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1971 Bangladesh atrocities

1971 Bangladesh atrocities

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Beginning with the start of Operation Searchlight
Operation Searchlight
Operation Searchlight was a planned military operation carried out by the Pakistan Army to curb the Bengali nationalist movement in the erstwhile East Pakistan in March 1971. Ordered by the central government in West Pakistan, this was seen as the sequel to "Operation Blitz" which had been...

 on 25 March 1971 and continuing throughout the Bangladesh Liberation War
Bangladesh Liberation War
The Bangladesh Liberation War was an armed conflict pitting East Pakistan and India against West Pakistan. The war resulted in the secession of East Pakistan, which became the independent nation of Bangladesh....

, there were widespread violations of human rights
Human rights
Human rights are "commonly understood as inalienable fundamental rights to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being." Human rights are thus conceived as universal and egalitarian . These rights may exist as natural rights or as legal rights, in both national...

 in East Pakistan
East Pakistan
East Pakistan was a provincial state of Pakistan established in 14 August 1947. The provincial state existed until its declaration of independence on 26 March 1971 as the independent nation of Bangladesh. Pakistan recognized the new nation on 16 December 1971. East Pakistan was created from Bengal...

 (now Bangladesh
Bangladesh
Bangladesh , officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh is a sovereign state located in South Asia. It is bordered by India on all sides except for a small border with Burma to the far southeast and by the Bay of Bengal to the south...

)
perpetrated by the Pakistan Army
Pakistan Army
The Pakistan Army is the branch of the Pakistani Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. The Pakistan Army came into existence after the Partition of India and the resulting independence of Pakistan in 1947. It is currently headed by General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani. The Pakistan...

, with support from local political and religious militias, especially against Hindus. Time
Time (magazine)
Time is an American news magazine. A European edition is published from London. Time Europe covers the Middle East, Africa and, since 2003, Latin America. An Asian edition is based in Hong Kong...

reported a high ranking U.S. official as saying "It is the most incredible, calculated thing since the days of the Nazis in Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

."

Bangladeshi authorities claim that 3 million people were killed, while the Hamoodur Rahman Commission, an official Pakistan Government investigation, put the figure as low as 26,000 civilian casualties. The international media and reference books in English have also published figures which vary greatly from 200,000 to 3,000,000 for Bangladesh as a whole. A further eight to ten million people fled the country to seek safety in India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

.

Many of the murdered intellectuals were victims of the collaborators within the West Pakistan Army: Razakars, Al-Shams and Al-Badr
Al-Badr (East Pakistan)
The Al-Badr was the paramilitary wing of the Jamaat-e-Islami in Bangladesh that collaborated with the Pakistan Army against the Bengali nationalist movement in the Bangladesh Liberation War. The present chief of the Jamaat, Maulana Motiur Rahman Nizami headed the Al-Badr organisation as the...

 forces, at the instruction of the Pakistani Army. There are many mass graves in Bangladesh, and more are continually being discovered (such as one in an old well near a mosque in Dhaka
Dhaka
Dhaka is the capital of Bangladesh and the principal city of Dhaka Division. Dhaka is a megacity and one of the major cities of South Asia. Located on the banks of the Buriganga River, Dhaka, along with its metropolitan area, had a population of over 15 million in 2010, making it the largest city...

, located in the non-Bengali region of the city, which was discovered in August 1999). The first night of war on Bengalis, which is documented in telegrams from the American Consulate in Dhaka to the United States State Department, saw indiscriminate killings of students of Dhaka University and other civilians.

Numerous women were raped, tortured and killed during the war. The exact numbers are not known and are a subject of debate with some sources quoting figures as high as 400,000. One of the more horrible revelations concerns 563 young Bengali women, some only 18, who were held captive inside Dhaka's dingy military cantonment
Cantonment
A cantonment is a temporary or semi-permanent military or police quarters. The word cantonment is derived from the French word canton meaning corner or district, as is the name of the Cantons of Switzerland. In South Asia, the term cantonment also describes permanent military stations...

 since the first days of the fighting. They were seized from Dhaka University and private homes and forced into military brothels, with some of the women carrying war babies
War Babies
War Babies is the third album by Hall & Oates, released in 1974, and their last of three albums for Atlantic Records before moving to the RCA label...

 being released.

