1971 Bangladesh genocide

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The genocide in Bangladesh began on 26 March 1971 with the launch of Operation Searchlight, as West Pakistan (now Pakistan) began a military crackdown on the East Pakistan wing (now Bangladesh) of the nation to suppress Bengali calls for self-determination. During the nine-month-long Bangladesh Liberation War, members of the Pakistan Armed Forces and supporting pro-Pakistani Islamist militias from Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami killed between 200,000 and 3,000,000 people and raped between 200,000 and 400,000 Bengali women, according to Bangladeshi and Indian sources, in a systematic campaign of genocidal rape.


  • Green land of East Pakistan will be painted red.
    • Rao Farman Ali in his diary, quoted in Y Rosser Indoctrinating Minds: Politics of Education in Bangladesh (2004), as quoted in The vanquished generals and the liberation war of Bangladesh by Muntassir Mamoon
    • Later, Farman Ali claimed that what he meant was the red flag of socialism, not blood.
  • Indians see the war as a moral triumph too, a victory for democracy and human rights. As the leading Indian scholar and analyst Pratap Bhanu Mehta wrote, “India’s 1971 armed intervention in East Pakistan—undertaken for a mixture of reasons—is widely and fairly regarded as one of the world’s most successful cases of humanitarian intervention against genocide. Indeed, India in effect applied what we would now call the ‘responsibility to protect’ (R2P) principle, and applied it well.”
    • Pratap Bhanu Mehta quoted from Bass, G. J. (2014) The Blood telegram: Nixon, Kissinger, and a forgotten genocide, Epilogue
  • And the students at the university
    Asleep at night quite peacefully
    The soldiers came and shot them in their beds
    And terror took the dorm awakening shrieks of dread
    And silent frozen forms and pillows drenched in red
    Bangladesh, Bangladesh
    Bangladesh, Bangladesh
    When the sun sinks in the west
    Die a million people of the Bangladesh
  • 200,000, 300,000 or possibly 400,000 women (three sets of statistics have been variously quoted) were raped. Eighty percent of the raped women were Moslems, reflecting the population of Bangladesh, but Hindu and Christian women were not exempt. ... Hit-and-run rape of large numbers of Bengali women was brutally simple in terms of logistics as the Pakistani regulars swept through and occupied the tiny, populous land ...Rape in Bangladesh had hardly been restricted to beauty... Girls of eight and grandmothers of seventy-five had been sexually assaulted ... Pakistani soldiers had not only violated Bengali women on the spot; they abducted tens of hundreds and held them by force in their military barracks for nightly use.... Some women may have been raped as many as eighty times in a night
    • Susan Brownmiller Against Our Will: Men, Women and Rape
  • Our government has failed to denounce the suppression of democracy. Our government has failed to denounce atrocities. Our government has failed to take forceful measures to protect its citizens while at the same time bending over backwards to placate the West Pak[istan] dominated government and to lessen any deservedly negative international public relations impact against them. Our government has evidenced what many will consider moral bankruptcy, (...) But we have chosen not to intervene, even morally, on the grounds that the Awami conflict, in which unfortunately the overworked term genocide is applicable, is purely an internal matter of a sovereign state. Private Americans have expressed disgust. We, as professional civil servants, express our dissent with current policy and fervently hope that our true and lasting interests here can be defined and our policies redirected.
    • Archer Blood, "The Blood Telegram" (U.S. Consulate (Dacca) Cable, Dissent from U.S. Policy Toward East Pakistan, April 6, 1971, Confidential, 5 pp. Includes Signatures from the Department of State. Source: RG 59, SN 70-73 Pol and Def. From: Pol Pak-U.S. To: Pol 17-1 Pak-U.S. Box 2535;) DISENT FROM U.S. POLICY TOWARD EAST PAKISTAN (PDF) April 6, 1971
  • There were thousands of people standing out in the open here all night in the rain. Women were with babies in their arms. They could not lie down because the water came up to their knees in places. There was not enough shelter and in the morning there were always many sick and dying of pneumonia. We could not get out serious cholera cases to the hospital. And there was no one to take away the dead. They just lay around on the ground or in the water. High pressure syringes have speeded vaccination and reduced the cholera threat, but camp health officials have already counted about 500 dead and an estimated 35,000 have been stricken by the convulsive vomiting and diarrhea that accompany the diseases. Now officials fear that pneumonia, diphtheria and tuberculosis will also begin to take a toll among the weakened refugees.
