The Hidden Democide

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The Hidden Democide1

My son promised me he could come back to me after the war ended. The war has ended; my son did not come back home. But so what, now I have thousands of sons”

-Victim’s mother
On December 16 of 1971, the Nation of Bengal, or Bangladesh was established. After two hundred years under British colonialism, the state of Bengal became East Pakistan, ruled by West Pakistan. For the next twenty years, East Pakistan was dominated by an aggressive, tyrannical government, and was socially, culturally, economically, and politically repressed. In 1969, the intellectuals of Bengal pushed political leaders for reform. The nationalist movement led to Bangladesh’s liberation in December of 1971. However, they did not gain their liberation without a fight; an estimated of three million innocent people were brutally tortured, murdered, along with three hundred thousand women and children raped, and another ten million dislocated from their homes.

To this day, those who were responsible for the horrific acts of 1971 were never brought to trial. In fact, some of the perpetrators that helped carry out the democide are still active community members. They have violated International agreements, such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. An international tribunal, such as the Nuremburg Trials, is very much needed to prevent a future act of genocide.

This paper will first address how British colonialism paved the road for the democide that occurred nearly twenty-five years after British left the Indian subcontinent. Secondly, the paper will show how the West Pakistan government dominated East Pakistan and why it was necessary for change. Third, provide substantial evidence of a democide occurring in the region. Lastly, we will discuss the need for a tribunal in order to prevent a future genocide.

British Influence

After World War II, most European countries could no longer colonize foreign lands. They needed to allocate all their resources to rebuild their own nation after the war. After two hundred years of ruling the Indian subcontinent, Britain was forced to grant India its independence in 1947.

However, Britain did not leave the subcontinent without causing serious internal damage. Contrary to popular opinion, Britain divided India into two separate countries, Pakistan and India, solely based on religion. Many leaders, including Mahatma Gandhi, were against dividing the region based on religion and ethnic divisions. Problems were due to rise, especially since large minority groups had no choice but to stay where they have been living before the partition.

After the partition in 1947, Hindus were to stay in India, and the Muslims were to migrate to Pakistan. This lead to mass migration, which caused thousands of deaths. However, majority of Hindus and Muslims resided where they were born.

Britain was notoriously known for its “divide and conquer” tactics, instigating either between the Muslims and the Hindus or between the princes that ruled different regions of India. The British manipulated the relations between groups of people by bribing one group and causing internal conflicts. This worked in advantage of the British because if the Indian leaders were fighting with one another, then there would be no chance of them uniting and fighting the British. This allowed British to colonize India for two hundred years.

Hindus and Muslims of the Eastern region of India (present day Bangladesh) were always separated from each other due to Bengal being the forefront of the liberation movement since the 1800’s. According to Sirajul Islam, an expert in South Eastern Asian history:

So long Hindus and Muslims were the only two parties, they adjusted themselves in the Bengali society irrespective of their difference in the fundamentals of their religions and their respective economic and social positions. In the pre-colonial Bengal people had a very vague idea about the country’s geographical boundaries. They were more concerned in their loyalty to religion rather then territory, and they were hardly involved in politics. Until their material life was grossly affected under the colonial government, they hardly quarreled on religious issues. When, as a result of alien rule under the British, the gulf of the material positions of the two communities widened and communal sentiments were aroused in them the existing diversities among them gradually began to take shape of antagonism.2

As you can see, before colonialism, Muslims and Hindus of India lived peacefully with one another. Even though their loyalty remained with their religions, they did not have ethnic divisions. They lived and worked with one another peacefully because they were economically stable.

Britain further manipulated the relations between Hindus and Muslims by imposing English as the official language of India. That means all court, government, or any public documents were to be in English rather than one of the thirty native dialects of India.

When the British first imposed English as the national language of India, Muslims, especially in the state of Bengal, revolted. Muslims refused to learn English, but the Hindus studied the language and used it to their advantage. Hindus were able to obtain high paid professional jobs such as becoming lawyers. On the other hand, Muslims lost their jobs due to not learning English. This created further friction between the Hindus and Muslims. Muslims saw Hindus as traitors who traded in their culture and language for money.

According to linguist specialists, “language is a system of communication, a tool for thought, a medium for self-expression, a social institution, a source of ethnic pride and political controversy.”3 Britain threatened not only to take away the Indian languages, but they were slowly dissimulating Indian culture and heritage. To the British, the English language was a tool to further divide the Muslims and Hindus, and to destroy ethnic pride.