There was significant sectarian violence not only perpetrated by the West Pakistani army, but also by Bengali nationalists against non-Bengali minorities, especially Bihari
Bihari people
The Biharis are an ethnic group originating from the present state of Bihar with a history going back three millennia...

s.

On 16 December 2002, the George Washington University's
George Washington University
The George Washington University is a private, coeducational comprehensive university located in Washington, D.C. in the United States...

 National Security Archive
National Security Archive
The National Security Archive is a 501 non-governmental, non-profit research and archival institution located in the George Washington University in Washington, D.C.. Founded in 1985 by Scott Armstrong, it archives and publishes declassified U.S. government files concerning selected topics of US...

 published a collection of declassified documents, consisting mostly of communications between US embassy officials and USIS centers in Dhaka and India, and officials in Washington DC. name=sajit-gandhi>Gandhi, Sajit, ed. (16 December 2002), The Tilt: The U.S. and the South Asian Crisis of 1971: National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 79 These documents show that US officials working in diplomatic institutions within Bangladesh used the terms selective genocide name="SelectiveGenocide">U.S. Consulate in Dacca (March 27, 1971), Selective genocide, Cable (PDF) and genocide (see The Blood Telegram) to describe events they had knowledge of at the time. The complete chronology of events as reported to the Nixon administration can be found on the Department of State website.

Every major publication and newspaper in Bangladesh and some international publications on genocide and human rights abuses use the term genocide to describe the event.

Operation Searchlight



Operation Searchlight
Operation Searchlight
Operation Searchlight was a planned military operation carried out by the Pakistan Army to curb the Bengali nationalist movement in the erstwhile East Pakistan in March 1971. Ordered by the central government in West Pakistan, this was seen as the sequel to "Operation Blitz" which had been...

 was a planned military pacification carried out by the Pakistan Army
Pakistan Army
The Pakistan Army is the branch of the Pakistani Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. The Pakistan Army came into existence after the Partition of India and the resulting independence of Pakistan in 1947. It is currently headed by General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani. The Pakistan...

 to curb the Bengal
Bengal
Bengal is a historical and geographical region in the northeast region of the Indian Subcontinent at the apex of the Bay of Bengal. Today, it is mainly divided between the sovereign land of People's Republic of Bangladesh and the Indian state of West Bengal, although some regions of the previous...

i nationalist movement in erstwhile East Pakistan
East Pakistan
East Pakistan was a provincial state of Pakistan established in 14 August 1947. The provincial state existed until its declaration of independence on 26 March 1971 as the independent nation of Bangladesh. Pakistan recognized the new nation on 16 December 1971. East Pakistan was created from Bengal...

 in March 1971 Ordered by the government in West Pakistan
West Pakistan
West Pakistan , common name West-Pakistan , in the period between its establishment on 22 November 1955 to disintegration on December 16, 1971. This period, during which, Pakistan was divided, ended when East-Pakistan was disintegrated and succeeded to become which is now what is known as Bangladesh...

, this was seen as the sequel to Operation Blitz which had been launched in November 1970.

The original plan envisioned taking control of the major cities on 26 March 1971, and then eliminating all opposition, political or military, within one month. The prolonged Bengali resistance was not anticipated by Pakistani planners. The main phase of Operation Searchlight ended with the fall of the last major town in Bengali hands in mid May.