    • Mathis Bromberger, a German doctor helping at one of these camps quoted in R.J. Rummel Death By Government, New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction Publishers, 1994
  • Millions of fathers in rain
    Millions of mothers in pain
    Millions of brothers in woe
    Millions of sisters nowhere to go

    Millions of daughters walk in the mud
    Millions of children wash in the flood
    A Million girls vomit & groan
    Millions of families hopeless alone

    Millions of souls nineteen seventy one
    homeless on Jessore road under grey sun
    A million are dead, the million who can
    Walk toward Calcutta from East Pakistan
    • Allen Ginsberg "September on Jessore Road" is a poem by American poet and activist Allen Ginsberg
  • 'Bangla Desh, Bangla Desh
    Where so many people are dying fast
    And it sure looks like a mess
    I've never seen such distress
  • You see infants with their skin hanging loosely in folds from their tiny bones — lacking the strength even to lift their hands. You see children with legs and feet swollen with oedema and malnutrition, limp in the arms of their mothers. You see babies going blind for lack of vitamins, or covered with sores that will not heal. You see in the eyes of their parents the despair of ever having their children well again. And, most difficult of all, you see the corpse of the child who died just the night before.50
    • Senator Edward Kennedy quoted in R.J. Rummel Death By Government, New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction Publishers, 1994
  • The story of East Bengal will surely be written as one of the greatest nightmares of modern times.
    • Senator Edward Kennedy quoted in Bass, G. (2014) The Blood telegram: Nixon, Kissinger, and a forgotten genocide.
  • [It is] almost entirely a matter of genocide.
  • Am deeply shocked at massacre by Pakistani military in East Pakistan, appalled at possibility these atrocities are being committed with American equipment, and greatly concerned at United States vulnerability to damaging allegations of associations with reign of military terror.
    • Telegram by Kenneth Keating, quoted in Bass, G. J. (2014) The Blood telegram: Nixon, Kissinger, and a forgotten genocide.
  • “I know of no word in the English language other than massacre which better describes the wanton slaughter of thousands of defenseless men, women and children.”
    • Kenneth Keating, quoted in Bass, G. J. (2014) The Blood telegram: Nixon, Kissinger, and a forgotten genocide.
  • Field reports to the U.S. Government, countless eye-witness journalistic accounts, reports of International agencies such as World Bank and additional information available to the subcommittee document the reign of terror which grips East Bengal (East Pakistan). Hardest hit have been members of the Hindu community who have been robbed of their lands and shops, systematically slaughtered, and in some places, painted with yellow patches marked "H". All of this has been officially sanctioned, ordered and implemented under martial law from Islamabad.
    • Report (1 November 1971). Senator Edward Kennedy "Crisis in South Asia - A report by Senator Edward Kennedy to the Subcommittee investigating the Problem of Refugees and Their Settlement", Submitted to U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, 1 November 1971, U.S. Govt. Press, pp.6-7. Quoted in Benkin, Richard L. (2014). A quiet case of ethnic cleansing: The murder of Bangladesh's Hindus, p. 75.
  • The very first Hindu grievance is that Hindus are being killed: in Pakistan and Bangladesh, in Kashmir, during bomb attacks... The Hindu death toll in post-Independence riots in East Bengal already outnumbers the Muslim death toll in Hindu-Muslim clashes in the whole of South Asia by far. ... All these riot data are, moreover, dwarfed by the East Bengal genocide of 1971. The first Bangladesh Government estimated the number of people killed by the Pakistanis... at three million. (...) Moreover, Western as well as Indian observers notices that the prime target group were Hindus.
    • Elst, Koenraad (2001) Decolonizing the Hindu mind: Ideological development of Hindu revivalism. New Delhi: Rupa. pp 507-509, 519
  • The impression that there exists a firm resolve to deny the Hindus even their martyrs is strengthened when we consider cases of mass-slaughter of Hindus, esp. the East Bengal genocide of 1971, of which the death toll was estimated by the first Bangladesh government at 3 million. Cautious researchers estimate the death toll at "one to three million" and list "Hindus" first among the targeted groups. "One to three" million is exactly the range in which the death toll of the Khmer Rouge's Killing Fields is estimated, but there is just no comparison between the degree to which the Killing Fields entered the collective consciousness .. and that of the East Bengali genocide. And even those who are aware that one of the biggest mass murders of the last half century took place in East Bengal, rarely realize its anti-Hindu character... The best-kept secret of communalism-watching is that vastly more Hindus than Muslims have been killed...
