this process, a good number of local priests and foreign missionaries — both Catholic and Protestant — faced threats and harassment from the West Pakistani military personnel.

Three Catholic priests — two foreign and one East Pakistani — were brutally killed, too. They were:

  • Father William P. Evans, C.S.C. (1919 – 1971):

Father William P. Evans, C.S.C., killed on November 23, 1971, was an American priest and missionary, belonging to the Congregation of Holy Cross. After coming to East Pakistan, he served at different capacities in various Catholic parish churches and, one time, at the Bandura Little Flower Seminary. Finally, he was the parish priest of Golla Catholic Church in Nawabganj Upazilla of Dhaka District.

Although he was a foreigner, he loved the Bangalis dearly and empathized with them and their aspirations. He aided many internal refugees and gave moral support to the muktijuddhas (fredom fighters) of the locality. West Pakistani army personnel in that area was aware of his support of the freedom fighters.

On November 13, 1971, as usual once a week, he was going by a boat to offer Mass at Bakshanagar Village, a mission station a few kilometres away from Golla. As his boat was passing by the army camp at Nawabganj, the soldiers signaled the boat to make a stoppage at the camp. When the boat reached the shore, soldiers grabbed Father Evans and struck him so hard with the rifle butt that he fell on the ground. His body was bayonated several times and ultimately he was killed with two bullets. Then they threw his corpse into the river that carried it several kilometres downstream.

Ordinary people recovered his body and brought it to Golla Church compound. Thousands of Catholics, Muslims and Hindus of the area came to pay their last respect to this holy man before his burial at the church graveyard.

Father Evans’ innate smiling face, love of people, humility, humour, and empathy drew people of all faiths to him. He was called a “holy man.” Till now, many people visit his grave.

In the Little Flower Seminary at Bandura in the early 60’s, he was our rector. From time to time, he used to give us writing assignments in English and after checking them would give his comments. On my assignment sheets, he would often remark: “Short sentences, but complete thought. Keep up the good work.” My later journalism and writing career in life was the result of his inspiration.

Father Evans has been honoured in different ways in Bangladesh. The Tribeni Chhatra Kallyan Sangha (youth organization) in 1972 started to give “Father Evans Scholarship” to poor but excelling students. In 1973, this organization had also started “Father Evans Memorial Football Tournament”. Later Shurid Sangha (another youth organization) in old Dhaka started its annual “Shaheed Father Evans Memorial Basketball Competition” among different youth organizations.

Source: Bangladeshey Catholic Mondoli (The Catholic Church in Bangladesh)
by Jerome D’Costa (Dhaka: Pratibeshi Prakashani, 1986), pp.302-303

  • Father Mario Veronesi, S.X. (1912 – 1971):

After West Pakistani military started their crackdown on the East Pakistanis (now Bangladesh) from March 25, 1971 onwards, many people of all faiths began to take refuge in church compounds — both Catholic and Protestant. In Jessore town, a number of such people took shelter in the church compound where Father Mario Veronesi, an Italian Xaverian priest and missionary, was the parish priest.

On April 4, 1971 it was the Palm Sunday. Father was taking care of the internal refugees who had taken shelter in his church compound. When the soldiers with their rifles and sub-machine guns entered the compound and were proceeding towards the building, Father Veronesi came out to meet them with his raised hands. He had a large red cross badge on his chest because there was also the Fatima Hospital adjacent to the place. The soldiers immediately started to fire at him and the building. He got bullets in his chest and died there. The soldiers then entered the church and shot and killed four of the refugees.

Initially, he was buried in Jessore. Later his body was taken to Shimulia Catholic Church compound and re-buried near the grave of another Italian Xaverian missionary Father Valerian Cobbe, S.X., who was killed on October 14, 1974 by robbers.

