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Indira criticized rich countries for not helping refugees

DHAKA, March 24, 2016 (BSS) - The then Indian Prime Minister heavily came down on the prosperous country and upholders of democracy for not standing beside the East Pakistani refugees in India during the War of Liberation in 1971.

"No prosperous country or any of the upholders of democracy has tried to help the nearly three million East Pakistani refugees now in India," she said while addressing an inaugural programme of a summer festival at Ranilchet on May 18, 1971.

International Herald Tribune published a report of AP on May 18 titled "Mrs. Gandhi laments lack of aid for Pakistan refugees" to this end.

Describing the refugee crisis as concern of the entire world, she said, "What is happening in East Bengal (East Pakistan) is not only India's concern but that of the whole world."

Criticizing inaction of the so called democracy holders against the atrocities in East Pakistan by Pakistani troops, she also said, "These people have been forced out of their homes for demanding food and freedom, and not a single country among the up holders of democracy has raised its voice at the atrocities committed on helpless men, women and children."

"No prosperous country has come to the aid of the refugees," she said, adding that the whole burden has fallen on India, which is already overburdened with her own problems."

Bangladesh has a 2,000 km international border with four Indian states and about one crore people took refuge there when the War of Liberation broke out in 1971.

Tripura, which has an 856 km border with the neighbouring country, accommodated 16 lakh refugees when the state's population was 15 lakh. Tripura was the war headquarters of the Liberation War.

Refugees formed an organisation titled Bangladesh Volunteer Service Corps (BVSC) with the main purpose of reorganizing the people who escaped the atrocities of Pakistani occupation force and their local collaborators.

The corps was formed at 160 camps in West Bengal, Tripura, Assam and Meghalaya. It was organized by prominent citizens and leaders from Bangladesh.

(Source: International Press on Bangladesh Liberation War written by Dr. M.D. Husain)