    The anti-Hindu character of the 1971 massacres is systematically obscured in publications by the Bangladesh Government... as well as by Indian secularists. In the absence of proper research into the exact magnitude of the 1971 massacres, it is perhaps safest provisionally to settle for a cautious estimate of half a million or so Hindus killed. This would still mean that the victims of Hindu-Muslim violence in South Asia since the Partition massacres can be divided asymmetrically in well over 90% Hindus and substantially less than 10% Muslims. Contrary to a widespread impression, the typical victim of Hindu-Muslim violence is a Hindu... Indeed, to readers of the general press, it should come as a surprise: the best-kept secret about South Asia's religious conflict (not mentioned by even one recent non-Hindu author in the copious literature on the Hindu-Muslim conflict) is that the vast majority of victims consists of Hindus. Moreover, the fact that no accurate count is available, is highly significant in itself: the problem in arriving at accurate estimates is that the governments of Pakistan , India and Bangladesh (and, I am afraid, not only they) discourage serious research into the Hindu death toll in order not to foster anti-Muslim feelings... The net result is that the victimization of Hindus remains unknown.
    • Elst, K. (2010) The saffron swastika: The notion of "Hindu fascism, p. 807-12.
  • "Genocide" means the intentional attempt to destroy an ethnic community, or by extension any community constituted by bonds of kinship, of common religion or ideology, of common socio-economic position, or of common race. The pure form is the complete extermination of every man, woman and child of the group... Hindus suffered such attempted extermination in East Bengal in 1971, when the Pakistani Army killed 1 to 3 million people, with Hindus as their most wanted target. This fact is strictly ignored in most writing about Hindu-Muslim relations, in spite (or rather because) of its serious implication that even the lowest estimate of the Hindu death toll in 1971 makes Hindus by far the most numerous victims of Hindu-Muslim violence in the post-colonial period. It is significant that no serious count or religion-wise breakdown of the death toll has been attempted: the Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi ruling classes all agree that this would feed Hindu grievances against Muslims.... While India-watchers wax indignant about communal riots in India killing up to 20,000 people since 1948, allegedly in a proportion of three Muslims to one Hindu, the best-kept secret of the post-Independence Hindu-Muslim conflict is that in the subcontinent as a whole, the overwhelming majority of the victims have been Hindus. Even apart from the 1971 genocide, "ordinary" pogroms in East Pakistan in 1950 alone killed more Hindus than the total number of riot victims in India since 1948.
    • Koenraad Elst, "Was There an Islamic "Genocide" of Hindus?" [1], and in Elst, K. (2010) The saffron swastika: The notion of "Hindu fascism, p 818 ff.
  • Nandan Vyas has argued convincingly that the number of Hindu victims in the 1971 genocide was approximately 2.4 million, or about 80%. In comparing the population figures for 1961 and 1971, and taking the observed natural growth rhythm into account, Vyas finds that the Hindu population has remained stable at 9.5 million when it should have increased to nearly 13 million (13.23 million if the same growth rhythm were assumed for Hindus as for Muslims). Of the missing 3.5 million people (if not more), 1.1 million can be explained: it is the number of Hindu refugees settled in India prior to the genocide. The Hindu refugees at the time of the genocide, about 8 million, all went back after the ordeal, partly because the Indian government forced them to it, partly because the new state of Bangladesh was conceived as a secular state; the trickle of Hindu refugees into India only resumed in 1974, when the first steps towards Islamization of the polity were taken. This leaves 2.4 million missing Hindus to be explained. Taking into account a number of Hindu children born to refugees in India rather than in Bangladesh, and a possible settlement of 1971 refugees in India, it is fair to estimate the disappeared Hindus at about 2 million.
    • N. Vyas (("Hindu Genocide in East Pakistan", Young India, January 1995)) quoted in Koenraad Elst, "Was There an Islamic "Genocide" of Hindus?" [2] and in Elst, K. (2010) The saffron swastika: The notion of "Hindu fascism".
  • The victims of the Pakistani repression in East Bengal in 1971 (of whom the big majority were Hindus, while the Bengali Muslims too were killed for anti-Hindu reasons, viz. for being "half-Hindu renegades"), like those of the Sultanate and Moghul regimes, have never been properly counted; careerwise, it is suicidal for a scholar to calculate the magnitude of Islam's crimes against humanity. The figure of 3 million is probably too high, but as it was given by a Muslim secularist (Bangladesh founder Mujibur Rahman), and as the secularists themselves have thrown their full weight against a proper study of the magnitude of Islamic massacres of Hindus, they cannot fault us for provisionally sticking to it.
