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Bloodbath Against Non-Muslims in Undivided Bengal – The Story That Needs to Be Told

atrocities against non-Muslims

In our previous article we have brought out the heart-wrenching stories of violence against non-Muslim population at the time of partition especially in the Punjab province. In this article we document the misery of non-Muslims from the undivided Bengal province.

The undivided Bengal province undoubtedly witnessed the largest bloodbath and violence that put humanity to shame. The real violence began in 1946 when the demand for Pakistan, a nation for Muslims, began catching up. The Hindus of Bengal were at the receiving end, which they remain even today.

The logic of Citizenship Amendment Bill becomes clearer when we revisit these horrendous crimes against the minorities of Bengal (today’s Bangladesh).

Direct Action Day 1946

Given that Bengal had a Muslim League government, its CM, Hussein Suhrawardy, let loose mobs in the name of “direct action”. Calcutta was at the center of carnage on 16th August 1946 as well in the days to come.

Hindu shops were burnt, people were forcibly brought out of houses and cut to pieces. Women were raped and murdered. The riot soon spread in surrounding districts of Midnapore, Pabna, Rajshahi and other areas.

We leave you with these pictures and nothing else.

(Corpses turned skeletons after rotting on streets of Calcutta)

(Note the vultures preying on the corpses)

Noakhali Riots 1946

If the riots in Calcutta were not enough, anti-Hindu riots spread in Noakhali district in October 1946 where the Hindus were a miniscule minority.

The modus operandi of killing people, burning houses, acquiring land and raping women continued here. By the end of it, as per the official figures, about 5000 Hindus were killed in the carnage. Those who survived, fled from Noakhali.

Dalit Bengali leader Jogendra Nath Mandal in his resignation letter to Liaqat Ali Khan in 1950 recounted the Noakhali horrors.

“The Calcutta carnage was followed by the ‘Noakhali Riot’ in October 1946. There, Hindus including Scheduled Castes were killed and hundreds were converted to Islam. Hindu women were raped and abducted. Members of my community also suffered loss of life and property. Immediately after these happenings, I visited Tipperah and Feni and saw some riot-affected areas. The terrible sufferings of Hindus overwhelmed me with grief”

Horrors of East Pakistan (1947-1971)

After Partition, the minorities of East Pakistan were in for the rudest shock of their lives. The entire State was hell bent on ensuring the Hindus leave aside their land and migrate to India. The pressure was built by loot, arson, burning, murder and rape of women.

The condition can be gauged from this statement of Jogendra Nath Mandal- “That the abduction and rape of Hindu girls have been reduced to a certain extent is due only to the fact that there is no Caste Hindu girl between the ages of 12 and 30 living in East Bengal at present.”

Dacca and East Bengal Riots 1950

The mere act of Hindu legislators walking out of assembly in Dacca made Muslim leaders avenge for blood. The riots that began in Dacca spread to southern districts like Barisal. A conservative estimate was of 10,000 Hindus being killed.

The description of Jogendra Nath Mandal is harrowing

  • “The news of the killing of hundreds of innocent Hindus in trains, on railway lines between Dacca and Narayanganj, and Dacca and Chittagong gave me the rudest shock.”
  • “From detailed information received, the conservative estimate of casualties was placed at 2,500 killed in the District of Barisal alone.”
  • Mentioning the Muladi Massacre, he says “I got the information there that after the whole-scale killing of all adult males, all the young girls were distributed among the ringleaders of the miscreants

Amongst the ‘creative’ ways employed to kill Hindus, one was the Anderson Bridge massacre. The train was stopped on Anderson bridge on Meghna river. The Hindu passengers were killed and bodies thrown in Meghna river, never to be retrieved.

Rajshahi Massacre 1962

A tussle between Santhal tribals and local Muslims led to violence in entire Rajshahi division. The violence soon targeted Hindus of the region. Villages after villages were cleansed of Hindus. The people who survived fled to India.

The estimate is about 4000 to 5000 non-Muslims being killed. This was a State sponsored pogrom. When the High Commissioner of India in Dacca tried to visit the affected regions, he was prohibited. Indian High Commission was put under military siege!

1964 East Pakistan Riots

A news of alleged stealing of Prophet Mohammad’s hair from the Hazratbal Shrine in Kashmir made Muslims in East Pakistan declare a holy war against Hindus.