Casualties


The number of civilians that died in the Bangladesh War is not accurately known. There is a great disparity in the casualty figures put forth by Pakistan on one hand (25,000, as reported in the Hamoodur Rahman Commission) and India and Bangladesh on the other hand. (From 1972 to 1975 the first post-war prime minister
Prime minister
A prime minister is the most senior minister of cabinet in the executive branch of government in a parliamentary system. In many systems, the prime minister selects and may dismiss other members of the cabinet, and allocates posts to members within the government. In most systems, the prime...

 of Bangladesh, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, claimed on several occasions that at least three million died). The international media and reference books in English have also published figures which vary greatly: varying from 5,000–35,000 in Dhaka, and 200,000–3,000,000 for Bangladesh as a whole. It is believed in certain quarters that the figure of three million has its origins in comments made by Yahya Khan
Yahya Khan
General Agha Mohammad Yahya Khan Qizilbash, H.Pk, HJ, S.Pk, psc was the third President of Pakistan from 1969 to 1971, following the resignation of Ayub Khan...

 to the journalist Robert Payne on 22 February 1971: "Kill three million of them, and the rest will eat out of our hands."

In October 1997 R. J. Rummel
R. J. Rummel
Rudolph Joseph Rummel is professor emeritus of political science at the University of Hawaii. He has spent his career assembling data on collective violence and war with a view toward helping their resolution or elimination...

 published a book, which is available on the web, titled Statistics of Democide: Genocide and Mass Murder Since 1900. In Chapter 8, Statistics Of Pakistan's Democide - Estimates, Calculations, And Sources, he states:
Rummel goes on to collate what he considers the most credible estimates published by others into what he calls democide
Democide
Democide is a term revived and redefined by the political scientist R. J. Rummel as "the murder of any person or people by a government, including genocide, politicide, and mass murder." Rummel created the term as an extended concept to include forms of government murder that are not covered by the...

. He writes that "Consolidating both ranges, I give a final estimate of Pakistan's democide to be 300,000 to 3,000,000, or a prudent 1,500,000."

The Office of the Historian of the United States Department of State
United States Department of State
The United States Department of State , is the United States federal executive department responsible for international relations of the United States, equivalent to the foreign ministries of other countries...

 held a two-day conference in late June 2005 on U.S. policy in South Asia
South Asia
South Asia, also known as Southern Asia, is the southern region of the Asian continent, which comprises the sub-Himalayan countries and, for some authorities , also includes the adjoining countries to the west and the east...

 between 1961 and 1972. According to a newspaper report published in both Pakistani and Bangladeshi newspapers, Bangladeshi speakers at the conference stated that the official Bangladeshi figure of civilian deaths was close to 300,000, which was wrongly translated from Bengali into English as three million. Ambassador Shamsher M. Chowdhury acknowledged that Bangladesh alone cannot correct this mistake and suggested that Pakistan and Bangladesh should form a joint commission to investigate the 1971 disaster and prepare a report.

Killing of intellectuals



During the war, the Pakistan Army and its local collaborators carried out a systematic execution of the leading Bengali intellectuals. A number of professors from Dhaka University were killed during the first few days of the war. However, the most extreme cases of targeted killing
Targeted killing
Targeted killing is the deliberate, specific targeting and killing, by a government or its agents, of a supposed terrorist or of a supposed "unlawful combatant" who is not in that government's custody...

 of intellectuals took place during the last few days of the war. Professors, journalists, doctors, artists, engineers, writers were rounded up by Pakistan Army and the Razakar
Razakar
Razakar is an Urdu word for volunteer and may historically refer to:*Razakars : Islamist East Pakistani militia that aided the Pakistan Army against the Mukti Bahini during the Bangladesh Liberation War...

 militia in Dhaka, blindfolded, taken to torture cells in Mirpur, Mohammadpur, Nakhalpara, Rajarbagh and other locations in different sections of the city to be executed en masse in the killing fields
The Killing Fields
The Killing Fields are a number of sites in Cambodia where large numbers of people were killed and buried by the Khmer Rouge regime, during its rule of the country from 1975 to 1979, immediately after the end of the Cambodian Civil War ....

, most notably at Rayerbazar and Mirpur
Mirpur Thana
Mirpur is a thana of Dhaka city, Bangladesh. It is bounded by Pallabi Thana to the north, Mohammadpur Thana to the south, Kafrul to the east - to the west it is bounded by Savar Upazila.-Geography:Mirpur is located at...

