hi INDiA Copyright 2020
Most of us are aware that about 1 crore people fled to various parts of West Bengal to take shelter in the refugee camps there during Bangladesh’s Liberation War in 1971. But have you ever wondered about the religious composition of this exodus of refugees?
In his book 1971: A Global History of the Creation of Bangladesh, the historian Srinath Raghavan reports that, by the end of April 1971, about 80% of the people fleeing for their lives were Hindu and 20% Muslim. He does not offer specific numbers on the religious persuasion of the 1 crore, which was the final tally of refugees, but it is possibly safe to say the vast majority of them were Hindu.
History of persecution
When Operation Searchlight, the unprovoked attack by the Pakistani military on the citizens of erstwhile East Pakistan, was initiated on March 25, 1971, the primary target was Hindu people and anyone else who worked for the cause of Bangali nationalism and heritage.
Among the first martyrs from the teachers of Dhaka University were Govinda Chandra Dev, the saintly professor of philosophy and Jyotirmoy Guhathakurta, the venerable English literature professor, both sought out and shot by the military in cold blood. One of the first targets to be decimated by…