Times (London)

June 29 1971

India warns President Yahya that it will resist his new plan to transfer power in Pakistan

By Peter Hazelhurst

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At the same time a spokesman for the provisional government of Bangladesh in Calcutta said that the Awami League, which won 168 of the 169 seats of the National Assembly seats in Bengal, described the President's announcement as a farce. He said that all members of the Awami League had been warned that they must not participate in the national assembly and the people of Bangladesh will be asked to boycott the by-elections. The spokesman pointed out that many of the elected representatives of the Awami League had been killed by the Army while most of those who are still alive are in exile in India or have gone underground in East Pakistan.

"The whole procedure will be a farce. The Punjabis will force a preordained constitution on the people to preserve their interests and they hope to put their own Quislings in power in a so-called Parliament." Angry MPs quickly demanded immediate action by the Indian Government, the most popular calls being for recognition of the Bangladesh government and for more military aid for the guerrillas. The controversial figure of Mr. Krishna Menon, the former Minister of Defence, entered the fray today and said that the Government had refused to recognize the provisional government because Mrs. Gandhi, the Prime Minister, did not want to displease the world powers. Mr. Menon said that many people believed that the recognition of Bangladesh would trigger off a war. "I don't believe that a war is necessary but the recognition of Bangladesh is the recognition of a freedom struggle. It will take away the cloak of illegality and in the context of guerrilla warfare this will become important.

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