1950 East Pakistan genocide
The East Pakistan genocide of 1950 (Bengali: পঞ্চাশের গণহত্যা) refers to massacre of Bengali Hindus by Muslim mobs, the Pakistani police and the para-military accompanied by arson, loot, rape and abduction in the months of February and March 1950. An estimated 1 million Bengali Hindus were forced to migrate into India by the end of the year. The killings subsided after the conclusion of the Delhi Pact which was supposed to ensure the security of the minorities in the two dominions. Three Bengali Hindu ministers - Shyama Prasad Mukherjee and Kshitish Chandra Niyogi of India and Jogendra Nath Mandal of Pakistan resigned in protest of the government failure in protecting the Bengali Hindu minority in Pakistan.
On 20 December 1949, four police constables raided the house of one Joydev Brahma in the village of Kalshira under Mallahat police station in Bagerhat sub-division in the district of Khulna, in search of some suspected communists, late in the night. Failed to find any suspects the constables tried to rape the wife of Brahma. Her cry alerted him and his companions, who in a desperate bid to save her attacked two constables, one of whom died on the spot. The remaining two raised an alarm and the neighbouring people came to their rescue. On the next day, the District Superintendent of Police arrived in Kalshira accompanied by armed police contingent and the Ansars and attacked Kalshira and other neighbouring Hindu villages mercilessly. They encouraged Muslims from neighbouring villages to loot the Hindu properties. A number of Hindus were killed, men and women were forcibly converted. Images were broken and shrines were desecrated. All the 350 homesteads in the village, except three, were demolished. The cattle and boats were forcibly taken away. Within a month of the massacre 30,000 Hindus fled from Khulna to India.
In January 1950, a police officer along with a few police constables and some agitating Santal peasants were killed in a clash related to the Tebhaga movement in Nachole under Rajshahi district. Immediately after the incident the police launched an army offensive in the area. Villages after Santal villages were burnt down, the Santal peasants were beaten and tortured mercilessly. Santal properties were looted and Santal women were raped. 24 Santal peasants succumbed to death after police excesses at the Nachole police station. Several peasants were killed in Nawabganj and Rajshahi jails. Ila Mitra, the leader of the Tebhaga Movement was brutually tortured and raped in police custody.
By the evening, 90% Hindu shops of Dhaka were looted and many of them burnt. The Hindu jewellery shops were looted in the presence of police officers. An estimated 50,000 Hindus were displaced in seven hours of murder loot and arson. According to the PTI reports, the worst affected areas were Banagram and Makims Lane. Most of the houses in the two predominantly Hindu localities were completely looted, many completely burnt down and places of worship desecrated. Tajuddin Ahmed, who travelled in the different parts of Dhaka between 1 pm to 6 pm acknowledged the destruction and loss inflicted upon the Hindus by the Muslims in the localities of Nawabpur, Sadarghat, Patuatuli, Islampur, Digbazar, English Road, Bangshal and Chowk. According in Indian government sources, bodies of 200 Hindu victims were cremated in the first two days of violence.
On the afternoon of 12 February, 60 India-bound Hindu passengers were attacked at the Kurmitola airport. All the non-Muslim passengers arriving at the Tejgaon airport were stabbed.
In Barisal, riots started on 13 February. Hindus were killed, raped and abducted indiscriminately. According to the press note of the Government of East Bengal two unidentified youths began to spread provocative rumours on the afternoon of 13 February in the town of Barisal. As a result many of the shops in the market closed down. Another rumour was spread that Fazlul Haque had been murdered inKolkata. At the nightfall eight places were set on fire. 30 houses and shops were reduced to ashes and ten persons were severely burnt. The situation further deteriorated after 16 February when indiscriminate loot and arson of Hindu properties started in Gournadi, Jhalakati and Nalchiti under Sadar sub-division of Barisal district. The Hindu passengers on the water route between Barisal and Dhaka were killed within the steamer and thrown in the river.
In the river port of Muladi in Barisal district, several hundred Hindus took shelter in the police station after their homes were torched. They were later attacked within the police station compound and most of them were killed within the precincts of the police station. A Hindu school teacher was roasted alive by his Muslim students who danced around the fire. In the village of Madhabpasha, under Babugunge police station presently Babuganj upazila, two to three hundred Hindus were rounded up by a Muslim mob. They were made to squat in a row and their heads were chopped off one by one with a ramda. In the Madhabpasha zamindar house 200 Hindus were killed and 40 injured.
Satindranath Sen, the local Hindu leader and member of East Bengal assembly was arrested on 15 February under Section 307 C.C.P. and B.S.P.O. 1946 and imprisoned as an ordinary prisoner. Sen wrote to Liaquat Ali Khan, the Prime Minister of Pakistan on 18 February appraising him of the situation in Barisal.
According to contemporary Muslim eye witnesses a few thousand Hindus were killed and about two thousand Hindus went missing from Barisal district alone. Documentary filmmaker Supriyo Sen estimated that as many as 650,000 Hindus attempted to flee from Barisal to India and on their way were looted, killed and abducted.