After the independence of Bangladesh in December, 1971, a Muslim student, named Ismail Hossain, wrote a letter to Father Valerian Cobbe and paid tribute to Father Mario Veronesi: “At last we have achieved independence and freedom! We rejoice and thank God and ask him to help our nation progress and live in tranquility. The memory of so many victims is the thing that saddens us most and gives us great pain. The best members of our society have died. Father Mario Veronesi is among these martyrs of our independence. We feel very proud of him: he paid the highest price for our independence!”

This 58-year-old Italian was a priest for 28 years, 19 of which he spent in East Pakistan. He worked in various capacity in different parish churches under the Diocese of Khulna. He is best remembered for working for the upliftment of the poor.

Source: www.xaviermissionaries.org/M_Stories/Martyrs/Vern7.htm

  • Father Lucas Marandi (1922 – 1971):

Father Lucas Marandi, belonging to the local Santal ethnic group, was a diocesan priest for 18 years under the Diocese of Dinajpur, East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). In 1971, he was the parish priest of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church at Ruhea in Thakurgaon District. He had a strong patriotic feeling for his country when the West Pakistani army began their bloody crackdown on the East Pakistani on March 25, 1971.

Thousands upon thousands of East Pakistanis in various districts and localities were fleeing the merciless attacks of the West Pakistani soldiers. Many were taking refuge in different border districts of India.

Father Marandi received the news that four Catholic mission centres of the Diocese of Dinajpur were abandoned after the military plunderings. In the Ruhea area itself, most of the members of the minority groups and many Muslims left their abodes and fled to nearby India. His parishoners, through messengers, were appealing him time and again to leave Ruhea and join them in India.

Finally, Father Marandi decided to move. He got the church bullock cart loaded with the parish archives and his personal belongings. He told the cart driver to move towards the border that was marked by the shallow Nagor River, six miles ( kilometres) away. He then reached the riverbank on his motor cycle.

When the cart reached the designated spot, the cart and he himself on the motor cycle crossed the river together. On reaching the Indian side of the river bank, he turned toward the Ruhea Church and kept on looking intently for quite some time. His companions could realize that something ominous was going on in his mind. When someone told him to make a move towards India, Father Marandi turned toward him and said gravely: “No, it has all been a mistake! Let’s go back to Ruhea!” He then crossed the river and started to return to his church.

Father Lucas Marandi was all alone in the Ruhea church compound except a few Catholics living nearby. After three days, on April 21, 1971, a West Pakistani army jeep pulled up at the priest’s residence. Father greeted them and offered them tea and biscuits. They then left for the north. He felt quite relieved of his tension, but temporarily. After three hours the jeep returned.

Father Marandi came out again, but the soldiers pushed him inside his residence and started to torture him for the next 15 minutes or so. They bayoneted his face beyond recognition. Blood splattered all over the walls. When they left the compound, mortally wounded Father was dying.

A few Catholics who lived nearby rushed in to see what had happened. Seeing his grave condition, they decided to take him to India by the very bullock cart that Father had used earlier. Before reaching the destination, Father Lucas Marandi expired. His corpse was taken to the Catholic Church at Islampur on the Indian side of the border where he is still buried.

Sooner they left the church compound then a bunch of local looters appeared and ransacked the church and priest’s residence and carried away everything available.

Source: Catholic Beginnings in North Bengal by Father Luigi Pinos, P.I.M.E.
(Saidpur: Catholic Church, 1984), pp.26-27)

These three priests are the testimonies of the crimes against humanity perpetrated by the ferocious and brutal West Pakistani soldiers.

Used with permission from Jerome D’Costa:

http://bangladeshcanadaandbeyond.blogspot.com/2009/03/bangladesh-war-of-independence-west.html

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War Crimes File – A Documentary BY Twenty Twenty Television http://www.genocidebangladesh.org/war-crimes-file-a-documentary-by-twenty-twenty-television/ http://www.genocidebangladesh.org/war-crimes-file-a-documentary-by-twenty-twenty-television/#comments Sat, 19 Jun 2010 10:03:44 +0000 http://www.genocidebangladesh.org/?p=542 Chowdhury Mueen-Uddin’s role in Bangladesh Genocide:

In March 1971, Chowdhury Mueen-Uddin, a journalist at the Daily Purbodesh, was an active member of the Islami Chaatra Sangha (ICS) – the student wing of the Jammat-I-Islami which actively opposed Bangladesh liberation war and aided the Pakistani military.