Britain’s goal to separate the Hindus and the Muslims was achieved in 1947 when Pakistan (the Islamic state) was partitioned from India. However, Pakistan included the far Eastern region of India, formerly known as the state of Bengal. West Pakistan in the other hand was western border of India, between present day Afghanistan and India. East and West Pakistan were over two thousand miles away from one another, yet united as one nation.

Furthermore, East and West Pakistan were of two different ethnicity and culture. East Pakistan’s decedents are of Aryan and Dravidian tribes, where as majority of West Pakistan are composed of Arabs and Persians. East Pakistan was heavily influenced by Hindus. Even though East Pakistan was dominantly Muslims, they incorporated many Hindu traditions as their own. For example, the dot in the forehead that women often wear, or putting flowers at the gravesite are all Hindu customs Bengali Muslims have adopted.

In contrast, West Pakistan was influenced by Persian and Arab customs. Because there was a strong dislike towards the Hindus, influenced earlier by the British, West Pakistan resented the fact that East Pakistan was so heavily influenced by Hindu customs.

As mentioned earlier, India has over thirty different dialects. It is no wonder that the most western region of the Indian subcontinent will speak a very different language than the eastern region of India. West Pakistan speaks Urdu, an Arabic based language. East Pakistan speaks Bangla, which is a Sanskrit based language. Although the state of Bengal already adopted many Arab, Persian, and even some Turkish words from interacting with the merchants, Bangla is very much different from Urdu.

The British has failed to realize that although East and West Pakistan can be united under Islam, they have many differences. They speak a different language, are of different ethnicities, and have different cultural traditions. Just religion itself does not allow two regions with very different traditions and cultural practices to be united as one country. It is even more difficult when they are geographically separated from each other. This irresponsible decision to unite two regions will lead to one of the worst democide in history.

West Pakistan Dominates East Pakistan

East Pakistan Economically Repressed

After the British left the subcontinent, West Pakistan became dominant over East Pakistan. After a brief democracy, Pakistan was under Martial Law. West Pakistan not only dictated the social, political, economical, and the cultural aspects of East Pakistan but exploited East Pakistan’s resources. Instead of building the East and West Pakistan together, the generals chose to only build roads, canal systems, etc only in West Pakistan. In fact, “almost 80 percent of Pakistan’s budget and 70 percent of its development funds are spent in West Pakistan.”4 This left East Pakistan twenty years behind technology.

The state of Bengal was once rich with resources; they had gems and stones of every kind before the British exploited the land. Taking after Britain, West Pakistan also took East Pakistan’s most valuable goods to West Pakistan. “For during the nearly two decades of independence, a net transfer of resources from East to West Pakistan was officially estimated at one billion dollars.”5 Most factories were built in East Pakistan, but owned by West Pakistan because East Pakistan lacked property rights. Therefore, the profits gained from the factories did not belong to East Pakistan, but rather to West Pakistan.

East Pakistan had a limited source of foreign currency. In order for any economy to do well, foreign nations must invest in that region in order to obtain the necessary foreign currency. However, any foreign currency gained was to be sent back to West Pakistan. “While during the 1950’s and 1960s East Pakistan earned 65 to 70 percent of Pakistan’s foreign exchange, it received ’just 30 percent return for it.”6 This further kept the state of Bengal crippled.

Socially and Culturally Repressed

West Pakistan not only exploited East Pakistan’s resources, but they also kept East Pakistan from growing culturally. Similar to the British, West Pakistan tried to impose Urdu as the official language of the province.

The decision of the central authorities in Pakistan to opt for Urdu as the only state language of the country militated against the emotions of the Bengali-speaking people, who constituted the majority in Pakistan. The then East Pakistan rose in protest, first in 1948 and then, in a more concerted form, in 1952. The death of a number of young men resulting from Police firing on demonstrators in Dhaka on 21 February 1952 proved to be the catalyst for what eventually became the nationalist struggle of the Bengali-speaking people of Pakistan.7
Just how the Muslims speakers rejected English as the national language during colonization, Bangla speakers fought against having Urdu as their official language. This was one of the major causes for the creation of the Awami League party. The party was designed to address the issues of East Pakistan.

