|Posted by Amra Mujib Shena on May 5, 2011 at 1:15 PM|
269,000 people died in Bangladesh war, says new study
LONDON: As many as 269,000 people died during the war leading to the liberation of Bangladesh in 1971, nearly five times more than the previously estimated figure, a new study says.
The study, titled 'Fifty years of violent war deaths from Vietnam to Bosnia: analysis of data from the world health survey programme', published in the British Medical Journal said "war causes more deaths than previously estimated, and there is no evidence to support a recent decline in war deaths".
Earlier estimates of casualties during the Bangladesh war were in the region of 58,000, the study noted.
The objective of the survey was to provide an accurate estimate of deaths in wars. The study analysed estimated deaths from war injuries in 13 countries over 50 years, including Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
Is 3 million martyrs a myth?
The Mathematics of a Genocide
Pic: Dumped dead bodies: victims of Pakistani holocaust
President Yahya said, "Kill three million of them and the rest will eat out of our hands". (Robert Payne, Massacre, The Tragedy of Bangladesh and the Phenomenon of Mass Slaughter Throughout History; P50; New York, Macmillan, 1973)
A few Neo-Razakars and some Pakistanis are in the devious game again. They are trying to sow the seed of doubt in the minds of new generation of Bangalees about the severity of 1971 Genocide. One of these Neo-Razakars even had the audacity to say that only about few hundred thousand (150 000 - 250 000) people were killed in Bangladesh. We know why these people are suddenly active again when the Bangladesh election is just a month away. One Pakistani even said that it is nearly impossible for the 90 000 Pakistani soldiers to kill 3 million Bangladeshis in just 9 months time. Let us do some calculations to refute their well design plan. Let us take our calculator and do some calculations based on international data. We shall do this calculation and compare that with those of Cambodia, another land of genocide.
In 1981, UN's declaration of Universal Human Rights writes; "Among the genocides of human history, the highest number of people killed in lower span of time is in Bangladesh in 1971. An average of 6000 (six thousand) to 12 000 (twelve thousand) people were killed every single day..........This is the highest daily average in the history of genocide's." The occupation army of Pakistan committed this holy act for an approximate period of 260 days (from the night of 25 March,1971 to their surrender on the 16th. December, 1971). Using UN's figures multiply them with 260 days. What figures do we get? Please take a calculator and check this one out.
(1) Lower limit of Bangalee killed = 6 000 x 260 = 1 560 000 (1.56 million) Higher limit of Bangalee killed = 12 000 x 260 = 3 120 000 (3.12 million) We can take an average value of 2 340 000 (2.34 million)
(2) In 1971 there were around 75 million people in Bangladesh. The average size of a Bangalee family was around 5 (five) at that time. Divide 75 million by 5 which gives 15 million families in Bangladesh in 1971. Number killed per family = 0.16 (2.34 million divided by 15 million) Number of families affected with at least one family member killed = 6.4 (15 million divided by 2.34 million).
This is 42.7% (6.4 multiplied by 100 and divided by 15) of families. For simplicity, let us use a round figure of 40%. This means that 40% of Bangalee families were affected with the loss of at least one family member. Of course, there were thousands of families where the loss of family members was more than one. In many cases, the entire family excepting a lone survivor was wiped out. If these facts are taken in to consideration then the average percentage affected (40%) will change.
(3) Numbers killed by each Pakistani soldier = 26 persons (2.34 million divided by 90 000 soldiers) in 260 days. I have excluded the Razakars who joined the Pakistani soldiers later. An approximate number of Razakars will be around 50,000 to 60,000 or may be more. No one knows the real data). Do your own calculations if you want to include the Razakars.
(4) Numbers killed by each Pakistani soldier per day is 0.1 person. (26 divided by 260).
That is, one Pakistani soldier killed at least one Bangalee in every ten days. Is that an impossible job? Are these numbers unbelievable? The 3 million people killed by the Pakistani soldiers is not at all impossible. The above calculations clearly demonstrate this fact. That was exactly what happened in Bangladesh. In fact, the September 1972 issue of National Geographic clearly writes that more than 3 million people were killed in Bangladesh. This fact was revealed almost after a year of the carnage. Therefore, the records are surely more authentic and free from bias.
