Remembering the 16 December 1971: Part 2/2

Indian and International intervention

India published their refugee intake from East Bengal region which was striking 1.2 million refugees. Various efforts were done by United Nations to provide medical and humanitarian support for these refugees. After US government cancelled arms sales to West Pakistan on 8 November 1971, India also took this matter to United Nations on 18 November. In response to Gopalpur tragedy, Mukti Bahini launched a military action against West Pakistani troops on 21 November. A couple of days later, state-of-emergency was implemented across East Bengal region on 23 November.

After West Pakistani troops enforced a military action against East Pakistan on 3rd December. Appeals were discussed from India and USA in United Nations in a period of early half of December. In effect to that, United Nations appealed West Pakistan to withdraw their troops on 7 December 1971 and a ceasefire on 15 December.

The surrender

As West Pakistani troops came under the International Pressure and the war was destined to be over soon on 14 December 1971, Al-Badr military launched an attack on Bengali intellectuals who they thought could play an influential role in building up a separate nation.

However, more than 90 thousand Pakistani troops surrendered to Indian and Bangladeshi Liberation forces on 16 December 1971 which was the largest of its kind since World War 2. Surrender Instrument was signed by Lt. Gen A. A. K. Niazi, CO of Pakistan Army forces.

Atrocities

A nine-month long war for its liberation is probably one of the most poorly-documented war with each side claiming different statistics of fatalities and atrocities caused in the war. However, as per various international agencies statistics, interviews, news reports, first-hand accounts of victims, it is believed that more than 3 million Bengali people were killed during the war period.

The most who had suffered during the war period were Bengali women. General Tikka Khan led military in what might be referred as most shameful event in mankind history, raped more than 400,000 Bengali women. As per a CIA documentary, these genocidal rapes were shockingly supported by Muslim religious leaders who called for impregnating women with Muslim fetuses. Girls as young as 14 were raped in what was referred as rape camps. Rape was used as a tool for degradation of society and destruction of a community. Some reports also suggested that even after the surrender, West Pakistani troops showed no remorse for their genocide rather they boasted.

All these atrocities left a never healing scar on the victims as well as on everyone who was victim of this war in some or the other way.

Bangladesh as an Independent Nation

After the surrender on 16 December 1971, Bangladesh was recognized as a sovereign nation. But not to forget the horrific it has to gone through to achieve this sense of freedom. Even after so many decades have been passed through, there is still a sense of denial of atrocities being forced upon Bangladesh. Wounds of the war are still very fresh in Bangladeshi people. Amount of scars the war has left on Bangladesh it is important to look back and give an ear to the freedom fighters of 1971 Liberation war to bring the justice to all the genocide, women and children of 1971.

Vijay Diwas (Victory Day)

16 December 1971 is celebrated as Victory Day of Bangladesh in Bangladesh and Vijay Diwas in India.

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