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TilECHANGINGFACEOFGENOCIDE-
BANGLADESH,1911.2
Auaccountofthe
problemsmet
during
the
post-warIPPFAbur-
tlOU
Programme.GEOFFREY
DAVIS
Part
oftheoverallplanforthesubjuga
t
ionofBangladeshinvol'ltdanorder
fromIslamabadtotheWestPakistan<urn),to
hnpregnate
sysrernttcallv
asmanyBengaliwomen(marriedorunmarried)aspossible.Therationale
W:l.S
that
t
hlswoulddisrupttheracial
int
egrity
(If
which
Be
n~:tlis
are
00
pIO
ud.Somerehance
wa&
also
placed
on
l
he
MU!llimbelief
t
h'll.agoodson
will
fight
anyone
excepthis
father.
Mtei
thecease-flre,Bangladesh
authoritles
discovered,amongtheirmyriadproblems,
largenumbersofpregnantgills
in
theirearly
teens.Internationalagencieswereaskedforassistanceand
II
nation-wideabortionprogrammewas
hastily
organized.Duringthis
it
was
discoveredthatthecountry's
law
remai..
ed
nat,di~L
Bangladesh,
thecountrywiththeworstpopulation
prohiern
intheworld,retainsSections312and
J
13ofItsPella)
Code
stillinoperation,TheseareSections58andSI:)uf
the
English
OffencesAg:t.In~t
f
hePersonActofl86
J
In
spite
ufthis.th-e
onJy
pamphlet
describing
a
surgical
technique
(letaloneoneforabortion}was
distributed
byair-dropfromthe
windows
IJ'
ligtll
aircraft,pruduci..Il1lratheraprettyeffect,givenasuitablebreeze,thoughnaturally,othermoreorthodoxchannels
were
alsoused,
BACKGROUND_
but
Bengal/East
PakilitantBangJadesh
WjU;
invol..ed
ih
roughout
mostof1971jn
11
ve
ry
bitter
W
J
rofhbt-.1i1Ii~'Tl/Sf'p:lr:aht)nJllairl~1
W"'~tPakil1hmwith
which
cuuntry
;1
had
ht~
J1
poluicatlylinked
after
the
MuslinilHindu
war
Cit"
partitinnfromIndia
itt
I'N7.~.Panll!
linIII]
"'04~
resuhed
In
thees
t~
bhrJlIHen
I
tll
iI
~par
ale~u_<;Umstate,
P:tlwlIan,
consisting
of
tworadicallydifferentcountriesseparatedby
1M
wholeofIndia
and
bothloathingeach
ofh~r
andlndia,InDe.cernber1970
r
11-:thenEastPaktstanvoted98%infavourof
l
hethenleaderoftheopposinonAwanuLeague,SheikhMujibuTRahmanandtheplattormonwhich
this
electionhad
beenheldmadethisa
dear...
ole
fur
independence.The
politicalheavies
ofWesl
Pak.i~lan
immediatelymadeit
dear
thatinno
drcu:mitalJCeS
wouldthe)'serveinagovernmentwithSMR
(letaloneunder
him).
ThemililarygovernmentofWestPakistanthen,in
theopeningmonthsof1972.
attempted
(anditr-ea!lydid)tonegutlatea
puliticaJly
fllt;e-saviIlgcompromisehutthesen-egoli~tion~brokedowndue
1<)
theimplacableanti-Bengaliposkionadopted
by
BhuHoandtheotherWestPakistanpolincalheavies.
IhJf~~
~.<
P;i~·;:·...'...,.
 
Yahya
Khan>
by
March
197],wasadl'ised,
by
roll
militaryandpolUkallnlelligenceagencies,
that
it
suddenlimitedshowof
fora
wouldquellthefaction
3ee.king
independenceforE~l
P"kistall.
On251hMm:hsuch
iI
mil.itary
operationstartedinDaccaand
the.
West
Pakl~l8nis
foundthem-
sel...es,totheir
astonishment
lind
consternation.
facedwith
relative!y
highly
organisedresistance-thelastIhio!!theyhadexpected,Anuedresistance
quickly
spread
10
the
entirecountry.GuerrillafightersofthehastilyformedMuJilitlFouj(latercalledMukhtiBahini]attackedPaktroopsatComilla,southof
Dacca.
On
j
3thApril
a.
provision:tigevemment
ofIndependent
BastPakistan(Bangladesh)
Wall
formed
with
Chuadangaas
Intemporarycapital.FTlJillthis
point
thewardevelopedmtuafullscale
civil
warwith
BangladBshfepeatedlycalling
for
outsideaid.TIleonlycountry
to
respond
wasRussia.