. Allegedly, the Pakistani Army and its paramilitary arm, the Al-Badr
Al-Badr (East Pakistan)
The Al-Badr was the paramilitary wing of the Jamaat-e-Islami in Bangladesh that collaborated with the Pakistan Army against the Bengali nationalist movement in the Bangladesh Liberation War. The present chief of the Jamaat, Maulana Motiur Rahman Nizami headed the Al-Badr organisation as the...

 and Al-Shams forces created a list of doctors, teachers, poets, and scholars.

During the nine month duration of the war, the Pakistani army, with the assistance of local collaborators systematically executed an estimated 991 teachers, 13 journalists, 49 physicians, 42 lawyers, and 16 writers, artists and engineers. Even after the official ending of the war on 16 December there were reports of firing from the armed Pakistani soldiers or their collaborators. In one such incident, notable film-maker Jahir Raihan was killed on January 30, 1972 in Mirpur allegedly by the armed Beharis. In memory of the persons killed, December 14 is mourned in Bangladesh as Shaheed Buddhijibi Dibosh ("Day of the Martyred Intellectuals").

Several noted intellectuals who were killed from the time period of 25 March to 16 December 1971 in different parts of the country include Dhaka University professors Dr. Govinda Chandra Dev
Govinda Chandra Dev
Govinda Chandra Dev , or G.C. Dev as he is popularly known as, was a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Dhaka. He was assassinated at the onset of Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971 by the Pakistan Army as part of a plan to eliminate the Bangladeshi intelligentsia.-Early life:G.C...

 (Philosophy), Dr. Munier Chowdhury
Munier Chowdhury
Munier Chowdhury was a Bangladeshi educationist, playwright, literary critic and political dissident.-Education:...

 (Bengali Literature), Dr. Mufazzal Haider Chaudhury
Mufazzal Haider Chaudhury
Mufazzal Haider Chaudhury was a prominent Bengali essayist, prized scholar of Bengali literature, educator and linguist of the Bengali language...

 (Bengali Literature), Dr. Anwar Pasha
Anwar Pasha
Anwar Pasha was a Bangladeshi author and novelist. He was a martyred intellectual of 1971. Anwar Pasha was born in 15 April 1928 at Dabkai village in Murshidabad. His father was Haji Makrom Ali.-Life:...

 (Bengali Literature), Dr M Abul Khair (History), Dr. Jyotirmoy Guhathakurta
Jyotirmoy Guhathakurta
Jyotirmoy Guhathakurta was a Bengali educator and humanist of the former East Pakistan, now Bangladesh. He was one of the Bengali intellectuals assaulted by Pakistan Army during the 1971 Dhaka University massacre on the night of 25 March 1971.-Early life:...

 (English Literature), Humayun Kabir (English Literature), Rashidul Hasan (English Literature) and Saidul Hassan (Physics), as well Dr. Hobibur Rahman (Professor of Mathematics at Rajshahi University), Dr. Mohammed Fazle Rabbee
Mohammed Fazle Rabbee
Dr. Mohammed Fazle Rabbee , was a renowned cardiologist and a published medical researcher. He was the joint professor of Cardiology and Internal Medicine at Dhaka Medical College and Hospital. Rabbee was not a man of ordinary intellect...

 (Cardiologist), Dr. Alim Chowdhury (Ophthalmologist), Shahidullah Kaiser
Shahidullah Kaiser
Shahidullah Kaiser was a Bangladeshi novelist and writer. He was born on 16 February 1927 in the Mazupur village in what is now the Feni District, Bangladesh.-Early life and education:...

 (Journalist), Nizamuddin Ahmed (Journalist), Selina Parvin (Journalist), Altaf Mahmud
Altaf Mahmud
Altaf Mahmud was a musician, cultural activist and martyred freedom fighter of the Bangladesh Liberation War...