In August 1971, the Jamaat-e-Islami, according to its own newspaper the Daily Sangram, set up the Al-Badr Squad comprising members of the ICS to violently combat the forces supporting Bangladesh’s liberation. Mueen-Uddin became a member of the Al-Badr.

Newspaper reports immediately after the intellectual killings in December 14, 1971 naming Mueen-Uddin as the prime suspect based on confessions by captured Al-Badr leaders.

Evidences:

In 1995, in a Channel 4 documentary, researchers presented a series of evidence and eyewitnesses that directly implicated Chowdhury Mueen-Uddin as the leader of the gang in at least two disappearances and killings, and one attempted disappearance. A documentary titled War Crimes File, directed by Howard Bradburn and produced by Gita Sehgal for Twenty Twenty Television broadcast as part of the Dispatches Series by Channel 4 was aired on 3 May 1995—recording eye witness accounts of Mueen-Uddin’s involvement in disappearances of journalists and other intellectuals in December 1971. David Bergman was the main researcher and reporter. [Webmaster’s note: The information was corrected as per an online news-portal’s  report]

The Video:

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Part 4:

Part 5:

Part 6:

From TORMENTING SEVENTY ONE, An account of Pakistan army’s atrocities during Bangladesh liberation war of 1971:

It (the documentary War Crimes File) created much sensation in London after it was showed in Channel Four of BBC. Elaborating the target of making the documentary, one of its makers and chief researcher David Bergman said the conscious world, including the European community raised their voice against the mass killings and war crimes committed in former Yugoslavia’s Bosnia. A strong demand was raised that the war
criminals have to be punished. At that time he came to know that three war criminals of Bangladesh are residing in London in disguise. They also became leaders of the Bengalee community there. They are involved with various fundamentalist and communal groups. They made the film to unmask the war criminals and bring them to book.

The British government took steps for investigation into the three war criminals after the Bangalee community in UK as well as the human rights organisations there raised their voice for punishment of the trio. The British government also sought cooperation from the Bangladesh government. The then BNP government didn’t take any step in this regard. However, the Awami League government assured the UK of
cooperating with them. The government on its own also filed an allegation with Ramna police station in Dhaka (case no 115, date 24.9.1997).
We came to know it was buried after some interrogation and brief investigation. Fiona Mckay, a lawyer who runs a human rights organisation in London, said she thought though the British government is very enthusiastic, Bangladesh government is not so keen. She informed that senior officials of Scotland Yard Rees, Detective Chief Superintendent and Walton, Detective Inspector were appointed to investigate it.

Despite the interest of the British government and its people about the trial of Bangladesh’s war criminal, reluctance of Bangladesh government is a great shame for the nation.

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Rape of Bengal: Humanity’s Darkest Hour http://www.genocidebangladesh.org/rape-of-bengal-humanitys-darkest-hour/ Thu, 31 Dec 2009 06:15:08 +0000 http://www.genocidebangladesh.org/?p=528 Photo: Potrait of Ahmed Makhdoon, a staunch Sindiyat nationalist, written on his mind, inscribed in his heart and injected into his soul

Photo: Potrait of Ahmed Makhdoon, a staunch Sindiyat nationalist, written on his mind, inscribed in his heart and injected into his soul

– AHMED MAKHDOOM

ساٸين سسداٸين ڪرين مٿي سنڌ سڪار؍ دوست مٺا دلدار؍ عالم سڀ آباد ڪزين شاھ

ON 16TH December 1971 one of the most horrifying and horrendous, shameful and scandalous, disgraceful and dishonourable, ignominious and infamous act of cowardice and inhumanity came to an end after nine month long saga of chaos, genocide, arson and rape. It is on this day that the barbaric, savage and brutal Pakistan army – about 96,000 animals in uniform – surrendered in Dhaka to the Indian army. The preceding nine months of horror, tyranny and terror will go down in the history of mankind, without any doubt as its darkest hour.