West Pakistan continued to discriminate East Pakistan. Because of the increase amount of hatred towards Hindus after the 1947 partition of India, West Pakistan saw East Pakistan as “dirty” due a large minority of Hindus residing in East Pakistan. The Bengal state was once populated by Hindus in the Medieval Bengal, but after the Turks and Persians came with “brotherhood” and “equality among us,” many Hindus converted to Islam. Those converted Muslims lived in Bengal yet still holding on to their Hindu traditions. West Pakistan discriminated against East Pakistan because of the large Hindu population and of its influence in that region.

West Pakistan further discriminated East Pakistan by forming a caste system in the military. “In the Pakistani Army, East Pakistani representation was even less than 10 percent, and of 50 senior army officers who were promoted to the rank of major general and above since 1947, only one was from East Pakistan.”8 Bengali soldiers were lower in rank than West Pakistan’s soldiers were even if they had superior qualities.

Students were another group that was discriminated. Over ninety percent of all scholarship awarded from Pakistan went to West Pakistan. Only few were awarded per year to Bengali students.

Politically Suppressed

East Pakistan was also politically suppressed. The leader of Awami League, Sheik Mujibur Rahman, was arrested and his party was banned. He was first arrested in 1966 for creating the Awami League party in behalf of East Pakistan’s interests.

After twenty years of suppression, students and teachers of Dhaka University pushed political leaders for reforms. The political leaders in return asked for elections, which were held on December 1970. The Awami League party, lead by Sheikh Mujibur, has won 167 out of 313 National Assembly seats. Part of the reason Sheik won the election is due to his Six-Point Program.

The Six-Point Program was a constitutional amendment that would bring changes to the central government. It was designed to give the province more control of their own region. The program is described as:

A. The Pakistan Constitution shall be federal as was enunciated on the famous Lahore Resolution of March 23, 1940, according to which the Muslim majority areas of the northwestern and eastern zones of India (since 1947 West and East Pakistan, respectively) were to be grouped so as to constitute independent states with “autonomous and sovereign” constituents units; a parliamentary form of government shall be elected on the basis of adult franchise and populations;

B. The federal government shall deal with only two subjects, defense and foreign affairs;

C. Two separate and freely convertible currencies shall be introduced into East and West Pakistan, and, of this not feasible, effective Constitutional provisions shall be introduced, including the establishment of a separate banking reserve for East Pakistan, to stop the flow of capital from East to West Pakistan;

D. Fiscal policy, the power of taxation and revenue collection for East Pakistan shall be vested in East Pakistan;

E. There shall be separate foreign exchange earnings for East and West Pakistan; the Constitution shall empower East Pakistan to establish trade links with foreign countries;

F. East Pakistan shall have a separate militia or para-military forces.9

It is important to note that his intentions were not to liberate East Pakistan from Pakistan, but to bring changes to East Pakistan. He believed these changes were necessary and was owed to East Pakistan.

However, even though Sheik Mujibur won the election, General Yahya and the West Pakistan government did not want to give power to East Pakistan. Besides believing that Bengalis are incapable of handling such power, West Pakistan was afraid of East Pakistanis wanting self-determination.

By February 22,1971, leaders of West Pakistan decided to destroy the Awami League party and its supporters. Sheik Mujibur and President Yahya Khan of West Pakistan however did meet for one last time in March to discuss the election results. They met at the Intercontinental Hotel in Dhaka and the military did not agree with Sheik’s proposal. President Yahya Khan left the meeting around 5:00 P.M., and by midnight, he ordered mass killings of the Bengal population. “Kill three-million of them10” was President Yahya’s exact declaration.

Democide, 1971

On March 25, 1971, hell broke out in East Pakistan. It was on this unfortunate day that West Pakistan’s government launched their plan to systematically murder Bengalis.

The University of Dhaka was attacked and the students exterminated in hundreds. Death squads roamed the streets of Dhaka, killing 7,000 people in a single night. It was only the beginning. “Within a week, half the population of Dhaka had fled, and at least 30,000 people had been killed. Chittagong, too, had lost half of its population. All over East Pakistan people were taking flight, and it was estimated that in April some thirty million people were wandering helplessly across East Pakistan to escape the grasp of the military.” (Payne, Massacre, p. 48).11

West Pakistani army first targeted students, teachers, political leaders, linguistics, and intellectuals. However, West Pakistan’s mission to wipe out all intellectuals and political leaders could not have been accomplished without the help of spies already living in East Pakistan. Those that were in favor of a united Islamic state, or a united Pakistan were the spies that helped West Pakistan kill millions. They were known as the Razakars, or the collaborators.
There were involved in Al-Badar operations, a paramilitary death squad of Pakistani Army formed by the local fundamentalist political parties mainly Jamaat-I-Islam and Muslim League, in abducting and brutally killing many prominent academics, doctors, and journalists in the last days of the war. They were also involved in kidnapping and raping innocent women, looting, arsoning and all other gross violations of human rights.12

This particular group has gone unpunished for their actions. They have not only betrayed their own people, but they violated human rights.

