Bangladesh War of Independence

By: Rose McCretton

What is the Bangladesh War?

The Bangladesh War of Independence or the Bangladesh Liberation War refers to an armed conflict between West Pakistan (now Pakistan) and East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) that lasted for roughly nine months in 1971. The war resulted in Bangladesh's independence from Pakistan.

15 Facts About the Bangladesh War

In 1947, when colonial power Britain left the subcontinent, modern-day Bangladesh was known as East Pakistan, geographically separated from West Pakistan but governed from Islamabad. The 1971 war began after thousands of people were killed on the night of March 25 when Pakistani troops launched Operation Searchlight, a campaign intended to deter Bangladeshis from seeking independence. The war ended on December 16 after India invaded the country and helped vanquish Pakistani forces.

The Dhaka government says three million people were killed and more than 200,000 women were raped during the conflict. Independent researchers put the death toll between 300,000 and 500,000. More than 90,000 Pakistani troops surrendered at the end of the war. They included 195 officers accused of most of the war atrocities. They were sent back home by 1974 following an Indo-Pakistani agreement and were never prosecuted. Bangladeshi Islamic parties including Jamaat opposed secession from Pakistan. Its activists formed the core of the pro-Pakistani militias that took part in mass killings, rapes, arson and religious persecution during the war. Independence leader Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the father of current premier Sheikh Hasina, ordered the arrest of thousands of collaborators and canceled Azam’s citizenship for siding with Pakistan and committing atrocities. Rahman was assassinated in August 1975 in a military coup before his government could hold war crime trials. A pro-Islamist military group took over and freed around 11,000 associates

In 2010, Hasina set up the International Crimes Tribunal, which is a domestic court with no international oversight, to try suspected war criminals to fulfill a key election pledge. India achieved glorious victory in 1971 Indo-Pak war with no doubt Indian army fought courageously and their efforts should be praised. Russia's helped India to destroy clever game of UK and USA that prevented allied forces attack on India.

1971 Indo-Pak war was not only between India and Pakistan, as many countries were involved into this directly or indirectly. As USA President Nixon wanted to support Pakistan so UK and USA planned a coordinated attack to India . USA deployed their famous '7th fleet' to the Bay of Bengal officially to evacuate US nationals in Bangladesh but papers revealed it was planned to attack the Indian Army.

The US fleet consisted of the world’s largest nuclear powered aircraft carrier with more than 70 fighters and bombers, guided missile cruiser USS King, guided missile destroyers etc. to attack from east. Similarly, Britain also deployed aircraft carrier HMS Eagle with commando carrier HMS Albion, several destroyers and missile ships into Arabian sea to attack from west.

At that time India was not capable of countering such a massive force, so India got help from the USSR which had signed a Treaty of Friendship recently. In response to that on December 6th and 13th, the Soviet Navy dispatched two groups of cruisers and destroyers and a submarine armed with nuclear missiles from Vladivostok.They trailed US Task Force 74 into the Indian Ocean from December 18, 1971 until January 7th, 1972. The Soviets also had a nuclear submarine to help get rid of the threat posed by USS Enterprise task force in the Indian Ocean.

How People Were Affected

People during the war were affected greatly. They suffered through starvation, dehydration, and rape. Many, many girls were raped and held still to watch their families die. Lots of families were torn apart and they were scarred. They didn't have much food and what they did have would be taken away from them. They were treated like animals on leashes. The soldiers were so horrible to them and they didn't care what anyone said or what they did. If they were from somewhere else, they were getting killed and/or raped.