And, I saw with my sinful eyes the rape of the daughters of Bengal and the massacre of the millions of innocent sons of Bengal take place right in my own front yard. And, I lived to tell the world what I saw!

Saturday, 7th November 2009, I was in London, where I attended a gathering – organised by Liberation Group at Irish Cultural Centre – gathering of the tortured, troubled, truncated, tormented and terrorised nations of the world–being brutally bludgeoned by the tyrants of the day. As a humble son of Jeejal Sindhrree, I was there, together with my evergreen warrior sister, Suraiya, and a young, proud dedicated Sindhi with a Sindhi cap, Saaeen Aachar Bozdar.

There were Palestinians, Iraqis, Kurds from Iraq and Turkey, Polisario from Morocco and Bengalees from Bangladesh. We were thoroughly entertained by a remarkable group of Turkish Kurds – with their traditional music and songs. There were speeches too by various nations screaming, sacrificing, striving, struggling g for freedom and human rights.

I, too, had an opportunity to present the case of my brutalised motherland, and fatherland, Sindh, savaged by the vultures, wolves and werewolves of the erstwhile, godless, gutless, senseless country known as Pakistan.

Although not much of a singer, I was so much impressed and inspired by an Irish gentleman and a young Kurdish girl and the lilting melodies of Turkish music band, that I had to come on the floor and dance and sing too in my course voice – I sang a song of Sindh, in sweet language of my motherland, “Peirein pawandee saan, chawandee saan, rahee vancju raat Bhambhore mein.”

پيرين پوندي سان؍ چوندي سان؍ رھي وڃ رات ڀنڀور ۾؍

This prompted a middle-aged handsome Bengalee brother to come forward and embrace and hug me. He told me about Bangladesh and asked me where I was at the time Bengalees got their independence. Here is what I told him……

1964 – I joined Juldia Maritime Academy, Chittagong, on a two-year Maritime Studies Course. We were three Sindhis at that time – from 2nd and 3rd Batches of the Academy: Saaeen Altaf Shaikh, who later became a Chief Engineer and a well-known Sindhi travelogue writer, Saaeen Bashir Vistro, my ggothaaee ڳوٺاٸي (from nearby village in Sindh, where I spent my childhood), who later on became a Master Mariner and a senior officer in the Shipping Company in Karachi, and myself.

We had Bengali friends who used to regularly take us to their homes in Dacca, Chittagong, and elsewhere in the then East Pakistan and introduce us to their folks. We had a special relationship with these cultured, artistic-minded, literate, highly sober, astute and loveable Bengalis. In return, we Sindhis were adored, respected and pampered with love and gifts and treated as members of their families.

One of my best friend was a Bengali from Dacca, Nurul Amin. They were seven brothers and had a little sister whom they used to call “Champa,” a sweet, cherubic, angel-faced girl of twelve, with pony tails and a flower in her hair. What a talented little angel she was! She used to play piano – a must item in almost every Bengali’s home – and used to sing with such a sweet and graceful voice that we used to sit transfixed and mesmerised as we heard her play the rhythmic tones of piano and sing.

There was one particular song that I loved to listen over and over again, and she used to always oblige me and my constant demands (farmaaish) and requests. The song was:

“Shaat bhaaee champa, jago rei jago rei; ghuum ghuum thaakei na ghuumei ree ghorei…..”
شات ڀاٸي چمپا جاگو ري؍ جاگو ري؍ گھوم گھوم ٿاڪي نا گھومي ري ھوري؍

This song was about seven brothers and their little sister (just like her own family). Till this day I have not forgotten that cherubic pony-tailed face, and that golden voice and the sweet melodies of her song, “Shaat bahee champa….”

