Christian Science Monitor

June 30 1971

Fearful Whispers in East Pakistani Streets

By Henry S. Hayward

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One hesitates to tell their story lest somehow their identity be traced and recriminations ensue. But one feels obligated to make their plight known.

As another man told me: "It is so senseless. You do not know who might shoot you. It might be a soldier who decides you were an Awami. League supporter. It might be a young Freedom Fighter who sees you are middle-aged and therefore assumes [correctly] you are unwilling to oppose the Army. Or it might simply be a miscreant who wants to loot your home or shop.


"Why did they shoot innocent people - women, children, beggars in the street, firing at random into houses?" he asked. "If they are angry with the Awami League, why did they not punish the leaders instead of taking vengeance on anyone within range of their guns?"

The result, according to such informants is that today 20 million East Pakistanis still are hiding in the hinterlands. This is why the cities are thinly populated. They claim 6,000 villages have been burned, although nobody knows who vouches for these statistics.

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