Let us now look in to another genocide, which has no match in human history. This is the genocide by Khmer Rouge in Cambodia. Official figure of genocide toll is 1.7 million (many sources quote a figure of around 2 million. But let us work with the 1.7 million figure). This was not done in 260 days (like Pakistani soldiers) but within a period of Khmer Rouge rule of 4 (four) years (from 1975 to 1979). Cambodia's population in 1970 was 6.94 million and its population in 1988 was 7.87 million. The average population growth in Cambodia can be taken as 2.3% (Source: Book of Vital World statistics; by The Economist Books (page 16). Published by Hutchinson Business books Ltd. London, 1990). Using this population growth rate we can calculate the following. The population of Cambodia in 1974 (genocide year) would have been around 7.6 million (1.023 raised to the power of 4 then multiplied by 6.94 million). Number of Cambodians killed = 1.74 million. Therefore, % of population killed = 22.8% (in Cambodia) % of population killed in Bangladesh = 4% (using the 3 million figure) I do not have the data for the average family size in Cambodia. So, using the same assumption as in Bangladesh (5 members per family). Numbers of families in Cambodia in 1974 = 1.52 million Numbers of people killed per family in Cambodia in 1974 = 1.14 Number of people killed per day (for 4 years) = 1192
Now, let us assume that the Khmer rouge squeezed the time of killing to 260 days instead of 4 years. Then the number of people killed per day (in 260 days) would have been around 7000 (seven thousand per day). This figure is not very far off from the daily killings in Bangladesh.
We can conclude the following
The figure 3 million is not a pie in the sky figure. It is quite an accurate estimate of the people killed in Bangladesh in 1971. 90,000 Pakistani soldiers can and did kill the 3 million Bangalees in approximately 9 months time. It was not an impossible task as suggested by some Pakistani. In terms of severity and the density of people killed per family, the Cambodian genocide is far worse than Bangladesh genocide. (1.14 per family in Cambodia vs.0.16 per family in Bangladesh). In reality, the density of killing in Cambodia was about 7 times more ferocious than in Bangladesh. Approximately 40% families in Bangladesh lost at least one family member. Every family in Cambodia lost more than one family member. In terms of speed of killing, Bangladesh genocide is the worst in history. An average of 9000 (mean of 6 000 and 12 000 of the U.N figure) people killed per day for 260 days versus approximately 1200 people killed per day (for 4 years) in Cambodia. The big difference between the Bangladesh genocide and the Cambodian genocide was this. Cambodia set up a People's Revolutionary Tribunal in August 1979 to try Pol Pot and Ieng Sary. They were tried in absentia (at least). This was the first genocide trial based on UN policy. No such trial ever took place in Bangladesh. Do our politicians have the guts to do what the humble Cambodians did for justice? To my mind, the answer is simply 'no'. All our politicians are impotent. They are still hooked on 'Islamic brotherhood.� The people must revolt and establish their own tribunal to bring justice. This tribunal should also try our impotent, gutless politicians for failing to deliver justice when they were in power. Is this possible in Bangladesh?
The gratuitous and wanton killing of astronomical number of unarmed Bangalees by marauding soldiers of Pakistan should not go unpunished. We ask the International Tribune on Human Rights to look into this crime against humanity seriously and do the needful. Some of the officers are still in theirs sixties and seventies. Time is running out. Some of these killers are respectable citizens of Pakistan who are collecting their pension sitting in the comfort of their home. These killers should be apprehended and bring to International Court of Justice in The Hague, The Netherlands.
THE NUMBER-GAME OF 3 MILLION.
The number-game has popped up again about our martyrs of 1971. While there are killer Maolanas and corrupt politicians (almost al of ours) to play with this, I prefer not to take any NFB-writer as any of them. While trust on our writers is important, distortion or simply presentation of information has profound impact on the result. Far from being a musician I am trying to clarify this with basic music-math, to address an accredited musician-writer in his language of mind (mine too!).