Sheik Mujibur was arrested in West Pakistan since the launch of the democide, but the surviving Awami League leaders declared Bangladesh as an independent nation on March 26 of 1971. Brave young men formed Mukti Bahini, or the liberation force of Bangladesh. They used the weapons and supplies they received from Russia and India. The Mukti Bahini used guerrilla welfare and knowledge of their terrain. Some who could not physically fight helped the Mukti Bahini by providing them with shelter and food.

As the war wore on, many Bengalis went to India for refuge. As estimated of ten million refugees arrived in India in the first couple of weeks. India in return housed the large of refugee. Because their resources were dwindling, prime minister Indira Gandhi made several pleas to General Yayha Khan to end the terror in the East. Getting no immediate results, India asked other countries for help.

However, the superpowers of that time, United States and the Soviet Union, had their own special interest in the hot region. “The Nixon administration, which was hostile to India and using Pakistan as an intermediary to China did not protest [to the democide].”13 United States contributed an estimated of “3.8 million dollars in military equipment to the dictatorship after the onset of the genocide.”14 Archer Blood, the general consul in Dhaka, states the following in his cable sent to Washing D.C on April 6, 1971:

Our government has failed to denounce atrocities…while at the same time bending over backwards to placate the West Pak[istan] dominated government…We have chosen not to intervene, even morally, in the grounds that Awami conflict, in which unfortunately the overworked term genocide is applicable, is purely an internal matter of sovereign state. Private Americans have expressed disgust. We, as professional civil servants, express out dissent.15

It was after Senator Edward Kennedy pleaded to the Presidency that United States took a serious look at the conflict. They immediately cut off all funds and weapon sales to Pakistan.

United Nations was also very shy at first to acknowledge there was a democide taking place in Bangladesh. Members of United Nations believed they were in direct conflict with interests of their members, Pakistan being a member of the United Nations. United Nations saw it as an “internal conflict whose basis is a desire for self-determination, which may pose a major threat in the future to international peace and security.”16 In other words, United Nations did not want different regions of a country to wage a war to win independence.

Members of the United States have clearly not realized that Bangladesh has spent twenty years in economically, socially, and politically repressed. It is also important to note that Bangladesh is geographically separated from West Pakistan and Bangladesh has a different culture and language than Pakistan. “Perhaps the extent of the problem is demonstrated by the large influx of refugees from East Pakistan into India.”17 Although the international community did encourage Pakistan to end the reign of terror, Bangladesh continued to be ruined by the Pakistani army.

By the fall of 1971, the situation in Bangladesh escalated. Refugees continued to flood the borders of India. Those that were unfortunate to stay in East Pakistan lived in fear. The army, lead by the Razakars, continued to bombard into people’s homes and torture and kill innocent families.. They murdered thousands of innocent Hindu men after inspecting them for being circumcised.

Statistics say almost three hundred thousands women and children were being raped. There was no age barrier when it came to women being raped. According to Brownmiller:

Rape in Bangladesh has 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. How many died from this atrocious treatment, and how many more women were murdered as part of the generalized campaign of destruction and slaughter, can only be guessed.18

In some cases, women were raped in front of their family causing shame and dishonor. Aubrey Menen reports on one of the rape cases:

Two [Pakistani soldiers] went into the room that had been built for the bridal couple. The others stayed behind with the family, one of them covering them with his gun. They heard a barked order, and the bridegroom’s voice protesting. Then there was a silence until the bride screamed. Then there was silence again, except for some muffled cries that soon subsided. In a few minutes one of the soldiers came out, his uniform in disarray. He grinned to his companions. Another solider took his place until all six soldiers raped the belle of the village. The father found his daughter lying on the string cot unconscious and bleeding.19

This was just one of the cases where women were violated. There are at least another two hundred thousand other cases where women lost all source of dignity as the Pakistani soldiers took advantage of them.