In Chittagong, four persons from the Buddhist community, including a police inspector were stabbed and monasteries were demolished. The residences of some Buddhist families in Fatickchari police station area and that of a Buddhist zamindar in Lamburhat under Rowjan police station were burnt to ashes. As a consequence large numbers of Buddhist people migrated toLushai Hills in India. On 12 February riots started in Chittagong town. The Hindu pilgrims who had assembled in Sitakunda on the occasion of Maha Shivaratri were attacked by Muslim mobs. Nellie Sengupta, member of East Bengal assembly from Chittagong wrote to the Liaquat Ali Khan, the Prime Minister of Pakistan about the anti-Hindu riots in Chittagong.
In the Feni sub-division of Noakhali, the Hindus were attacked on 2 February, even before the attacks had actually broken out inDhaka. One Hindu was killed and seven injured. Nine Hindu shops were looted. On the 10th February, the Hindus were attacked in Noakhali town. On the afternoon of 13 February, the Hindus were attacked in broad daylight in the town of Feni, within 200 yards of the S.D.O., the police station and the courts. The Hindu quarters of the town like Masterpara, Ukilpara, Daktarpara, Sahadebpur, Barahaipur and Sultanpur were attacked and looted and then set on fire. Gurudas Kar, an influential member of the Hindu community was killed. After the destruction of the Hindu areas of the Feni town, the violence spread to the nearby villages under the Feni andChhagalnaiyan police stations, mainly habitated by the Nath community. The villages of Banspara, Rampur, Madhupur, Srichandrapur, Basikpur, Chakbasta, Shibpur, Baligaon were burnt to ashes.
The Hindu women were abducted and forcefully married to Muslims. Harendra Kar's teenage daughter Mila Kar was forcefully married to Sultan Mian, a civil supply contractor after her father, grandfather and son were slaughtered. A married Hindu woman named Ranubala was forcefully married to Rahmat Ali, the son of Honorary Magistrate Barik Mian.
The attacks continued till 23 February and by then 4,500 Hindus had taken shelter at the refugee camp at Feni College and another 2,500 were scattered in various refugee camps across the Noakhali district. The Hindus who were trying to flee to the Indian state of Tripura were looted and assaulted on the way. Hindu women and children were held at the Chandpur and Akhaura railway stations. The Ansars, the police and the Muslim mobs refused to allow them to flee to Agartala or Kolkata. According to Amritabazar Patrika report, 5,000 Hindus fled to Belonia, in the Indian state of Tripura.
In Sylhet, the arson, loot and massacre were perpetrated in an extensive manner. 203 villages were devastated and more than 800Hindu religious places were desecrated. In the villages of Dhamai, Baradhami, Pubghat and Baraitali about 500 Manipuri families were affected by the riots.
On 28 February, the Kolkata bound Assam Mail was attacked.
In the Jamalpur and Kishoreganj sub-divisions of Mymensingh district, rioting started on 11 February and continued till 15th. The neighbouring Hindu villages around Sherpur, namely Lakshmanpur, Mucherer Char, Char Sherpur Jhankata, Bhatsana and Sapmari were attacked. Hindu houses were looted and burnt. The Hindu houses in the villages of Atkapara, Firozpur and Budda villages were burnt. In Jumpur village, three members of the family of Tarak Saha were killed and their residence burnt.
On 12 February, the Hindu passengers in the Akhaura - Bhairab Bazar rail route between Comilla and Mymensingh were massacred.Taya Zinkin the reporter of the London Economist and the Manchester Guardian reported that the Mymensingh bound trains from Ashuganj were stopped on the Bhairab Bridge on the Meghna. The Muslim mobs attacked the Hindu passengers from both sides of the bridge. Those who dived into the river and tried to swam ashore were hit by brickbats and forcefully drowned. According to eyewitness Pierre Dillani about 2,000 Hindus were massacred on the Bhairab Bridge. On the same day, the Hindu passengers on board were attacked near Sararchar, a railway station between Bhairab Bazar and Kishoreganj.
Santosh Chatterjee, a PTI correspondent was imprisoned on 25 November 1949 without any charges and released after a month. In February, several attempts were made on Indian newspaper correspondents in Feni sub-division in Noakhali. Dr. Dhirendra Kumar Dutta the younger brother of PTI correspondent Jadugopal Dutta was stabbed to death. On 2 March 1950, Jawaharlal Nehru, the Prime Minister of India, in a session in the Parliament, acknowledged that all correspondents attached to Indian newspapers and the Press Trust of India, working in East Pakistan were disaccredited and prevented from sending any news.
Protests in India
The Government of West Bengal lodged a strong protest with the Pakistan government.
Jawahar Lal Nehru, the Prime Minister of India visited Kolkata on 6 March and later on 16 March and after seeing the plight of theBengali Hindu refugees he made an appeal to Pakistani Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan to stop the atrocities.
There was a major influx of Bengali Hindu refugees in West Bengal after the Kalshira massacre. In March 1950, an estimated 75,000Bengali Hindu refugees from East Bengal were admitted in the refugee camps of West Bengal. According to Rabindranath Trivedi, a total of 3.5 million Hindu refugees arrived in India in 1950.
According to the Time magazine, 70,000 Hindus fled from East Pakistan to India when the passport was introduced on 15 October 1952.
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