By
May
therewerestlangepuliticalalignments.The
Mukhli
Fou]was
fighting
side
by
sidewithIndianandBurmese
Mauist
guerrillas_
These
have,since
the
armistice.
becomeNaxaliteandMesoterroristsandare
beingsuppressed,where
possible,
by
Ott:Mukhli
Ih_hini.
Russiasupported&ngliidesh.The
AmeTic.ans
wereconfusedbecauseoftheirprevious
t
commitmenlofaid
to
We&t
Pakistan
and
waited
hopingthat
they
would
'f
win.KiMillgerwasusing
J~8mabad
asa
atanwgpolru
for
explor
awry
talks
withPeking.
PekingsidedwithWestPakistan,theirmain
auu-Indian
ally
aUd.
t
IndiagaveunequivocalsupporttoBangladesh_This
W::iS
established1",'M.i~·~andwas,
al
that
sllge,
unefflclalexcept
011
the
panuf
theRussians.ascan~:beconfirmedfromhotelregisterll,whichrevealasubstantialRussianpresencethroughout
all
of)
971
and1912_InApril
it
was~learthatthe"We:ltPakistanishadmotethanpurelymilitary
objectives
in
mind.In
cityafte'[city.
in
fad,
thesoldierswereapparentlydeterminedtoiliI:.tte-rth~economicbaseofEastPaki..tauinordertocruahtheindepandeocemovement.OnordersfromlheJslamabad
(actUBJ1y;;
Rawalpindi)
high
command,
troopssystemaucallygunnedilownstudents,engineersanddoctorsand
any
otherpersonswithapoteotial
rOt
'eadtrihip~whethertheywerenationalists
O[
not"(News-weekA.pril26th
1971).
"They
wanttomakesurethatnohead
will
everbe
fmed
aga.in$t
them..
sain"
(quotedfrom
MukhtiI:bhini
whu
had
fougnt
in
Syl.hel
andComilla).
Now
it
startstogetioterntins:nme
24thMay
t
(rt,-
"PC'rltc1
OWe,
justabouteverywhere,Kraalfound[Louis
Kra,u
isutterly
reliable
asa
joUlll.lli51)
the
killinghadfollowed
II
ty
picalpa
II
ern:
gUYl;:
rruue
In
l~
uu
p~
wOllldtry
to~hberate'
II
lllbeJ.-heJd
towninadeliberatelyprovoking
manner.
The
Bengalitownspeoplewouldwreakre-angeonlion-U~n8alh
(in
theprocesskiDlngper
ha
ps
20>000orabout)
0%
of
the
totaldead)andthen
the
armywouldpounce
With
everythingithad".
_!hioS
quotJ_~jon
j~
inh!r~~lil1gbecause
it
WlIS
theflrstto
mention
Bengali
Icilling
Bens,aliand
Jl
bearsoutwh,:tl
J
havebeentolduften
here,parucu-ladyby
an
dderly
barnster,
ShaInllW
Haq,pressdem.ofhislocal
barassociatton,a
Muslim
Leaguer
forover
30
yean
aIllJ
poJ.m,ally
activeforlongerthanthat.ThefactsarerharthePak
WII)'
hit
the
toW"S
toput
downresistanceand
hit
the
Hindu
secuonshardest
bUf
the
MukhHBahini
hitthe
towas'elite
and
did
so
becausetheyreprdedthem
U
oHaboTllto[s
-deflnitjon:Anyone
workins
in
anofficialposmcnisacollaboratorduring
01
pnortueccupa
non
whether
aV{lw~
dly
uilUona.uuor
no
t
and
theser.houJd
be
.mot
u
found
.!7"mediat~lyafter"liberation"asman
y
aspossibleofthisgroup
were
Iiquidatedand
those
of
tht!
remainderwhohadnotfledtoIndiaandwho
could
betracedwereimprisoned.
They
ale
shUinprison.
]11
NQakhaH.
prisonthere19accommodation
for250:
On
IstMay1972itcontainsl,l50
(I
was
there,countedthem,talkedtothem),Some'h.Jidbeenablelo
bribe.t!teh
way
ou
t
but1,250i3lhe
residua)
figure.
They
arein
adn:adful
condition,
H
is
essentialtobear
this.
in
mindas
It
hasanimportantbearingundlerrcsen1runningofthe8WRP(see
Swlday
TUnes
20.6.71).Ahointhal
ISS~
there~~
lhe
Justmentionofanythingremotelyrelevant
10
this
programme.OleRazakarshavenow
extendedthelr
operationsfrom
murder,anJe)ltOrtlO1lto
pw!;UJutinn.