In the documentary “Cry for Justice,” we see family members are taken away and never coming back home. One victim’s husband was taken away from their home and was never to come back home. The wife searched every police station and hospital for her husband. She finally found his dead body in one of the mass grave sites with signs of torture in his eyes. He was an eye doctor, and a university professor. There were hundreds of thousands of victims like these where the West Pakistan army, along with the Razakars, took family members away from their homes and not ever returning.

Anthony Mascarenhas, correspondent of the Times, writes in Sunday Times in 1971:

What I saw and heard with unbelieving eyes and ears during my 10 days in East Bengal in late April made it terribly clear that the killings are not the isolated acts of military commanders in the field…

“We are determined to cleanse East Pakistan once and for all of the threat of secession, even if it means killing off two million people and ruling the province as a colony for 30 years,” I was repeatedly told my senior military and civil officers in Dhaka and Comilla.”

The West Pakistan army in East Bengal is doing exactly that with a terrifying thoroughness….20

The Pakistan army systematically killed hundreds of thousand innocent people. It was not an act conducted by one crooked soldier, but it was lead by the government and the acts were planned out. The Pakistan army “used excessive force and repressive measures to ‘pacify’ and ‘normalize’ East Pakistan, resulting in heavy loss of life, and in the damage and destruction of property.”21 Pakistan government believed it was necessary to impose a reign of terror in order to prevent East Pakistan from obtaining self-determination.

However, Sheik Mujibur proposal did not call for self-determination. Instead he asked for changes within the Pakistani government. Those changes were necessary for the province of Bengal because the current policies of Pakistan was hindering East Pakistan from growing. The than current policies of Pakistan discriminated against the Bengalis, making it logical to ask for changes. The majority of the people in Pakistan, including East and West Pakistan, favored the transfer of power to the Awami League party. The West Pakistan military refused to hand over power to Sheik Mujibur.

On December 3rd of 1971, India had no choice but to send in their troops to aid East Pakistan. On December 16, 1971, Pakistani forces surrendered. In early January, Sheik Mujibur was released from prison, and became the first prime minister of the liberated Bangladesh.

In nine months, Bangladesh lost two to three million people. Three hundred thousand women and children were raped. Ten million refugees left for India. Another thirty million of others roamed the streets looking for safety and shelter.

It was not very much different from the Holocaust, which killed six million Jews over six years where as almost three million Bengalis were killed only in nine months. Similar to the Holocaust, there were concentration camps and mass grave sites. West Pakistan army used Bengali people to conduct medical experiments very much the same way as the Nazis did. Both the Nazis and West Pakistan’s army, along with the Razakars wanted to wipe out Bengali culture and heritage.

Collaborators gone Unpunished

As stated earlier, without the help from the Razakars, the democide would have not been so severe. Because the local fundamentalists were able to pin point those who were against West Pakistan, the army was able to target their victims more efficiently. However, both the West Pakistan’s army and the Razakars are responsible for their acts, yet they have gone unpunished for their actions.

After Sheik Mujibur came to power in January 10, 1972, he rounded up all the collaborators of the war and put them in prison under the Collaborators Act. He also made an amendment to the Constitution that forbid any religious organization to have any political power, undermining both Jamaat-I-Islam and Muslim League party. However, after his assassination, the amendments were changed so religious organizations can have political power once again. Under the same amendment, all the prisoners were pardoned for their war crimes of 1971.

For nearly thirty-six years, the collaborators are still living in Bangladeshi communities with no justice in sight. First, they violated the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide was actually adopted a day before the International Human Rights was signed. In Article I of the Convention, it states “the Contracting Parties conform that genocide, whether committed in time of peace or in time of war, is a crime under international law which they undertake to prevent and to punish.”22

Article II defines the act of genocide as “killings members, or causing serious bodily or mental harm, deliberately inflicting conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part, etc.”23 Although this paper speaks of East Pakistan’s situation as a democide, this convention applies to both democide and genocide because both has the “intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial, or religious group.”24 West Pakistan wanted to seriously diminish Bangladesh’s intellectual elite by murdering professors, students, scientists, linguistics, and doctors. Furthermore, because many Bengalis were victims of medical experiments, West Pakistan caused “serious bodily harm” to these groups.