 (Lyricist and musician), Dhirendranath Datta
Dhirendranath Datta
Dhirendranath Datta was a Bengali lawyer by profession who was also active in the politics of undivided Bengal in pre-partition India, and later in East Pakistan...

 (Politician), Ranadaprasad Saha
Ranadaprasad Saha
Ranadaprasad Saha , also known as RP Saha and Ranoda Proshad Shaha, was a famous Indian, Pakistani, and Bangladeshi businessman and philanthropist, who during the Bangladesh Liberation War was picked up from home by the Pakistani army on 7th May 1971 and never returned home.- Early life :Ranada...

 (Philanthropist) and Ayman Zaman (Entrepreneur & Musician).

Violence against women


Numerous women were tortured, raped and killed during the war. Again, exact numbers are not known and are a subject of debate. Bangladeshi sources cite a figure of 200,000 women raped, giving birth to thousands of war-babies. The Pakistan Army also kept numerous Bengali women as sex-slaves inside the Dhaka Cantonment. Most of the girls were captured from Dhaka University and private homes.

Among other sources, Susan Brownmiller
Susan Brownmiller
Susan Brownmiller is an American feminist, journalist, author, and activist. She is best known for her pioneering work on the politics of rape in her 1975 book Against Our Will: Men, Women, and Rape, Brownmiller argues that rape had been hitherto defined by men rather than women; and that men use,...

 refers to an even higher number of over 400,000. Pakistani sources claim the number is much lower, though having not completely denied rape incidents. Brownmiller quotes:
Khadiga, thirteen years old, was interviewed by a photojournalist in Dacca. She was walking to school with four other girls when they were kidnapped by a gang of Pakistani soldiers. All five were put in a military brothel in Mohammedpur and held captive for six months until the end of the war.


The licentious attitude of the soldiers, although generally supported by the superiors, alarmed the regional high command of Pakistan army. On April 15, 1971, in a secret memorandum to the divisional commanders, Niazi complained,
Another work that has included direct experiences from the women raped is Ami Birangona Bolchhi ("I, the heroine, speak") by Nilima Ibrahim
Nilima Ibrahim
Nilima Ibrahim was an Indian, East Pakistani, and later Bangladeshi educationist, littérateur and social worker. She is well known for her outstanding scholarship on Bangla literature but even more so for her depiction of raped and tortured women in the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War in her book...

. The work includes in its name from the word Birangona (Heroine), given by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman after the war, to the raped and tortured women during the war. This was a conscious effort to alleviate any social stigma the women might face in the society. How successful this effort was is doubtful, though.
In October 2005 Sarmila Bose
Sarmila Bose
Sarmila Bose is the Director of the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at Oxford University in 2006....

 (a Boston, Massachusetts born Harvard-educated Bengali India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

n academic), published a paper suggesting that the casualties and rape allegations in the war have been greatly exaggerated for political purposes. This work has been criticised in Bangladesh and her research methods have been attacked by expatriate Bengalis as shoddy and biased because of the work's heavy reliance on Pakistani sources and for discrediting victims' testimonies based on their lack of formal education.

Violence against minorities


The minorities of Bangladesh, especially the Hindus, were specific targets of the Pakistan army. There was widespread killing of Hindu males, and rapes of women. More than 60% of the Bengali refugees who fled to India were Hindus. It is not exactly known what percentage of the people killed by the Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

 army were Hindus, but it is safe to say it was disproportionately high. This widespread violence against Hindus was motivated by a policy to purge East Pakistan of what was seen as Hindu and Indian influences. The West Pakistani rulers identified the Bengali culture with Hindu and Indian culture, and thought that the eradication of Hindus would remove such influences from the majority Muslims in East Pakistan.