InAII[li.barlin
rhilUjlofl,ll
th¢yruna
campotyuunggillswhoareallocatednightly
to
offtctals,Theyha\'calsokrdnappedguj,{orthempartleli.Somehavenut
IelUUl~J..._."
Ttme,
J~~e
2l:
An
account
froma16
yen
old
girl
in
a
refugee
campat
Petrapole:Theykilled
my
mothuand
father-
battering
10
deathwith
theUUU~oftheirrifles.They
HUll!!.
me
Or!
theHomandthethreeof
ttl!:ll]
r:al~~rue","Other
girls
ha~ereputedlybeentalum
"~'~nl
theu
tJCC:II~~
100miliet
I
o
be
soldas
P108Ut
utes
I
(I
thesoldiers
puti
~ulllrl)'
i
theirfanuliesmuMnotpa
y
a
ransom
for1
hem."
Newsweek,
August2
>]
97]:
·'With
his
two
teenage
daughters
by
his
side,ChandcliMandalbudgedthroughmonsoondrenchedswamplands
1IILU
p.ilst
burned
villages.
Whcmhe
neared
hisscrapof
bnd,
soldiers
5,luppt:d
hUH.
As
he
watched
in
helpless
Imguish,
his
daughterswereraped.ilga.inJnJagainandagain":
.Nf!WYor~Times,
Oct.lI,
J
971:"The
armycame
to
my
village
onthe
mghlO!April
l
l,Onepatrolledme
:tway
frommyhowetoidentifysomethingandwhen]
got
back1foundmy
mler
was
missing.Another
girl,
the
daughterofaneighbour,
Wl.l:l
BOlleandthere
Wd
aHinduwhose
da~gluerwasmWiog.Inthemiddleof
MaytMy
u:lea&:d
my
sisteramitheneighbour'sdaughlerbut
Ute
Htudu
girJ
is
itillllliWng.
nll$
two
gillswho
came
_lmck
arebothpregnantandwillhave
tbeu-
babies.
They
hadto
\IJ
a.:;,h
duthing
lind
m:t.kelovetothesoldierstwoorthreelimesdall)"'.
 
Ne~ek.
Nov.
15.
197'~
h
Army
troopsrecentlysurroundedthevillageof
De
mora(where
the
MilloDahinihadneverbeen),rapedallthe
women
he
tween
12
and
35
and
shot
all
themenolderthan12".About
the
endof
Itnuary,it
belPn
to
berealisedthatoneofthe
more
unusualof
the
oounllspost
waJ
problems
was
the
enormousIlwnberof
unwantedr.lesnanciel
resllltinl!
from
wiut....
3$
reported
insomeciJcles
{parlicu.IaJ:
y
in
London)
to
n..~
been
adeliberlte
campaignof
the
P"aki5t1marmy,There
i!
noevidneethatthispolicywasdicta!e:d
by
the
Islamabad
political/military
commandbutisolatedreportsfromPunjabi
officers
suggest
that
it
W33
policyhanded
duwlI
(c.s.
von
SdlOuUz'inter-
view
with
amajor
atDacca
airport
in
J
une),
The
first
indication.uf
the
magnitudeofthisproblemcamefromreports[remCalcuttaof
the
large
numbers
0
f
wornenwhohOI
go
ne
lh
ereseekingabortion.
A
doctoreotaultedthere
visited
DOlCe:!
and,asa
result,
local
enquiries.
confmncd
lha1
therewereindeedlargenumbers.Anorganisationwashastilyformed,TheNationalBoardofBangladeshWomen'sRehabilitation
Programme,
votedfundsandwasgiven
high.
priori
ty
ftlT
dealing
with
theproblemsoftheunwantedpr~gnancles,destitutewido
ws
with
largefamilies.women
i
njured
by
the
a
OIl
y
(nntnecessarilyraped
OJ
pregnant],womenrapedbutnotpregnan
t
andcast
out
by
theirfamilies.Thehighestpnoritywas
intended
forthosewjth
unwantedpreg-
IUncle!
andile'ekingtenn'natwn.tomid-F~br
UllfY~
cl
ink
wasestah-
lished
in
DaccawithoverseasadvisersandTel'swereearnedout
from
about
theendofFebruary.Attempt!weremadetoestimatethenumbe)
of
women
wllO
hadbeen
raped.The
offkW
figurewas200,000whichwasarrivedat
thin:
approx-
imately
two
gitlJ.
werereportedm
issinj
daily
in
eachthana
(area
u
f
local
policestation
authority)
during
theoccupation.Thereareabout480
thanas.