Article IV of the same Convention declares that the act of genocide is punishable. Finally Article VI says:

Persons charged with genocide or any of the other acts enumerated in Article III shall be tried by a competent tribunal of the State in the territory of which the was act was committed, or by such international penal tribunal as may have jurisdiction with respect to those Contracting Parties shall have accepted its jurisdiction.25

This article calls for a tribunal of any group that committed the act of genocide, or in this case democide. The tribunal can be held in Bangladesh, or there can be an international one such the Nuremburg Trials.

Other International agreements that were broken are the International Human Rights and the Geneva Convention. The International Human Rights gives all people regardless of age, sex, gender, religion, and ethnicity our fundamental rights. These fundamental rights allow us to practice our own religion, speak our own language, and gives us right to life.

The Geneva Convention in the other hand was designed to protect soldiers and civilians during time of war. One of the important characteristics of the Geneva Convention is that it not only protects the wounded but also women and children from war. However, the West Pakistan army brutally raped over three hundred thousand women and children.

After World War II, human rights activists declared another Holocaust will never repeat itself again. The Nuremburg Trials that tried Nazis for their activities during World War II not only indicted as war criminals, but also set up a precedent for future war criminals. This meant that any

ruler, a public official, or a private individual, was immune from punishment for war crimes. These crimes included crimes against peace-namely, the planning, initiating, and waging of wars of aggression in violation of international treaties and agreements; crimes against humanity- that is exterminations, deportations, and genocide; war crimes-namely, violations of the laws of war; and ‘a common plan for conspiracy to commit’ criminal acts…26

According to the above quote, anyone who commits the act of genocide/democide will be punished for their actions. Obviously West Pakistan and the collaborators broke international agreements and violated human rights, yet since 1971, there was no official trials held for the chief collaborators. Moreover, some of the collaborators are residing in Bangladeshi communities. Some are even active in Islamic fundamentalist groups today.

Why has Bangladesh failed to bring the collaborators in trial? After the death of Sheik Mujibur, Zia came to power through Martial Law. After a brief period where Bangladesh was ruled under Martial Law, Zia decided to have a democratic parliamentary government. Nevertheless, in order for him to gain popular support, he freed all the prisoners of war and amended the constitution to allow Islamic fundamentalists to have their own political party. In return, Jamaat-I-Islam pledges to support Zia and his party. This not only freed those that murdered hundreds of thousands of people, but it also pardoned all their crimes.

Secondly, the Collaborators Act of 1972 was flawed. The law was designed in good intention by Sheik Mujibur to round up all the war criminals of 1971. However, it was the police stations that were given the responsibility to frame the war criminals. The police stations did not have enough evidence to go after the criminals. In addition, during the Liberation front, the police stations worked for West Pakistan, so they became biased when it came to framing war criminals.

Finally, the “Collaborators Act was enacted to hold trial of crimes taken place under special circumstances, so the trial procedures need a special type to probe an allegation.” Even if someone does go to trial and is found guilty, like in chief collaborator Golam Azam’s case, Bangladesh needs a special court to execute the sentence.

There were also other incidences where the files of war criminals have gone missing. The ongoing political chaos in Bangladesh does not prioritize the need for a tribunal, even though the Awami League party came to power again in 1996. The political leaders of today are more focused on building the nation, or how to corrupt it even more so.


In conclusion, Bangladesh has gone through a long and tedious process of obtaining their independence. Much of the suffering Bangladesh has gone through during the democide period can be linked to British colonialism. After all, the British handed Bengal to West Pakistan regardless of the facts that they were geographically separated, has different language and cultural heritage.

Furthermore, without the help of India, Bangladesh would have continued to loose more innocent lives as the Razakars and West Pakistan army hunted down intellectuals to murder. Even though they committed sins against humanity, broke numerous international agreements, the world have failed to punish those that were responsible for the horrific acts of 1971.

By punishing those responsible will give the world a message that the act of genocide will not be tolerated. If we choose to ignore the fact that there was a democide in Bangladesh, we do not acknowledge it as a crime, therefore giving others an okay sign to commit genocide. Ironically, human rights advocates, along with the United Nations, and other international bodies claim they will never let another Holocaust to repeat itself. Yet, the events of 1971 in Bangladesh are one of the bloodiest battles that have gone unnoticed for the past thirty-six years.


1 “Democide is any murder by government; by officials acting under the authority of government” where as genocide does not have to be done by a member of the government and its goal is to partially or wholly eliminating a group of people.Rummel, R J. "Democide Versus Genocide." University of Hawaii. 1997. 4 Feb. 2007 .