1971 – I was a young Navigating Officer on board a ship and we were in Chittagong, the premier port of the then East Pakistan, loading Jute for Rotterdam and Antwerp.

Suddenly, we heard the guns screaming all over the ship. My wonderful friend, a Bengali, Second Officer, and the Bengali crew were massacred by the brutal, cowards and animals in uniform of the Pakistani Punjabi Army. I survived as I hid myself for four days – without any food, without any water – in the Fore Peak store of the ship.

Bangladesh was born as I came out of my sanctuary. My Bengalee brethren helped me, fed me, took care of me and showered love, affections and kindness over me. They paid for my Air Passage to Singapore, where I was to start a new life, a new beginning, a new chapter in the not-so-long history of my life, far, far away from my motherland, my fatherland, Sindh.

Singapore became my homeland for over forty years since then – and my friends the Bengalees constructed a beautiful home, cottages, palaces in my heart, mind and soul, which I would cherish for as long as I live.

Back to 1971 – what I saw in Chittagong had left deep wounds on my heart and soul – wounds inflicted by the rapists, murderers, barbarian Pakistani soldiers, as I saw streets reddened by the blood of innocent Bengalees, young girls raped and brutally cut into pieces, infants snatched from the arms of their mothers and banged viciously in cold blood against the walls and tree trunks till only the tiny feet were left in the pitiless, merciless. Filthy hands of the barbarians and savages in uniform. The young mothers were than brutally gang-raped and subsequently dismembered, tortured and bludgeoned to death. What I saw was much, much and much more – even the animals will not do the same to their pray – I do not have any words to describe the way children, men and women were lynched by these barbarous, sadistic savages as they shouted, “Allah-o-Akbar.”

I went to Dacca to meet my dear friend, Nurul Amin, and his family and especially to hear the song of Shaat Bhaaee Champa. What I heard and saw made me to scream at my Creator, “Why, Oh Lord, Why?” My dear friend was savagely murdered by the coward Pakistan Army and my sweet dear little twelve-year Champa was gang-raped by these animals, and was grabbed by these barbarians from her tiny legs and continuously hit on the walls of the house, till there were nothing but pieces of her flash and bones and blood all over.

Bengalees were now free – freedom that came at a great expense and tremendous sacrifices – free to take destiny in their own hands. JOEI BANGLA – amee tomakei bhalo bhashee.

جوٸي بنگلا؍ امي توماڪي ڀالو ڀاشي؍

I love you my brave, valiant brothers and sisters, sons and daughters in Bangladesh!. We Sindhis had loved you and will always love you, my dear Bengalees. Long Live Bangladesh! Long Live Sindh!

And, Murshid Saaeen Bhittai says:

جي مون گھر اچين سپرين٫ ھوڏَ ڇڏي ھيڏي٫ ڳالھيون ڳجھ اندر جيون٫ تنِ گھريون تو ڏي٫ جي وھين گڏ گوڏي٫ تَ دونر سڻاياٸن دل جا ………(سر بروو ۱؍۱۸)

Jei muun ghari acheen supreen, hodda chhaddei heiddei, Ggaalhiyuun ggujha andara jyuun, tani ghuriyuun to ddei, Jei wiheen gaddu goddei, ta donra sunnaayaeen dil jaa. (Barwo:1/18) Supposing, Beloved! Thou cometh hither, Leaving Thy Vanity far, far away yonder; Fabulous anecdotes aplenty hidden within, Lifting the veil surely with Thee whisper; Supposing, Beloved! Thou knelth together, Carols within heart, chant for Thine pleasure.