    • Elst, Koenraad. (1997) BJP vis-à-vis Hindu Resurgence
  • On the borders of what was to become East Pakistan, Hindu-Muslim violence in 1947 was far smaller in scale. What happened there was that after a relatively peaceful transition to independence, the Partition process of religious cleansing took place anyway but drawn out over decades. During this "prolonged Partition", there has been a constant trickle of Hindu refugees from East Bengal to India, which became a flood in times of crisis. The biggest crisis was of course the Bangladesh war of 1971, when the Pakistani army and its Bengali and immigrant-Bihari collaborators hunted down Hindus along with Muslim Bengali nationalists. The official death toll as claimed by the Bangladeshi government was 3 million; foreign observers settle for 1.5 million. All disinterested observers agree that Hindus were the first and largest among the victim groups. As for the Muslim victims, they were not killed by Hindus but by Pakistanis and their Jamaat-i-Islami collaborators who killed them for not being Muslim enough.
    • Koenraad Elst "Religious Cleansing of Hindus" (2004), in: Elst, K. The Problem with Secularism (2007)
  • To make you cry I’ll tell you about the twelve young impure men I saw executed at Dacca at the end of the Bangladesh war. They executed them on the field of Dacca stadium, with bayonet blows to the torso or abdomen, in the presence of twenty thousand faithful who applauded in the name of God from the bleachers. They thundered "Allah akbar, Allah akbar." Yes, I know: the ancient Romans, those ancient Romans of whom my culture is so proud, entertained themselves in the Coliseum by watching the deaths of Christians fed to the lions. I know, I know: in every country of Europe the Christians, those Christians whose contribution to the History of Thought I recognize despite my atheism, entertained themselves by watching the burning of heretics. But a lot of time has passed since then, we have become a little more civilized, and even the sons of Allah ought to have figured out by now that certain things are just not done. After the twelve impure young men they killed a little boy who had thrown himself at the executioners to save his brother who had been condemned to death. They smashed his head with their combat boots. And if you don’t believe it, well, reread my report or the reports of the French and German journalists who, horrified as I was, were there with me. Or better: look at the photographs that one of them took. Anyway this isn’t even what I want to underline. It’s that, at the conclusion of the slaughter, the twenty thousand faithful (many of whom were women) left the bleachers and went down on the field. Not as a disorganized mob, no. In an orderly manner, with solemnity. They slowly formed a line and, again in the name of God, walked over the cadavers. All the while thundering Allah–akbar, Allah–akbar. They destroyed them like the Twin Towers of New York. They reduced them to a bleeding carpet of smashed bones.
  • I covered the war and witnessed first the population's joyous welcome of the Indian soldiers as liberators .. Later I toured the country by road to see the Pakistani legacy first hand. In town after town there was an execution area where people had been killed by bayonet, bullet and bludgeon. In some towns, executions were held on a daily basis. This was a month after the war's end (i.e. January 1972), ... human bones were still scattered along many roadsides. Blood stained clothing and tufts of human hair clung to the brush at these killing grounds. Children too young to understand were playing grotesque games with skulls. Other reminders were the yellow "H"s the Pakistanis had painted on the homes of Hindus, particular targets of the Muslim army.
    • "The Pakistani Slaughter That Nixon Ignored", Syndicated Column by Sydney Schanberg, The New York Times" (3 May 1994). Quoted in Benkin, Richard L. (2014) A quiet case of ethnic cleansing: The murder of Bangladesh's Hindus, p. 75.
  • Midnight, March 25, 1971: past the University, which was being shelled, the buddha led troops to Sheikh Mujib's lair. Students and lecturers came running out of hostels; they were greeted by bullets, and Merchurichrome stained the lawns . . . And while we drove through the city streets, Shaheed looked out of windows and saw things that weren't-couldn't-have-been-true: soldiers entering women's hostels without knocking; women dragged into the street, were also entered, and again nobody troubled to knock . . . When thought becomes excessively painful, action is the finest remedy . . . dog-soldiers strain at the leash, and then, released, leap joyously to their work. O woltliound chases of undesirables! O prolific seizings of professors and poets! O unfortunate shot-while-resisting arrests of Awami Leaguers and fashion correspondents! Dogs of war cry havoc in the city . . . Farooq Shaheed Ayooba take turns at vomiting as their nostrils are assailed by the stench of burning slums . . . no undesirable is safe tonight; no hiding place impregnable. Bloodhounds track the fleeing enemies of national unity; wolfhounds, not to be outdone, sink fierce teeth into their prey . . .