2 Islam, Sirajul, and Akmal Hussain, eds. History of Bangladesh 1704-1971: Social and Cultural History. 2nd ed. Vol. 3. Dhaka: Asiatic Society of Bangladesh, 1997. Pg. 697.

3 O'Grady, William, John Archibald, Mark Aronoff, and Janie Rees-Miller. Contemporary Linguistics: an Introduction. 5th ed. New York: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2005. 1-3.

4 Nanda, Ved P. "Self-Determination in International Law: the Tragic Tale of Two Cities--Islamabad (West Pakistan) and Dacca (East Pakistan)." The American Journal of International Law 66 (1972): 321-336. 7 Dec. 2006

5 Nanda, Ved P. "Self-Determination in International Law: the Tragic Tale of Two Cities--Islamabad (West Pakistan) and Dacca (East Pakistan)." The American Journal of International Law 66 (1972): 321-336. 7 Dec. 2006

6 Nanda, Ved P. "Self-Determination in International Law: the Tragic Tale of Two Cities--Islamabad (West Pakistan) and Dacca (East Pakistan)." The American Journal of International Law 66 (1972): 321-336. 7 Dec. 2006

7 "History of Bangladesh." Home View Bangladesh. 2007. Tarokalok. 4 Feb. 2007 .

8 Nanda, Ved P. "Self-Determination in International Law: the Tragic Tale of Two Cities--Islamabad (West Pakistan) and Dacca (East Pakistan)." The American Journal of International Law 66 (1972): 321-336. 7 Dec. 2006

9 Nanda, Ved P. "Self-Determination in International Law: the Tragic Tale of Two Cities--Islamabad (West Pakistan) and Dacca (East Pakistan)." The American Journal of International Law 66 (1972): 321-336. 7 Dec. 2006

10 "Case Study: Genocide in Bangladesh, 1971." Gendercide Watch. 11 Nov. 2006 .

11 "Case Study: Genocide in Bangladesh, 1971." Gendercide Watch. 11 Nov. 2006 .

12 "Act Now for Trial of Three War Criminals of the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971." 8 Nov. 2006 .

13 Power, Samantha. "A Problem from Hell;" America and the Age of Genocide. New York: Perennial; Harper Collins, 2002. Pg. 82.

14 "Case Study: Genocide in Bangladesh, 1971." Gendercide Watch. 8 Nov. 2006 .

15 Power, Samantha. "A Problem from Hell;" America and the Age of Genocide. New York: Perennial; Harper Collins, 2002. Pg. 82.

16 Nanda, Ved P. "Self-Determination in International Law: the Tragic Tale of Two Cities--Islamabad (West Pakistan) and Dacca (East Pakistan)." The American Journal of International Law 66 (1972): 321-336. 7 Dec. 2006

17 Nanda, Ved P. "Self-Determination in International Law: the Tragic Tale of Two Cities--Islamabad (West Pakistan) and Dacca (East Pakistan)." The American Journal of International Law 66 (1972): 321-336. 7 Dec. 2006

18 "Case Study: Genocide in Bangladesh, 1971." Gendercide Watch. 8 Nov. 2006 .

19 "Case Study: Genocide in Bangladesh, 1971." Gendercide Watch. 8 Nov. 2006 .

20 Nanda, Ved P. "Self-Determination in International Law: the Tragic Tale of Two Cities--Islamabad (West Pakistan) and Dacca (East Pakistan)." The American Journal of International Law 66 (1972): 321-336. 7 Dec. 2006

21 Nanda, Ved P. "Self-Determination in International Law: the Tragic Tale of Two Cities--Islamabad (West Pakistan) and Dacca (East Pakistan)." The American Journal of International Law 66 (1972): 321-336. 7 Dec. 2006

22 "Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide." Convention on Genocide. 9 Dec. 1948. 2 Jan. 2007 .

23 "Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide." Convention on Genocide. 9 Dec. 1948. 2 Jan. 2007 .

24 "Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide." Convention on Genocide. 9 Dec. 1948. 2 Jan. 2007 .

25 "Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide." Convention on Genocide. 9 Dec. 1948. 2 Jan. 2007 .

26Ishay, Micheline R. The History of Human Rights: From Ancient Times to the Globalization Era. London: University of California P, 2004. Pg. 218

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