The districts to burn were mostly Dacca and Khulna. In Dacca, Hindu colonies were attacked. Hindus employed in mills, factories and banks were targeted and killed. Houses were burnt. A report in Daily Ittefaq claimed only in Dacca the deaths were around 10,000!

Khulna was the only Hindu majority district in East Bengal. The Hindus were attacked while they gathered for religious pilgrimages. Trains were stopped and Hindu passengers were killed. The large-scale migration made the only Hindu majority district of East Pakistan a Muslim majority district.

The end result was hordes of Hindu refugees thronging India. An estimate says the number of refugees who arrived just after the riot was 1,35,000.

The Horrors of 1971

While we all remember how Bangladesh was created by India, nobody remembers the horrendous torture of Hindus directed by Yahya Khan, the President of Pakistan in coordination with Jamat-e-Islami and Razakars.

We recount a few of the uncountable massacres of Bengali Hindus that took place:

  • Jathibhanga Massacre– Jathibhanga was the point of assembly of Hindus en route to India. The Pakistan Army sieged the area and brought the people to a ground. Machine guns were blast fired and most Hindus were killed. An estimate says about 3,000 people died!
  • Demra Massacre– In Pabna district, Hindus of villages like Baushgari and Rupsi were singled out. The Pakistan Army raped and killed women and shot dead all the men. An estimated 800 people were killed.
  • Golahat Massacre– Hindus of Saidpur were in a train to West Bengal to take refuge in India. Train was stopped. Men and women were shot dead on the railway tracks itself using bayonets. An estimate 800-900 people were killed.
  • Kaliganj Massacre– In Rangpur division, hundreds of Hindus had taken refuge in Kaliganj market area. They wanted to flee to India. The Army as usual rounded the people. Helpless people were taken to a nearby canal, shot dead and thrown in waters. Wounded were buried alive. About 400 Hindus died.
  • Bagbati Massacre– After Pakistan Army and Razakars took hold of Sirajganj district, they ordered to kill Hindus who had taken refuge in Bagbati region. Hundreds of innocent Hindus were killed.
  • Krishnapur Massacre– In Sylhet division lies the Krishnapur region. Pakistan Army raided village after village and shot dead the Hindus. Krishnapur, Chandipur, Gokulnagar villages were targeted. More than 200 Hindus were killed.
  • Sendia Massacre– It is a village in Faridpur district. Nearby villages had taken refuge in sugarcane fields to escape from Pakistani Army. On being discovered, the Army opened gunshots killing more than a 100 Hindus on the spot.
  • Dacca Massacre– Dacca also witnessed horrific killings and rape of women. Jagannath Hall of Residence in Dacca University was an exclusive hostel for Hindu students. Pakistan Army let lose the machine guns after storming the hostel. Eyewitnesses count that about 100 corpses were buried by Pakistan Army. Similar such massacre happened in the Hindu locality of Shankharipara. Houses were razed, people were asked to come out, line up and were shot dead. More than 100 people were killed.
  • Burunga Massacre– It took place in the premises of a school. Villages in Sylhet division were asked to assemble in Burunga High School for “peace”. Pakistan Army made Hindus stand in line and shot them dead with machine guns. About 80-100 people were killed.

We ask, what was their crime? That they weren’t following a particular religion? Is that enough reason to brutally massacre innocents, gang rape women and loot houses?

Bangladesh is No Safe Haven for Hindus Either

If you are thinking that after formation of Bangladesh, things would be better, think again. The systematic hatred for Hindus continued especially under the rule of Khaleda Zia supported by Jamat-e-Islami.

The most prominent riots were in 1989, 1990 and 1992 which were triggered from the Ram Mandir agitation in India. Hindus were specifically targeted in Bangladesh.

  • Hindu houses were burnt down in multiple localities in Dacca, Mymensingh, Chittagong and Khulna
  • Hindu lands were confiscated and businesses closed down
  • Important temples of Hindus were vandalized. The Dhakeshwari Kali temple of Dacca, the most venerated temple, was vandalized. People were either killed or beaten up
  • Villages after villages were vandalized and Hindu households were torn down.

After knowing these horrendous atrocities, one has to be either blind or cold hearted not to support the CAA to give citizenship to those who barely managed to survive!