GenocideThe genocide in Bangladesh began on 25 March 1971 with the launch of Operation Searchlight, as Pakistan began a military crackdown to suppress Bengali calls for self-determination.

During the nine-month-long war for independence, members of the Pakistani military and supporting militias (Razakars and Al Badrs) killed up to  3,000,000 people and raped between 200,000–500,000 Bengali women in a systematic campaign of genocidal rape

There can only be one word for this: Genocide

(London, 6/13/71). The Sunday Times…..”The Government’s policy for East Bengal was spelled out to me in the Eastern Command headquarters at Dacca. It has three elements:

  1. The Bengalis have proved themselves unreliable and must be ruled by West Pakistanis;

  2. The Bengalis will have to be re-educated along proper Islamic lines. The – Islamization of the masses – this is the official jargon – is intended to eliminate secessionist tendencies and provide a strong religious bond with West Pakistan;

  3. When the Hindus have been eliminated by death and fight, their property will be used as a golden carrot to win over the under privileged Muslim middle-class. This will provide the base for erecting administrative and political structures in the fu ture.”

According to New York Times (3/28/71) 10,000 people were killed; New York Times (3/29/71) 5,000-7,000 people were killed in Dhaka; The Sydney Morning Herald (3/29/71) 10,000 – 100,000 were killed; New York Times (4/1/71) 35,000 were killed in Dhaka. There is only one word for this: genocide.

These figures tell you the seriousness of the situation created by the Pakistani army. Although the actual figure may be never known. Number of Bengalis slaughtered by the Pakistani army during different periods of 1971. The list is as follows:

Who reported When reported Number in millions
The Baltimore Sun 5/14/71 0.5
The Momento, Caracas 6/13/71 0.5 – 1.0
Washington Daily News 6/30/71 0.2
World Bank Report June, 71 0.2
Die Zeit, Bonn 7/9/71 0.5
New York Times 7/14/71 0.20 – 0.25
Wall Street Journal 7/23/71 0.2 – 1.0
The Christian Sci. Mon. 7/31/71 0.25 – 1.00
Newsweek 8/2/71 0.25
Time 9/2/71 0.2 – 1.0
Newsweek 3/27/72 1.5
National Geographic Sept. 1972 3.0

The Refugee Situation

1971 refugees

According to National Geographic (Sept. 1972), the estimated number of Bangladeshi refugees was 10.0 million. According to the Indian government the number of refugees was 8.3 million (8/31/71). Other sources:

Who reported When reported Number in millions
Washington Daily News 6/30/71 6.0
Die Zeit 7/9/71 6.0
New York Times 7/14/71 6.0
St. Louis Post-Dispatch 8/1/71 6.5
Newsweek 8/2/71 7.5
Time 9/2/71 7.5
Sen. Kennedy 8/15/71 12.0
The UN in Bangladesh 1972 10.0
Newsweek 3/27/72 10.0

I hope you do understand the difficulties involved in estimating the total number of refugees. It is clear that by end of Aug., 1971, the number of refugees was around 6-7 million. By the middle of Dec., the number reached 10 million. Also, a large number of people were displaced within the country, estimated number was around 20 million (The UN in Bangladesh).[The United Nations in Bangladesh — Thomas W. Oliver, Reports Officer at UNROD/UNROB headquarters in 1973.UNROD.United Nations Relief Operations in Dhaka. UNROB. United Nations Relief Office in Bangladesh.]