Theoccupation
lastedfor270days,The~aJ~ubtion
Wa~
madeon
480
X
270
X
2'"268,200.TheBoard,allowingforexaggerationslindfor
the
fact
that
somewomenwere
miWnl!
forotherreasons,roundedthefigule
to200,000and
tbil
is
stillgi~nastheofflcial
r
gure.
It
ill
obviouslyanunderestimatebecause
(i)
it
takesIntoaccount
only
thosereportedas
missing
andignores
thosetakenfromrelsuvelyorderlyoccupiedareas[j.e,those
ill
which
missing
girh
weremost
likelyto
be
reported]wnerethe
funily
knewweBwhathadhappenedandfeltirunsafeoru$deSo!itoreport
the
matterbecausethosetowhom'onewould
make
such
arepor
t
werethosewhohadthegirl.
176
~.
Thisgrnup,a~
:J.
generalstatement.comprisedgirl~
kept.
{or
repealeduse
Unlit
nu
lunge
rse
rviceable
(unservtceabillty,
ill
general,meanspregnantor
with
overtsignaof
VD
orboth)
after
which,
if
Bcn~jtheywerereleasedand
if
Hindukilled.ButmanyBengaliwere
killed,
9nme
committed
suicide
andprecisefigur~s
for
those
murdered
Of
committing
suicide
obvioUsly
cannot
be
givenatanymore
Ih~Jl
aguess,Thenumberof
suicides
reported
..IterliberaHunls200women
(J
an.toA
pril)
andth~~
j
slikfi)'
Lo
beaccuratebecause
it
is
in
theinterestsofthefamllytoreportususcideandsoavoidthepossiblemurderiflveshga
t
ion
01
herwise.
The
t
iguredoesno
I
ind
udethenumbersofwomenr.itped
ill
tf!
c
courseof
rhe
army'stranslen
t
subjugalionnfa
vill
age.As
abo
tJ
t
one
third
L,f
thecountry'svillagesweremolested,eventhuugh
notdestroyed,thisarrnyac
t
ivity
prnvid.e5o
ahugenumberufca
5eS
of
(ape
thoughthenumber
0
f
coueeptions
Wfl
LIM
notbe
enormous.
(iii)
Manywomen
were
separated
hom
therefugee
group~
headingforIndia
hy
elementsofthearmyandJUzakar(seequotationearlier
concerning
ransom).
TheIuta!whosought'SanctuaryinIndiawasroughly
estimatedat10,000,000ofwhkh,
say,
15m.werewomen
(basedonfamilyavengeof4children)._
Bauglade
sh'
spopilia
t
ionstatisticsaresornewhatrough
the
offlcia]
f
!gu.r
eforthe
population,
inmid
1971was75million
(it
couldaseasilybe90nul-
ILlj
n),
Ded
tJ
ctI0mUltonrefugeesheadingforor;nlndiaorotnerwise~
Hi
t
n
fvil
1~~~'
5..
ml
1
t)
Y.II~,
M
millionrema
in
0
f
wh
ic
hroughlyI.l
III
ilHonare
womenofreproductiveage.Jfathirdofthesewereraped,thismakes
.WlJ.ooo_
Wit11aP
or
ulationgrowthrateofnearly1%peraunun.
it
i~
a
f
c
10
assumethatahou
t
halfthesewer~pregnant,thus.
if
noneroncetvedas
tile
result
ofrape
(dearly
absurd),there
wilJ
$till
be150,000pregnancies
ill
til
isgroup,.
Addthe20J,000from
group
(i}
(it
issafe
to
assumethatall
01
these
wertpregnanias
Illb
was
[h~
primereason[nr
theirhoeing
dlsrarded)
;.HHl
rememberthatthegid5were
ocingchanged
I~Sul~rlyund
th~~~rde,i
_ruegnaH'
w
thaI
the
estimateof
200,000
isa
conservative
nne,_"
huut
l(r,f.ntall
conceptionsshnuldhave
delivered
before-
hberauon.
Thus,at
theendof
l
ecernbcr.thereare350,000unwantedpregnancies.Thisisinteresting
ttl
vjew
llf
subsequent...ms,
lnmostofthedistrictsIvisited,then
LI
mbersofunwantedpregnanc
i
eswerelowerthanthls
figure
wouldsuggestanLI,
!
akingIntnaccuun
ll
he
numberalreadv
dehveredifld
IJU'
n..
eldes,
the
number
avajlable,
u5
u
ally
about10per
\/iUllgcch.llMer
isluw_
In
the
dlSU
Jd~
wtl!:r~
IIldHary
lI.Ct1VII~
wasintensiveandoflong-standing(abouthalfthemajorcentres),whereveronecouldfindasourceofinformationwithcontact
with
villager~,a
fas,dnating
picture
emerged,
{ti)
117

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