    • Salman Rushdie Midnight's Children, quoted from Tariq Ali The Clash of Fundamentalisms, Crusades, Jihads and Modernity (2002) Verso
  • [T]he bloody massacre in Bangladesh caused Allende to be forgotten, the din of war in the Sinai Desert drowned out the groans of Bangladesh, . . . and so on, and on and on, until everyone has completely forgotten everything.
    • Milan Kundera The Book of Laughter and Forgetting, quoted in Bass, G. J. (2014) The Blood telegram: Nixon, Kissinger, and a forgotten genocide.
  • Kill three million of them and the rest will eat out of our hands.
    • Yahya Khan, President of Pakistan, quoted from R.J. Rummel Death By Government, New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction Publishers (1994)
  • For six days as I traveled with the officers of the 9th Division headquarters at Comilla I witnessed at close quarters the extent of the killing. I saw Hindus, hunted from village to village and door to door, shot offhand after a cursory “short-arm inspection” showed they were uncircumcised. I have heard the screams of men bludgeoned to death in the compound of the Circuit House (civil administrative headquarters) in Comilla. I have seen truck-loads of other human targets and those who had the humanity to try to help them hauled off “for disposal” under the cover of darkness and curfew. I have witnessed the brutality of “kill and burn missions” as the army units after clearing out the rebels pursued the pogrom in the towns and the villages. I have seen whole villages devastated by “punitive action.”
    • Anthony Mascarenha quoted in R.J. Rummel Death By Government, New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction Publishers, 1994
  • The consulate emphasized how Hindus were targeted. One of Blood’s senior staffers privately noted “evidence of selective singling out of Hindu professors for elimination, burning of Hindu settlements including 24 square block areas on edges of Old Dacca and village built around temple.… Also attack night of March 26 on Hindu dormitory at Dacca University resulting in at least 25 deaths.” Although Pakistani forces had concentrated on Awami League activists, “Hindus seem [to] bear brunt of general reign of terror.”
    • Quoted in Bass, G. J. (2014) The Blood telegram: Nixon, Kissinger, and a forgotten genocide
  • Desaix Myers remembers, "We were aware the Hindu markets had been attacked. The villages that we visited were Hindu. We were aware that Hindus specifically were being attacked." In a letter at the time, he wrote, "The Army continues to check, lifting lungis [a kind of sarong worn by Bengalis], checking circumcision, demanding recitation of Muslim prayers. Hindus flee or are shot." He recalls that on one trip out of Dacca, "I was convinced I saw people wearing pieces of cloth identifying themselves as Hindus." Butcher says, "You heard stories of men having to pull down their lungis. If they were circumcised, they were let go. If they were not, they were killed. It was singling out the Hindus for especially bad treatment, burning Hindu villages, it was like a pogrom. It was ridding the province of these people."
    • Myers "Ki Korbo?", quoted in Bass, G. J. (2014) The Blood telegram: Nixon, Kissinger, and a forgotten genocide, ch 5
  • The Nixon administration had ample evidence not just of the scale of the massacres, but also of their ethnic targeting of the Hindu minority—what Blood had condemned as genocide. This was common knowledge throughout the Nixon administration. Kissinger once told the president himself, "Another stupid mistake he [Yahya] made was to expel so many Hindus from East Pakistan. It gave the Indians a great cause" for war. Kissinger, in a memorandum drafted by Saunders, alerted Nixon to the difficulty of getting Hindu refugees to return. The undersecretary of state said to Nixon, "The Hindu population has suffered strong persecution, and many have fled the country."
    Kissinger was repeatedly alerted about this genocide. Harold Saunders informed him about reports that the Pakistan army was "deliberately seeking out Hindus and killing them," while a senior State Department official notified him that Pakistan's policy was "getting rid of the Hindus." In a Situation Room meeting, another State Department official plainly told Kissinger, "Eighty percent of the refugees are Hindus." In the same meeting, the CIA director doubted the prospects of refugees returning to East Pakistan, no matter what Yahya said to them: "The way the Pakistanis have been beating up on the Hindus, the refugees would have to be convinced they wouldn’t be shot in the head."
    • Bass, G. J. (2014) The Blood telegram: Nixon, Kissinger, and a forgotten genocide, Chaper 10.