……… Translated by Ahmed Makhdoom

First published in Ahmed Makhdoom’s Facebook, December 17, 2009

Dr. Ahmed Makhdoom, Professor, Oceanographic Sciences and Maritime Studies, Singapore, Malaysia

Via: Bangladesh Watchdog

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A Tribute to My Father – Dr. Peter D’Costa, B.H. http://www.genocidebangladesh.org/a-tribute-to-my-father-dr-peter-dcosta-bh/ Mon, 30 Mar 2009 22:20:04 +0000 http://www.genocidebangladesh.org/?p=510 By Jerome D’Costa

Photo Courtesy: Studio ‘H’ (Nawabpur, Dhaka)

My father, Dr. Peter D’Costa, B.H. (Bachelor of Homeopathy), also known as ‘P. D’Costa Sir’ to the students of St. Gregory’s High School in Dhaka, was born at Rangamatia Village of the then Dhaka District (now Gazipur District) on January 5, 1904.

After passing Class (Grade) 3 from Kaliganj Pilot School, Dt. Dhaka, he was semt to study at St. Anthony’s High School in Calcutta. After the Entrance Examinations, he taught at the same school and studied Homeopathy at night at the Dunham College of Homeopathy, Calcutta. After four years, he received his B.H. degree and was awarded the ‘Ratimanjari Dassi Memorial Medal’ for scholastic achievement.

After one year of independence of Pakistan, he returned to his village and practised homeopathy medicines. As the financial condition of the newly-independent country was not strong, he could not do well financially in his practice. In 1951, he left for Dhaka and joined St. Gregory’s High School (English Medium) as a teacher in the primary section. In 1968, he retired from teaching after suffering a stroke.

He was spending his retired life in the village when on November 26, 1971, the West Pakistani armed forces attacked the village and killed 14 persons including him and burnt down about 90% of the houses.

When we received the news that the military started wading thigh-deep water in the beel (marsh) to come to attack the village, men sent their womenfolk and children away to another village on the other side of the small canal. We did the same with my mother Agnes D’Costa, a teacher of Rangamatia Catholic Primary School, and my adopted sister.

In the weekend I had come from work with the Pratibeshi weekly in Dhaka and could not return due to military and mukti bahini (freedom forces) confrontations in different places, including Kaliganj). So on this Friday, November 26, with fright, my father and I were watching the fires at the far end of the village in the west as well as hearing wheezing bullet sounds over the trees. I tried to coax my father, who could walk with some difficulty with the help of a cane, to go with me as far away as possible, but he refused and said: “If they see me old and sick and still kill me, let them do so. I would rather die at home than in the fields and jungles.”

When the bullet sounds became louder, I asked my father to go away with me and again he refused. Then I said that “I have to leave because if they find a young person, they would capture or kill him instantly.” He told me to leave immediately. I touched his hand for the last time and left home and ran towards the other village in the north. As I neared the canal, one bullet wheezed past a few inches by me and struck one of the bamboo trees and divided it in the middle. It scared the hell out of me and I shouted: “Jesus, save me!” and jumped over a cane bush and fell into the canal. I waded knee-deep water and climbed over the side of the canal and reached the other side.

Behind the houses in the field I find about three hundred villagers — men, women and children — huddled on the ground. My future wife and members of her family were also there. A few minutes later, we see two muktijuddas (freedom fighters) running past us away to the east. I shouted and asked them whether they had fired at the soldiers. When they said “yes”, my common sense told me that the soldiers would definitely come to the other side of the canal and search for the freedom fighters.

I told my future father-in-law, Joachim Costa, a teacher of St. Joseph’s High School in Dhaka, that the army would definitely come and, if they find us, would finish us all. He told me to take my engaged finance, her mother and others and walk further up towards the east. As we started to move, others also followed us. We first went to the villages of Deolia and Baktarpur and then finally, just before evening, reached Kapashia village, about three miles north-east. It was a Muslim village where we never set foot in our life. They received us with such care and empathy that we immediately felt at home. They immediately began to offer us water and muri (puffed rice) followed by emptying of some of their rooms for our stay! We will never forget this sacrificing hospitality.

