The Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 was a military conflict between India and Pakistan. Indian, Bangladeshi and international sources consider the beginning of the war to be Operation Chengiz Khan, Pakistan’s December 3, 1971 pre-emptive strike on 11 Indian airbases. Lasting just 13 days it is considered one of the shortest wars in history.
The Pakistan army conducted a widespread genocide against the Bengali population of East Pakistan, aimed in particular at the minority Hindu population,leading to approximately 10 million people fleeing East Pakistan and taking refuge in the neighboring Indian states. The East Pakistan-India border was opened to allow refugees safe shelter in India. The governments of West Bengal, Bihar, Assam, Meghalaya and Tripura established refugee camps along the border. The resulting flood of impoverished East Pakistani refugees placed an intolerable strain on India’s already overburdened economy.
General Tikka Khan earned the nickname ‘Butcher of Bengal’ due to the widespread atrocities he committed. General Niazi commenting on his actions noted ‘On the night between 25/26 March 1971 General Tikka struck. Peaceful night was turned into a time of wailing, crying and burning. General Tikka let loose everything at his disposal as if raiding an enemy, not dealing with his own misguided and misled people. The military action was a display of stark cruelty more merciless than the massacres at Bukhara and Baghdad by Chengiz Khan and Halaku Khan… General Tikka… resorted to the killing of civilians and a scorched earth policy. His orders to his troops were: ‘I want the land not the people…’ Major General Farman had written in his table diary, “Green land of East Pakistan will be painted red”. It was painted red by Bengali blood.The national Indian government repeatedly appealed to the international community, but failing to elicit any response, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on 27 March 1971.
India took approximately 90,000 prisoners of war, including Pakistani soldiers and their East Pakistani civilian supporters. 79,676 prisoners were uniformed personnel, of which 55,692 were Army, 16,354 Paramilitary, 5,296 Police, 1000 Navy and 800 PAF. The remaining prisoners were civilians – either family members of the military personnel or collaborators (razakars). The Hamoodur Rahman Commission report instituted by Pakistan lists the Pakistani POWs as follows:
Branch Number of captured Pakistani POWs
Air Force 833
Paramilitary including police 22,000
Civilian personnel 12,000
On the brink of defeat around 14 December, the Pakistani Army, and its local collaborators, systematically killed a large number of Bengali doctors, teachers and intellectuals, part of a pogrom against the Hindu minorities who constituted the majority of urban educated intellectuals. Young men, especially students, who were seen as possible rebels were also targeted. The extent of casualties in East Pakistan is not known. R.J. Rummel cites estimates ranging from one to three million people killed. Other estimates place the death toll lower, at 300,000. Bangladesh government figures state that Pakistani forces aided by collaborators killed three million people, raped 200,000 women and displaced millions of others. In 2010 Bangladesh government set up a tribunal to prosecute the people involved in alleged war crimes and those who collaborated with Pakistan.According to the Government, the defendants would be charged with Crimes against humanity, genocide, murder, rape and arson.
Border, a 1997 Bollywood war film directed by J.P.Dutta. This movie is an adaptation from real life events that happened at the Battle of Longewala fought in Rajasthan (Western Theatre) during the 1971 Indo-Pak war. Border at the Internet Movie Database
Hindustan Ki Kasam, a 1973 Bollywood war film directed by Chetan Anand. The aircraft in the film are all authentic aircraft used in the 1971 war against Pakistan. These include MiG-21s, Gnats, Hunters and Su-7s. Some of these aircraft were also flown by war veterans such as Samar Bikram Shah (2 kills) and Manbir Singh. Hindustan Ki Kasam at the Internet Movie Database
1971 – Prisoners of War, a 2007 Bollywood war film directed by Sagar Brothers. Set against the backdrop of a prisoners’ camp in Pakistan, follows six Indian prisoners awaiting release after their capture in the 1971 India-Pakistan war.