  • Trying to blunt the impact of these terrible stories, Pakistan allowed in some foreign correspondents. Sydney Schanberg of the New York Times, who had been expelled from Dacca in March, jumped at the chance. He remembers the Pakistan army’s contempt for Bengalis: “Even the officers in charge of these units would say, ‘You can’t trust these people, they’re low, they lie.’ ” The officers gave “no denials that they had just killed them.” He recalls, “You’d see places where they had marked little wooden houses as Hindus.” Survivors told him that the army would “come through yelling, ‘Are there any Hindus there?’ When they found out there were, they would kill them.” He concludes, “It was a genocide”—perhaps even a more clear case than Cambodia.
    • Sydney Schanberg, quoted in Bass, G. J. (2014) The Blood telegram: Nixon, Kissinger, and a forgotten genocide.
  • In the New York Times, Schanberg reported, "The Pakistani Army has painted big yellow 'H's' on the Hindu shops still standing in this town." Emphasizing the targeting of Hindus, he described "the hate and terror and fear" throughout the "conquered province." Back in Dacca at last, Schanberg found the city "half-deserted," with fresh loads of troops arriving daily from West Pakistan at the airport. Terrified merchants had taken down signs in the Bengali language and put up new ones in English, because they did not know Urdu. He wrote that foreign diplomats estimated that the army had killed at least two hundred thousand Bengalis.
    • Sydney H. Schanberg "Hindus Are Targets of Army Terror in an East Pakistan Town", The New York Times (4 July 1971). Sydney H. Schanberg "West Pakistan Pursues Subjugation of Bengalis", The New York Times (14 July 1971), quoted in Bass, G. J. (2014) The Blood telegram: Nixon, Kissinger, and a forgotten genocide.
  • Kennedy declared, “Nothing is more clear, or easily documented, than the systematic campaign of terror—and its genocidal consequences—launched by the Pakistan army on the night of March 25th.” Invoking the Holocaust, he said that Hindus were being specifically targeted, “systematically slaughtered, and, in some places, painted with yellow patches marked ‘H.’ ” He blamed the Nixon administration for much of this: “America’s heavy support of Islamabad is nothing short of complicity in the human and political tragedy of East Bengal.”
    • Ted Kennedy, quoted in Bass, G. J. (2014) The Blood telegram: Nixon, Kissinger, and a forgotten genocide, ch 15 from NSC Files, Box 574, Indo-Pak War, South Asian Congressional, Kennedy speech (1 November 1971)
  • The CIA had a blunt explanation for this "incredible" migration: "many if not most of the Hindus fled for fear of their lives." Lieutenant General Tikka Khan, Yahya's military governor, evidently thought he could quickly frighten the Bengalis into submission. The Pakistan army, the CIA noted, seemed to have singled out Hindus as targets. Although the CIA refrained from crying genocide, it did insist this was an ethnic campaign, with 80 percent—or possibly even 90 percent— of the refugees being Hindus. So far, out of eight million refugees, over six million were Hindus, and many more might follow—ending perhaps only when East Pakistan had no more Hindus left. Yahya's recent efforts to curtail such attacks had been of little use in a "virulent atmosphere" where loyalists got used to persecuting the Hindu minority...
    As a respected U.S. development official reported, the Pakistan army, driven by anti-Hindu ideology, was clearing East Pakistan of Hindus. Even Major General Rao Farman Ali Khan, the senior military man ruling East Pakistan, agreed with this U.S. official’s assessment that some 80 percent of the Hindus had left East Pakistan. Off the record, the Pakistani general admitted there were roughly six million refugees, and that another million and a half would eventually flee into India—roughly the number of Hindus still remaining in East Pakistan.
    • Bass, G. J. (2014) The Blood telegram: Nixon, Kissinger, and a forgotten genocide.
  • At least ten thousand civilians were butchered in the first three days. The eventual civilian death toll has never been placed at less than half a million and has been put as high as three million. Since almost all Hindu citizens were at risk by definition from Pakistani military chauvinism (not that Pakistan’s Muslim coreligionists were spared), a vast movement of millions of refugees—perhaps as many as ten million—began to cross the Indian frontier. To summarize, then: first, the direct negation of a democratic election; second, the unleashing of a genocidal policy; third, the creation of a very dangerous international crisis.
  • March 25th officially marks the beginning of the genocide in Bangladesh. The brutality unleashed by the Pakistani army and the targeting of Bengali Hindus simply because of their religion must be strongly condemned as religious freedom is one of the most sacred of human rights. It has been 50 years since the genocide in Bangladesh, and the survivors and their descendants are still fighting for recognition; they are still fighting for an apology from Pakistan, as the Prime Minister of Bangladesh formerly asked her Pakistani counterpart as recently as January of 2021; and they are still fighting for justice and for closure.