One change of NISHAD from “KOMOL” to “SHUDDHO” changes Malkosh to Chondrokosh, an altogether different Raag with complete different taste. One change of “KOMOL GANDHAR” to “SHUDDHO GANDHAR” changes Bagesree to Ragesree, again a very different Raag with different taste. Small changes in Raag Mollar create Meghmollar, Surmollar, Notmollar, Mia-Ki-Mollar, Ramdashi-Mollar (there are others, don’t remember now) etc, all with very different impressions and impacts. Inclusion of NISHAD to Raag Abhog transforms it to Bagesree, exclusion of KORhI-MA (MA as a whole) could not stop Bhupali from being included in the KOLLYAN-THAAT.
Without any note-change, if the SA of Bhupali is shifted to its own PA, then the Sargam changes from SA RE GA PA DHA SA to SA RE MA PA DHA SA, which is nothing but Raag Durga, again with a very different impact. EVEN WITHOUT ANY CHANGE OF NOTES (information), ONLY DIFFERENT MOVEMENT (presentation) OF THE TUNE CHANGES RAAG DARBARI TO JOUNOPURI, AND RAAG BHUPALI TO DESHKAAR. Please correct if this non-musician is wrong.
The spirit of 1971 has been victimized form all the angles of the examples given above, by our own people. So the spirit did the very right thing, it just evaporated. The recent number-game of 3-million resulted in confusion in people’s mind. We do have figures from World Bank, foreign Universities, Newspapers and other establishments like National Geographic, even from the UN-Human Rights Department, ranging from 0.25 to 3 million, thanks to Mukto-Mona, (NOT so called “Murkho-Mona”, Sir! Let us break the nasty prison of name-calling and get out of it, all of us.) That is a huge span, never academically addressed. These figures, though from accredited institutions, do not enjoy the support of any documented research in our vast villages.
Without any backing of formal research and survey, “3-million” always remained vulnerable though it went unchallenged for many years and got its wide acceptability. Nobody, except a character of Humayun Ahmed’s TV-Drama, took the initiative of such an important follow up of number-count of our genocide. Now as the wind has changed its direction, there are innocent academic / ill-motivated efforts to verify / challenge it. We must realize that it is only natural, unless our Govt. gives the job to an International Institution (Uuuups! His Excellency The Mottya-Razakar & Co. is right there sitting in our Parliament!). Now we can only speculate, “debate” endlessly, and get more confused about the seriousness of the genocide. Keeping in mind that the criminals of 1971 and their supporters want that, the only healthy way left for us now is to take “3 Million” as not an absolute but as an arbitrary number, because we need a number to address the issue of genocide. ALL NUMBERS ARE NOT ABSOLUTE, WE DO USE ARBITRARY NUMBERS EXTENSIVELY ALL THE TIME IN OUR LIVES.
In the Qura’an when God changes his oneness to plurality, uses “WE” or “US” for Himself, the expression is only “SHOMMANARTH-E BOHUBOCHON”, He is still one. When the young Prince criss-crosses Seven Seas and Thirteen Rivers in search of the life-bird of the demon, he only travels from horizon to horizon. When we pardon “SHAAT KHOON” of our dear ones, we never mean seven killings. “PONCHO BYANJON” may not be exactly five dishes; “PONCHOBOTI” may have fifty “Bot”-trees. “SHOPTODINGA” is only one huge boat. “DOSH NEKI” or “SOTTOR SAWAB” is far from real numbers. “SHOPTO ASMAN” does not exist at all. There are not seven but twelve different notes in each “SHOPTOK” of a harmonium or keyboard, “CHALSHE” also may happen before or after 40 years of age. You could buy “ASHEE” mangoes in fifties in the mango market, which was really a hundred, and during the ”NEEL”-time of British Bengal the ignorant peasants actually had to pay 25 bundles of their produce to meet the “KURhI” of the system. “3 million” today is like the existence of god. If one does not believe in it, there are “proofs”. If one believes in it, there are stronger “proofs”. While it is so, in the absence of a Judge why must we be lost in this endless debate where none but only the killers win?