R.J. Rummel has stated states that

Violence against Biharis


In 1947, at the time of partition, Bihari Muslims, many of whom were fleeing the violence that took place during partition, fled to the newly independent East Pakistan. This Urdu speaking people held a disproportionate number in the new country's population. Biharis were adverse to the Bengali language movement and the subsequent nationalist movements as they maintained allegiance toward West Pakistani rulers. Between December 1970 and March 1971, Bengali nationalists subjected non-Bengali minorities, especially Bihari
Bihari people
The Biharis are an ethnic group originating from the present state of Bihar with a history going back three millennia...

s, to systematic persecution. It is estimated that between 15,000 and 50,000 Biharis were killed during this period, and is believed by some that elements of the Mukti Bahini, with active support from the BDR and intelligence, either led or failed to stop the violence against the Biharis. When the war broke out in 1971, the Biharis sided with the Pakistan army. Some of them joined Razakar
Razakars (Pakistan)
The Razakar was the paramilitary force organized by the Pakistan Army during the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971.The Urdu word razakar literally means "volunteer". The Razakar force was composed of mostly pro-Pakistani Bengalis and Urdu-speaking migrants living in erstwhile East Pakistan...

 and Al-Shams militia groups and participated in the persecution and genocide of their Bengali countrymen including the widespread looting of Bengali properties and abetting in other criminal activities against them.

Genocide debate


Time
Time (magazine)
Time is an American news magazine. A European edition is published from London. Time Europe covers the Middle East, Africa and, since 2003, Latin America. An Asian edition is based in Hong Kong...

reported a high U.S. official as saying "It is the most incredible, calculated thing since the days of the Nazis in Poland."
Genocide
Genocide
Genocide is defined as "the deliberate and systematic destruction, in whole or in part, of an ethnic, racial, religious, or national group", though what constitutes enough of a "part" to qualify as genocide has been subject to much debate by legal scholars...

is the term that is used to describe the event in almost every major publication and newspaper in Bangladesh. Apart from that all international publications on genocide and human rights abuses classify the atrocities of 1971 as an act of genocide by West Pakistan.

After the minimum 20 countries became parties to the Genocide Convention, it came into force as international law on 12 January 1951. At that time however, only two of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council were parties to the treaty, and it was not until after the last of the last five permanent members ratified the treaty in 1988, and the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

 came to an end, that the international law on the crime of genocide began to be enforced. As such, the allegation that genocide took place during the Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971 was never investigated by an international tribunal set up under the auspices of the United Nations.

Although both Pakistan and its primary ally USA have denied genocide allegations, the word ‘genocide’ was and is used frequently amongst observers and scholars of the events that transpired during the 1971 war. It is also used in some publications outside the subcontinent; for example, The Guinness Book of Records lists the Bengali atrocities as one of the top 5 genocide
Genocide
Genocide is defined as "the deliberate and systematic destruction, in whole or in part, of an ethnic, racial, religious, or national group", though what constitutes enough of a "part" to qualify as genocide has been subject to much debate by legal scholars...

s in the 20th century.

On 16 December 2002, the George Washington University’s National Security Archives published a collection of declassified documents, mostly consisting of communications between US officials working in embassies and USIS centers in Dhaka and in India, and officials in Washington DC. These documents show that US officials working in diplomatic institutions within Bangladesh used the terms ‘selective genocide’ and ‘genocide’ (Blood telegram) to describe events they had knowledge of at the time. They also show that President Nixon, advised by Henry Kissinger
Henry Kissinger
Heinz Alfred "Henry" Kissinger is a German-born American academic, political scientist, diplomat, and businessman. He is a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. He served as National Security Advisor and later concurrently as Secretary of State in the administrations of Presidents Richard Nixon and...

, decided to downplay this secret internal advice, because he wanted to protect the interests of Pakistan as he was apprehensive of India's friendship with the USSR, and he was seeking a closer relationship with China, who supported Pakistan.

In his book The Trial of Henry Kissinger
The Trial of Henry Kissinger
The Trial of Henry Kissinger is Christopher Hitchens' examination of the alleged war crimes of Henry Kissinger, the National Security Advisor and later Secretary of State for President Nixon and President Ford...