    • Hon Shirley Jackson Lee "In Remembrance of the 50th Anniversary of the Bengali Hindu Massacre" [3]
  • In any case where large numbers were massacred and it can be shown that on the particular occasion the intent was to kill Bengalis indiscriminately as such, then a crime of genocide would be established. There would seem to be a prima facie case to show that this was the intention on some occasions, as for example during the indiscriminate killing of civilians in the poorer quarters of Dacca during the 'crack-down'. ... As far as the other three groups are concerned, namely members of the Awami League, students and Hindus, only Hindus would seem to fall within the definition of ' a national, ethnical, racial or religious group '. There is overwhelming evidence that Hindus were slaughtered and their houses and villages destroyed simply because they were Hindus. The oft repeated phrase ' Hindus are enemies of the state ' as a justification for the killing does not gainsay the intent to commit genocide; rather does it confirm the intention. The Nazis regarded the Jews as enemies of the state and killed them as such. In our view there is a strong prima facie case that the crime of genocide was committed against the group comprising the Hindu population of East Bengal.
  • Whenever they found Hindus, the Pakistanis would capture them, kick them with their boots, attack them with bayonets, gouge out their eyes and then break their backs. If they survived this sort of brutality, they were then killed. Sudhamoy had seen many Muslims being beaten up but their lives would usually be spared but this never happened with the Hindus. During the war of independence,the corpses of many Hindus and Muslims who fought for their country were piled into a well in the local sweepers’ colony. In a poignant moment, even as the country rejoiced in its new-found independence, the relatives of people he had known like Majid, Rahim and Idris had come and cried over the bones of both Hindus and Muslims that were stacked in the well of Mathurpatti. Their tears had fallen even more copiously when they had realized that they had no way of distinguishing between the bones of the Majids and the Anils.
    • Lajja by Taslima Nasrin 38 ff Day Two

R.J. Rummel Death by Government (1994)[edit]

R.J. Rummel Death by Government: Genocide and Mass Murder Since 1900, New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction Publishers (1994)
  • The genocide and gendercidal atrocities were also perpetrated by lower-ranking officers and ordinary soldiers. These "willing executioners" were fueled by an abiding anti-Bengali racism, especially against the Hindu minority. "Bengalis were often compared with monkeys and chickens. Said General Niazi, "It was a low lying land of low lying people." The Hindus among the Bengalis were as Jews to the Nazis: scum and vermin that [should] best be exterminated. As to the Moslem Bengalis, they were to live only on the sufferance of the soldiers: any infraction, any suspicion cast on them, any need for reprisal, could mean their death. And the soldiers were free to kill at will. The journalist Dan Coggin quoted one Pakistani captain as telling him, "We can kill anyone for anything. We are accountable to no one." This is the arrogance of Power.
    • (no page reference)
  • In 1971, the self-appointed president of Pakistan and commander-in-chief of the army General Agha Mohammed Yahya Khan and his top generals prepared a careful and systematic military, economic, and political operation against East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). They planned to murder that country’s Bengali intellectual, cultural, and political elite. They planned to indiscriminately murder hundreds of thousands of its Hindus and drive the rest into India. And they planned to destroy its economic base to insure that it would be subordinate to West Pakistan for at least a generation to come. This despicable and cutthroat plan was outright genocide.
    After a well-organized military buildup in East Pakistan, the military launched its campaign. Within 267 days it killed about 1,500,000 people, turned another 10 million into refugees who fled to India, provoked a war with India, incited a countergenocide of 150,000 non-Bengalis, and lost East Pakistan.
    • (no page reference)
  • The plan of the top political and military leadership of the state of Pakistan was to arrest Sheikh Mujib for later disposition, kill other leaders and organizers of the Awami League, arrest or kill Bengalis in the army stationed in East Pakistan, kill or arrest all the top intellectuals and Bengali civil servants working there, kill most of the university students (who provided the rationale, energy, and organization for the pro-independence demonstrations), destroy the old shanty towns and city blocks in Dacca and kill their inhabitants (a home of mass support for the Awami League), and throughout East Pakistan kill a significant number of the 10 million Hindus, forcing the rest to flee across the border into India. All this would be launched in Dacca by surprise.
    • (no page reference)
  • That first night, army units also attacked the University of Dacca. Four American-built M-2 tanks shelled student dormitories at close range, killing many men and women students.13 Those students who survived until the morning were forced to dig mass graves for the dead and then themselves were lined up and shot.