I repeat, we need a number to address the issue of 71’s genocide. We may get an all-acceptable number if and when the criminals will be dragged to the court and a formal investigation will be done. Until then our best option is to regard “3 million” as not an absolute but an arbitrary number.
Pakistan Army has killed missionary’s people in 1971
The Pakistani ruling elite always considered the Hindus in East Pakistan as enemies and agents of India. During their nine-month long deadly crackdown in 1971, West Pakistani soldiers not only demolished many Hindu temples, but also killed a sizable number of Hindu priests, besides Hindu intellectuals, influential persons and common folks in different parts of the eastern wing of the country.
Comparatively, Christians did not suffer that much death and destruction as suffered by the Hindus. Yet, they were not totally spared. In certain pockets of East Pakistan, death and destruction visited them as well. In many mission church and school compounds, internal refugees –Hindus, Muslims and Christians — fleeing West Pakistani military crackdown and barbarity had taken shelter. They were fed and clothed. In this process, a good number of local priests and foreign missionaries — both Catholic and Protestant — faced threats and harassment from the West Pakistani military personnel.
Three Catholic priests — two foreign and one East Pakistani — were brutally killed, too. They were:
• Father William P. Evans, C.S.C. (1919 – 1971):
Father William P. Evans, C.S.C., killed on November 23, 1971, was an American priest and missionary, belonging to the Congregation of Holy Cross. After coming to East Pakistan, he served at different capacities in various Catholic parish churches and, one time, at the Bandura Little Flower Seminary. Finally, he was the parish priest of Golla Catholic Church in Nawabganj Upazilla of Dhaka District.
Although he was a foreigner, he loved the Bangalis dearly and empathized with them and their aspirations. He aided many internal refugees and gave moral support to the muktijuddhas (fredom fighters) of the locality. West Pakistani army personnel in that area was aware of his support of the freedom fighters.
On November 13, 1971, as usual once a week, he was going by a boat to offer Mass at Bakshanagar Village, a mission station a few kilometres away from Golla. As his boat was passing by the army camp at Nawabganj, the soldiers signaled the boat to make a stoppage at the camp. When the boat reached the shore, soldiers grabbed Father Evans and struck him so hard with the rifle butt that he fell on the ground. His body was bayonated several times and ultimately he was killed with two bullets. Then they threw his corpse into the river that carried it several kilometres downstream.
Ordinary people recovered his body and brought it to Golla Church compound. Thousands of Catholics, Muslims and Hindus of the area came to pay their last respect to this holy man before his burial at the church graveyard.
Father Evans’ innate smiling face, love of people, humility, humour, and empathy drew people of all faiths to him. He was called a “holy man.” Till now, many people visit his grave.
In the Little Flower Seminary at Bandura in the early 60′s, he was our rector. From time to time, he used to give us writing assignments in English and after checking them would give his comments. On my assignment sheets, he would often remark: “Short sentences, but complete thought. Keep up the good work.” My later journalism and writing career in life was the result of his inspiration.
Father Evans has been honoured in different ways in Bangladesh. The Tribeni Chhatra Kallyan Sangha (youth organization) in 1972 started to give “Father Evans Scholarship” to poor but excelling students. In 1973, this organization had also started “Father Evans Memorial Football Tournament”. Later Shurid Sangha (another youth organization) in old Dhaka started its annual “Shaheed Father Evans Memorial Basketball Competition” among different youth organizations.
Source: Bangladeshey Catholic Mondoli (The Catholic Church in Bangladesh)
by Jerome D’Costa (Dhaka: Pratibeshi Prakashani, 1986), pp.302-303
• Father Mario Veronesi, S.X. (1912 – 1971):
After West Pakistani military started their crackdown on the East Pakistanis (now Bangladesh) from March 25, 1971 onwards, many people of all faiths began to take refuge in church compounds — both Catholic and Protestant. In Jessore town, a number of such people took shelter in the church compound where Father Mario Veronesi, an Italian Xaverian priest and missionary, was the parish priest.