Those who did not move from near the canal, that we left earlier, were ultimately killed by the army.

Please read the rest of the article here.

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Pakistani Army Desecrated Churches in 1971 http://www.genocidebangladesh.org/pakistani-army-desecrated-churches-in-1971/ Mon, 30 Mar 2009 22:05:42 +0000 http://www.genocidebangladesh.org/?p=503 They even desecrated the church

They even desecrated the church

Jerome D’Costa

I had written the above report in early 1972 narrating the attack of the West Pakistani soldiers in late November of 1971 on our Rangamatia Village in the then Dhaka District (now Gazipur District). Fourteen persons, including my father Dr. Peter D’Costa, B.H., were killed on that day and about 90% of the houses of the village were set on fire and burnt down by the enemy.

Later they also returned and entered the Rangamatia Catholic church compound and desecrated and looted the Sacred Heart Church and pillaged the adjoining parish priest’s house and the nuns’ convent after breaking their locks.

During the deadly crackdown of March 25, 1971 night, the West Pakistani forces also fired indiscriminately in old Dhaka hitting St. Thomas Anglican Church’s belfry with a canon shell. The shell and bullet marks on the front wall were visible for sometime after that infamous day.

West Pakistani soldiers also had forcibly occupied a Protestant church at Akhaura in Brahmanbaria District and turned it into a war prison where captured Bangalis were tortured. Indian photojournalist Robin Sengupta, who covered the war between India and East Pakistan in December, 1971, gave a photo of that church in his April 2000 book (page 57) in Bengali Chitra-Shangbadiker Cameraye Muktijuddha (The Liberation War Through the Lens of a Photojournalist).

The Original Report on Attack on Rangamatia Village

Since the double-clicking of the above image does not give good enough enlarged version of the report for easy reading, I am reproducing below the report that had appeared in The Nation, the first English daily from the free soil of Bangladesh, dated February 4, 1972 (I took the liberty to add some commas, add meanings or explanations in the first bracket for easy understanding of present-day readers, and break a few longer paragraphs into shorter ones):

They Even Desecrated the Church
By Jerome D’Costa

It was black Friday, November 26, 1971. On that fateful day, the blood-thirsty army men of General Yahya had let loose a reign of terror in the village of Rangamatia, three miles north-west of Kaliganj in the district of Dacca [now written as ‘Dhaka’].

The killers of the Bengalees [Bangalis] reached Doripara, which was between Arikhola and Pubail railway stations, where earlier the railway line was destroyed by the Mukti Bahini [freedom fighters] in cooperation with the villagers, and began to barrage the village of Rangamatia with rifle and submachine gun shots in order to make further advance.

When the army men began to wade the beel [marsh] through knee-deep water, a few Mukti Bahini boys, who were guarding the village, fired at them and wounded three invaders. As the fighting young men were outnumbered by the invaders, they could not defend the village as was expected earlier. The hordes of Yahya entered the village with all the fury and set fire to the whole Christian village and machine-gunned fourteen villagers of all ages.

Rev. Father Houser, C.S.C., an American priest residing in the Mission, along with the Sisters from the convent had to take refuge in a paddy field in order to save themselves from the gruesome barbarity of the Pak forces.

Later the aggressors pitched a camp near the damaged railway bridge [half-a-mile away]. When the priest used to go to visit his people in the far-flung villages, where they had fled earlier, the army men would come to the church compound and loot the valuables. They broke open the priest’s house and took away everything worthwhile and made a mess of the church records and files. For safety’s sake earlier, many Christians had kept their valuables in the priest’s house. All of them had been stolen.

They forcibly opened the church door and broke the tabernacle on the altar, which is considered most holy by the Christians, and took away all the holy articles used in the religious ceremonies. One large statue of Christ, which was kept above the altar, was thrown down from there and broken into pieces. They also looted the nuns’ convent.