, Christopher Hitchens
Christopher Hitchens
Christopher Eric Hitchens is an Anglo-American author and journalist whose books, essays, and journalistic career span more than four decades. He has been a columnist and literary critic at The Atlantic, Vanity Fair, Slate, World Affairs, The Nation, Free Inquiry, and became a media fellow at the...

 elaborates on what he saw as the efforts of Kissinger to subvert the aspirations of independence on the part of the Bengalis. Hitchens not only claims that the term genocide is appropriate to describe the results of the struggle, but also points to the efforts of Henry Kissinger in undermining others who condemned the then ongoing atrocities as being a genocide.

War trial attempts


Immediately after the war, the topic of putting the war criminals to trial arose. Just as the war ended, Bangladeshi prime minister Tajuddin Ahmed admitted to Professor Anisuzzaman
Anisuzzaman
Anisuzzaman is an author and academic of Bengali literature. He is Professor Emeritus of the University of Dhaka. He has received the Bangla Academy Award and the Ananda Purashkar for his work in the field of Bengali literature...

 that the trial of the alleged Pakistani military personnel may not be possible because of pressures from the U.S., and that neither India nor the Soviet Union were interested in seeing a trial.

On December 24, 1971 Home minister of Bangladesh A. H. M. Qamaruzzaman
A. H. M. Qamaruzzaman
Abul Hasnat Muhammad Qamaruzzaman was a Bangladeshi politician, senior government minister and a leading member of the Awami League...

 said, "war criminals will not survive from the hands of law. Pakistani military personnel who were involved with killing and raping have to face tribunal." In a joint statement after a meeting between Sheikh Mujib and Indira Gandhi
Indira Gandhi
Indira Priyadarshini Gandhara was an Indian politician who served as the third Prime Minister of India for three consecutive terms and a fourth term . She was assassinated by Sikh extremists...

, the Indian government assured that it would give all necessary assistance for bringing war criminals into justice. By July 1972, the Bangladeshi government reduced the number of alleged war criminals from 400 to 195. In his book Liberation and Beyond, JN Dixit wrote that the Bangladeshi government was not interested about gathering evidence about the handful of war criminals. He was uncertain about the reason for this approach, and considered that it may have been the result of a negotiation between the Bangladeshi and Pakistani governments. He thought that Sheikh Mujib did not want to do anything that would stop Pakistan and other Muslim states from giving Bangladesh official recognition. Worldwide support in favor of war trials faded after the 3 nation agreement.

On December 29, 1991 one of the alleged war criminals, Ghulam Azam, became the Chairman or Aamir of Jamaat-e-Islami
Jamaat-e-Islami
This article is about Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan. For other organizations of similar name see Jamaat-e-Islami The Jamaat-e-Islami , is a Pro-Muslim political party in Pakistan...

 which prompted political debates. As a result, a National Committee was established after a proposal of writer and political activist Jahanara Imam
Jahanara Imam
Jahanara Imam was a Bangladeshi writer and political activist. She is most widely remembered for her efforts to bring those accused of committing war crimes in the Bangladesh Liberation War to trial...

. Subsequently on February 14, 1992 "Ekattorer Ghatak-Dalal Nirmul Committee" was formed to bring Azam and his followers to trial. On March 6, 52 Muslim clerics supported the effort. An open court named Gonoadalot was formed and, on March 26, 1992, Jahanara Imam read out the verdict against Azam. Following the verdict Sheikh Hasina
Sheikh Hasina
Sheikh Hasina is a Bangladeshi politician and current Prime Minister of Bangladesh. She has been the President of the Awami League, a major political party, since 1981. She is the eldest of five children of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the founding father of Bangladesh and widow of a reputed nuclear...

moved a proposal in the house to begin the prosecution, but it was not passed.

A case was filed in the Federal Court of Australia on September 20, 2006 for alleged crimes of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity during 1971 by the Pakistani Armed Forces and its collaborators. Raymond Solaiman & Associates acting for the plaintiff Mr. Solaiman, have released a press statement which among other things says:

On May 21, 2007, at the request of the applicant "Leave is granted to the applicant to discontinue his application filed on September 20, 2006." (FILE NO: (P)SYG2672/2006)

Further reading