    • (no page reference)
  • But the most horrible of all was the army’s attack the following day on the poor shanty-town area of Dacca’s old city. Over 1 million people lived there, along a jungle of winding narrow streets and alleys, and they were strong supporters of Sheikh Mujib. For twelve hours soldiers systematically razed one area of the old city or another. Gasoline was poured around blocks and ignited. People trying to escape the flames were shot down. Streetside squatter colonies were especially vulnerable and were destroyed by tanks. As the massacre proceeded, whole families were killed together. One can easily picture the horror and panic of these poor people as they jumped from windows or ran out of buildings and down streets and alleys to escape the flames, bullets, and tanks.21 It was no accident that this was mainly a Hindu section — it was part of the plan to kill large numbers of these “infidels” and to terrorize the rest into fleeing the province.
    • (no page reference)
  • Overall, in the first days of slaughter in Dacca, possibly 7,000, to 10,000 civilians,22 or 15,000 overall,23 maybe even as many as 50,000,24 were killed. If we just take the lower estimate of 10,000 as the number burned to death or shot in cold blood in Dacca, this alone would make it an incredible, premeditated act of mass murder. But within months the death toll throughout the province would be over 100 times this number. This, done by the authorities of an internationally recognized government.
    • (no page reference)
  • The atrocities committed in Dacca were more than equaled elsewhere. In particular, in what became province-wide acts of genocide,25 Hindus were sought out and killed on the spot. As a matter of course, soldiers would check males for the obligated circumcision among Moslems. If circumcised, they might live; if not, sure death. Women and children were no less victims, but this the army would self-righteously deny.
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  • According to the post-independence report of the Bangladesh Government Inquiry Committee, nearly one-third of all workers were murdered.29 Since there were nearly 2 million workers,30 this would mean the premeditated murder of around 666,000 in just nine months.
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  • As the soldiers advanced and consolidated control over one district or town after another, atrocities were repeated ad nauseam. Bengalis were spared no torture, no way in which their lives could not be stolen from them. Some accounts seem simply the stuff of propaganda but come from reputable sources or eyewitnesses. In a letter to The Guardian of London, for example, the Reverends John Hastings and John Clapham cite instances of babies tossed in the air and caught on bayonets, women bayoneted vertically, children sliced up like meat, and the heads of others smashed.31 A correspondent of The Daily Mirror reported from the province that soldiers had buried two boys “in mud that came up past their noses and the crows did the rest.”
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  • The army even operated its own death camps... There were no trials, no interrogation. The processing of the arrivals was simple. Seven or eight of them would be roped together, led to the river’s edge, and in the light of an arc lamp forced to wade out into knee deep water. And then, from above them on a pier jutting out into the water alongside, executioners would shoot down on the starkly lighted forms. Group upon group would be so executed.
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  • But most of all, the human death toll over only 267 days was incredible. Just to give for five out of the eighteen districts some incomplete statistics published in Bangladesh newspapers or by an Inquiry Committee, the Pakistani army killed 100,000 Bengalis in Dacca, 150,000 in Khulna, 75,000 in Jessore, 95,000 in Comilla, and 100,000 in Chittagong. For eighteen districts the total is 1,247,000 killed. This was an incomplete count, and to this day no one really knows the final toll. Some estimates of the democide are much lower — one is of 300,000 dead61 — but most range from 1 million62 to 3 million. In a David Frost television interview, Sheikh Mujib himself claimed that 3 million had been killed. Based on these and other estimates, it is likely that 300,000 to 3,000,000 men, women, and children were murdered, most probably the 1,500,000 ...
    • p. 331.
  • Hindus were sought out and killed on the spot. As a matter of course, soldiers would check males for the obligated circumcision among Muslims. If circumcised, they might live; if not, sure death.
    • p. 323, quoted in Mohit Roy 2009, quoted in R. Benkin A quiet case of ethnic cleansing (p. 35) Benkin, Richard L. (2014) A quiet case of ethnic cleansing: The murder of Bangladesh's Hindus.
  • [T]he Pakistani army and allied paramilitary groups killed about one out of every sixty-one people in Pakistan overall; one out of every twenty-five Bengalis, Hindus, and others in East Pakistan. If the rate of killing for all of Pakistan is annualized over the years the Yahya martial law regime was in power (March 1969 to December 1971), then this one regime was more lethal than that of the Soviet Union, China under the communists, or Japan under the military (even through World War II). That is, Yahya Kahn, a name still largely unknown outside of Pakistan and Bangladesh, killed in cold blood proportionally per year more people than Lenin, Stalin, or Mao Tse-tung. Of course, he must bow to Hitler and Pol Pot.
    • p. 331.

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