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1971 Rapes: Bangladesh cannot hide history: Silence over Bangladesh’s babies of war of 1971
TIWN
1971 Rapes: Bangladesh cannot hide history: Silence over Bangladesh’s babies of war of 1971
PHOTO : Bangladesh History Professor Dr. Montasir Mamon talking at meet the press at Agartala Press Club. TIWn Pic March 26

AGARTALA, March 26 (TIWN): Around 6 to 10 lakh women were tortured, raped and killed. With the help of its local collaborators, the Pakistan military kept numerous Bengali women as sex slaves inside their camps and cantonments during the 1971 Bangladesh war for independence, said Professor Dr. Montasir Mamon while interacting with the media persons in meet the press at Agartala Press Club, here on wednesday.

He further added that Bangladesh celebrates its birth on 16 December 1971 now celebrated as Victory Day, a day of reminiscence for citizens of the new nation. But many memories are troubling, especially those of the ‘war babies’  children born during or after the War of Liberation, as a result of the often planned and systematic rape of Bangladeshi women. If we turn back the pages of Bangladesh’s history, we can get some rare glimpses of the marginalized, but there is still complete silence when it comes to the babies of war, he added.

The nine months of armed conflict that resulted in East Pakistan breaking away to become an independent Bangladesh is a story of blood and tears. Official and unofficial estimates of deaths range widely between 300,000 and three million. In addition to the mass killings, a large number of Bangladeshi women were subjected to sexual violence; the official figure is some 200,000, he mentioned.

The Liberation War of Bangladesh is the most memorable event in her brief history as it brought about her independence. Father of the Nation Bangabondhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was its undisputed leader and Shahid Tajuddin Ahmed was the person who piloted it brilliantly. To win this freedom, three million people had to shed their blood and three lakh women had to sacrifice their lives. The freedom fighters of our country deserve the eternal gratitude and respect of each and every citizen of Bangladesh. We must not also forget that the Government and the people of India stood solidly by us. The way they extended their help is unique in the history of the world, Montasir Mamon said.

Dr. Montasir Mamon further said that Tripura had six to seven camps in four sectors from where the 'muktijoddhas' (freedom fighters) fought the Pakistani forces in the nine-month-long war in 1971 that led to the creation of Bangladesh, which was earlier East Pakistan. "Over 1,600,000 Bangladeshis - a number larger than the state's then total population of 1,500,000 - had taken shelter in Tripura alone," he said.

During the Bangladesh Liberation War, 10 million men, women and children from then East Pakistan took shelter in the Indian states of West Bengal, Tripura, Assam and Meghalaya.

The Liberation War, as it is called in Bangladesh, later turned into a full-scale India-Pakistan war, leading to surrenders of thousands of Pakistani soldiers in December 1971. India was the first country to recognize Bangladesh.

 

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