Home | Bangladesh | Tragedy on eve of victory; Country’s best minds killed by retreating forces on Dec 14; B’desh observes Martyred Intellectuals Day tomorrow
Martyred Intellectuals

Tragedy on eve of victory; Country’s best minds killed by retreating forces on Dec 14; B’desh observes Martyred Intellectuals Day tomorrow

In the waning days of the war Al-Badr, the para-military group of the Pakistan army comprising of Jammat-i-Islami cadres went on a rampage on December 14, 1971 and killed leading intellectuals of the country in a bid to cripple the emerging nation, Bangladesh.
They were picked up from their homes by the Badr men and tortured in the Physical Training Institute of Lalmatia, which had been turned into a “torture cell” by the Pakistanis, earlier.
Later they were taken to a brick-field in Mohammadpur, adjoining the Turag River, and shot one-by-one.
Those who were slaughtered included university teachers, doctors, journalists and writers.
Meanwhile, the northern town of Bogra was liberated.
In New Delhi, the Indian defense minister announced the Indian casualty figures of the 10 day war in the Lok Sabha. They were: Killed – 1978, Wounded 5025, Missing 1662.
Pakistani casualty figures are much higher, he claimed.
He also said that the highest officers of the Pakistani administration in Bangladesh had resigned from their posts and sought refuge in the Red Crescent refuge at the Hotel-Intercontinental.
From Moscow the Soviet leadership urged the Americans to restrain their Pakistani friends. The message from the Soviets said: “It would be good if the American side on its part stressed to the Pakistani Government the necessity of embarking on the path towards political settlement in East Pakistan on the basis which is now rather clear.”
At the UN headquarters in New York, the Soviet Union vetoed for the 3rd time to block a US resolution for an immediate Indo-Pakistani ceasefire.
In a letter the Pakistani president, Yahya Khan appealed to President Nixon of the USA. The letter said: “The Russian proposal about the cease-fire, withdrawal and negotiations has by now clearly been demonstrated to have been only a hoax….The passage of time is clearly playing into the hands of the Russians. We are convinced that, after acquiring East Pakistan, they would let the Indians turn their might single-mindedly against West Pakistan for which they have already begun to equip the Indians. Time has come for the United States to go beyond warnings and d,marches if its determination to punish aggression across international borders is to have any effect on the Soviet Union and India. The Seventh Fleet does not only have to come to our shores but also to relieve certain pressures which we by ourselves are not in a position to cope with.”
In Islamabad Yahya made the same point with US ambassador, Joseph Farland. In a telex to Washington DC, Farland sums up: “President Yahya acknowledges that military situation in East Pakistan has hopelessly deteriorated. He provided me with Governor Malik’s Dec. 13 report of chaotic conditions. Because military situation now irretrievable and for over-riding humanitarian reasons, Yahya is giving Bhutto widest possible latitude at UN to effect ceasefire and troop withdrawal.”
In another development the Soviet first deputy foreign minister came to India to discuss the political recognition of Bangladesh.
He told the Indians that the Soviet Union would continue to veto any cease fire to give India time to liberate Bangladesh. But he also expressed impatience at the time that was being taken to liberate Bangladesh.

AGENCY

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