This way, the homiciders gave vent to their anger which was caused by the heroic Mukti Bahini, when a few days ago, they had killed 30 Pakistani soldiers and gained control of and flew Bangladesh flag on Kaliganj. The army tried in various ways to recapture this vital place but failed. They even used a tank to crush our valiant young men but could not succeed. As a last resort, they airraided Kaliganj, heinously attacked Rangamatia and regained control of the area after much effort.

The brave and ever hopeful people, who lost their houses and some members of their families, did not despair at all. Their will power had hardened like steel and they were ready to make any sacrifice for the independence of Bangladesh which came into reality a few days later [on December 16, 1971].

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1974 Famine: An Unfashionable Tragedy by John Pilger http://www.genocidebangladesh.org/1974-famine-an-unfashionable-tragedy-by-john-pilger/ Sat, 28 Mar 2009 11:27:18 +0000 http://www.genocidebangladesh.org/?p=465 Possibly over a million people died in the 1974 famine in Bangladesh from July 1974 to January 1975, although the Bangladesh government claimed only 26,000 people died. The causes are generally thought to be a combination of natural disasters (cyclone, droughts and floods).

Among the socio-political factors, Devinder Sharma of the Global Hunger Alliance claims that:

At the height of the 1974 famine in the newly born Bangladesh, the U.S. United States had withheld 2.2 million tonnes of food aid to ‘ensure that it abandoned plans to try Pakistani war criminal.

Here is documentary by John Pilger which depicts the tragedy and the US politics behind this.

John Pilger – An Unfashionable Tragedy – AN ATV documentary
Part 1 (9:59 Minutes), Part 2 (10:00 Minutes), Part 3 (7:06 Minutes)

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VANDERBILT Television News Archive -1971 records http://www.genocidebangladesh.org/vanderbilt-television-news-archive-1971-records/ Sat, 28 Mar 2009 10:30:17 +0000 http://www.genocidebangladesh.org/?p=459 No. Date Headline Video Type Network Begin Length 1 10/25/1971 India-Pakistan Evening News ABC 05:02:50 pm 01:30 2 11/21/1971 The Week Ahead Evening News NBC 05:50:00 pm 02:20 3 11/22/1971 India-Pakistan Dispute Evening News NBC 05:41:10 pm 02:00 4 12/07/1971 India-Pakistan / War East Evening News ABC 05:01:50 pm 02:50 5 12/07/1971 India-Pakistan / War / East Evening News NBC 05:31:40 pm 03:20 6 12/08/1971 India-Pakistan / War Evening News NBC 05:31:40 pm 04:40 7 12/09/1971 India-Pakistan / United Nations / War / East Evening News ABC 05:02:00 pm 02:50 8 12/09/1971 India-Pakistan/War East Evening News NBC 05:31:30 pm 02:50 9 12/10/1971 India-Pakistan / War East Evening News NBC 05:31:30 pm 03:10 10 12/13/1971 India-Pakistan / War East Evening News CBS 05:31:10 pm 02:50 11 12/13/1971 India-Pakistan / War East Evening News NBC 05:31:30 pm 07:10 12 12/14/1971 India-Pakistan / War East Evening News CBS 05:37:30 pm 02:40 13 12/14/1971 India-Pakistan War / East Evening News NBC 05:41:40 pm 00:30 14 12/15/1971 India-Pakistan / War East Evening News ABC 05:02:10 pm 00:20 15 12/15/1971 India-Pakistan / War East Evening News CBS 05:31:10 pm 01:40 16 12/15/1971 India-Pakistan / War East Evening News NBC 05:31:30 pm 04:10 17 12/15/1971 India-Pakistan / War East Evening News CBS 05:35:00 pm 02:40 18 12/23/1971 Pakistan / India Evening News NBC 05:51:40 pm 00:30 19 12/29/1971 Pakistan Prisoners Evening News NBC 05:45:10 pm 01:50 20 12/31/1971 West Pakistan Evening News NBC 05:37:30 pm 02:20 ]]>