On April 4, 1971 it was the Palm Sunday. Father was taking care of the internal refugees who had taken shelter in his church compound. When the soldiers with their rifles and sub-machine guns entered the compound and were proceeding towards the building, Father Veronesi came out to meet them with his raised hands. He had a large red cross badge on his chest because there was also the Fatima Hospital adjacent to the place. The soldiers immediately started to fire at him and the building. He got bullets in his chest and died there. The soldiers then entered the church and shot and killed four of the refugees.
Initially, he was buried in Jessore. Later his body was taken to Shimulia Catholic Church compound and re-buried near the grave of another Italian Xaverian missionary Father Valerian Cobbe, S.X., who was killed on October 14, 1974 by robbers.
After the independence of Bangladesh in December, 1971, a Muslim student, named Ismail Hossain, wrote a letter to Father Valerian Cobbe and paid tribute to Father Mario Veronesi: “At last we have achieved independence and freedom! We rejoice and thank God and ask him to help our nation progress and live in tranquility. The memory of so many victims is the thing that saddens us most and gives us great pain. The best members of our society have died. Father Mario Veronesi is among these martyrs of our independence. We feel very proud of him: he paid the highest price for our independence!”
This 58-year-old Italian was a priest for 28 years, 19 of which he spent in East Pakistan. He worked in various capacity in different parish churches under the Diocese of Khulna. He is best remembered for working for the upliftment of the poor.
• Father Lucas Marandi (1922 – 1971):
Father Lucas Marandi, belonging to the local Santal ethnic group, was a diocesan priest for 18 years under the Diocese of Dinajpur, East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). In 1971, he was the parish priest of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church at Ruhea in Thakurgaon District. He had a strong patriotic feeling for his country when the West Pakistani army began their bloody crackdown on the East Pakistani on March 25, 1971.
Thousands upon thousands of East Pakistanis in various districts and localities were fleeing the merciless attacks of the West Pakistani soldiers. Many were taking refuge in different border districts of India.
Father Marandi received the news that four Catholic mission centres of the Diocese of Dinajpur were abandoned after the military plunderings. In the Ruhea area itself, most of the members of the minority groups and many Muslims left their abodes and fled to nearby India. His parishoners, through messengers, were appealing him time and again to leave Ruhea and join them in India.
Finally, Father Marandi decided to move. He got the church bullock cart loaded with the parish archives and his personal belongings. He told the cart driver to move towards the border that was marked by the shallow Nagor River, six miles ( kilometres) away. He then reached the riverbank on his motor cycle.
When the cart reached the designated spot, the cart and he himself on the motor cycle crossed the river together. On reaching the Indian side of the river bank, he turned toward the Ruhea Church and kept on looking intently for quite some time. His companions could realize that something ominous was going on in his mind. When someone told him to make a move towards India, Father Marandi turned toward him and said gravely: “No, it has all been a mistake! Let’s go back to Ruhea!” He then crossed the river and started to return to his church.
Father Lucas Marandi was all alone in the Ruhea church compound except a few Catholics living nearby. After three days, on April 21, 1971, a West Pakistani army jeep pulled up at the priest’s residence. Father greeted them and offered them tea and biscuits. They then left for the north. He felt quite relieved of his tension, but temporarily. After three hours the jeep returned.
Father Marandi came out again, but the soldiers pushed him inside his residence and started to torture him for the next 15 minutes or so. They bayoneted his face beyond recognition. Blood splattered all over the walls. When they left the compound, mortally wounded Father was dying.
A few Catholics who lived nearby rushed in to see what had happened. Seeing his grave condition, they decided to take him to India by the very bullock cart that Father had used earlier. Before reaching the destination, Father Lucas Marandi expired. His corpse was taken to the Catholic Church at Islampur on the Indian side of the border where he is still buried.
Sooner they left the church compound then a bunch of local looters appeared and ransacked the church and priest’s residence and carried away everything available.
Source: Catholic Beginnings in North Bengal by Father Luigi Pinos, P.I.M.E.
(Saidpur: Catholic Church, 1984), pp.26-27)
These three priests are the testimonies of the crimes against humanity perpetrated by the ferocious and brutal West Pakistani soldiers.
Used with permission from Jerome D’Costa: