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USAID doctor witnesses Pak brutality on March 25, calls US to act

by Asraful Huq and Mahmudul Hasan Raju---

DHAKA, March 25, 2015 (BSS)- Witnessing the horrific massacre on the Black Night of March 25, 1971, USAID physician Dr John Rodd wrote a letter to US Senator William B. Saxbe with a fervent request of US intervention to stop genocide in the then East Pakistan.

"We urge you (Senator William B. Saxbe) to speak out actively against the tragic massacre of civilians in East-Pakistan," Dr Rodd, who was posted in Dhaka at that time, made the appeal in his letter written on April 17, 1971.

Narrating the Pakistani brutality the physician witnessed, he wrote, "My wife and I watched from our roof the night of March 25th as tanks rolled out of cantonment illuminated by the flares and red glow of fires as the city was shelled by artillery, and mortars were fired into crowded slums and bazars.

"After two days of loud explosions and the continual chatter of machineguns, we took advantage of a break in the curfew to drive through the city. Driving past streams of refugees we saw burned out shacks of families living by railroad tracks, coming from Gulshan to Mahakhali crossing."

Quoting a friend, who witnessed the massacre at Mahakhali in Dhaka, Dr Rodd wrote, "The troops were waiting patiently after setting the shacks on fire and were gunning down the inhabitants like dogs as soon as they were coming out." Rodd also took some photographs of atrocities taken place in different parts of Dhaka.

Senator Saxbe had drawn the US Senate attention on April 29, 1971, placing an affirmative speech on Rodd's letter, supporting the Bangladesh War of Liberation against the Pakistani occupation forces urging US action to stop the menace.

His colleague in the Senate, Gordon Allot, too made a long informative speech in the House (Senate) on July 14, 1971, following a letter of a US citizen, James Raggin, who also witnessed the genocide in East Pakistan.

Meanwhile, another US citizen named Mrs Edward Patt had written a letter to the US daily Denver Post after returning from then Dacca recounting the horrendous incidents she had witnessed and said, "We have been witness to what amount to genocide."

Source: Ekattore Pakbarbarotar Sangbadbhashya by Ahmad Rafiq