Bangladesh Genocide Archives – Foreign Newspaper Reports

Anthony's Mascarenhas' Sunday Times artilce published on June 13, 1971 

On March 25, 1971 the Pakistani military forcibly confined all foreign reporters to the Hotel Intercontinental (currently the Dhaka Sheraton) in Dhaka. That night after 11pm the military launched its genocide campaign against the Bengali civilian population of then East Pakistan. The reporters were able to see the tank and artillary attacks on civilians from their hotel windows. Two days later, as Dhaka burned the reporters were expelled from the country – their notes and tapes were confiscated. One of the expelled reporters was Sidney Schanberg of the New York Times. He would return to East Pakistan in June 1971 to report on the massacres in Bengali towns and villages. He would again be expelled by the Pakistan military at the end of June.

Two foreign reporters escaped the roundup on March 25. One of them was Simon Dring of the Daily Telegraph. He evaded capture by hiding on the roof of the Hotel Intercontinental. Dring was able to extensively tour Dhaka the next day and witness first hand the slaughter that was taking place. Days later Simon Dring was able to leave East Pakistan with his reporter’s notes. On March 30, 1971 the Daily Telegraph published Simon Dring’s front page story of the slaughter in Dhaka that the army perpetrated in the name of "God and a united Pakistan".

The massacres in Dacca were only part of the story however. The Pakistan army had begun a campaign of genocide that extended to all major cities and towns in Bangladesh and then moved out into the countryside to terrorize, murder and rape Bengali villagers. With foreign reporters expelled and a complete news censorship in place, the Pakistan army declared that the situation in East Pakistan was "normal".

However as Bengali refugees fled to neighboring India they brought with them stories of horror. The refugee flow had reached millions and by December 1971 about 10 million Bengalis had fled East Pakistan.

In April 1971 the Pakistan army flew in 8 Pakistani reporters from West Pakistan for guided tours with the military. Their mission was to tell the story of normalcy. The reporters went back to West Pakistan after their military guided tours and dutifully filed stories declaring all was normal in East Pakistan. However, one of the 8 reporters had a crisis of conscience. This reporter was Anthony Mascarenhas, the assistant editor of the West Pakistani newspaper Morning News.

On May 18, 1971 Mascarenhas flew to London and walked into the offices of the Sunday Times offering to write the true story of what he had witnessed in East Pakistan. After getting agreement from the Sunday Times he went back to Pakistan to retrieve his family. On June 13, 1971 with Mascarenhas and his family safely out of Pakistan the Sunday Times published a front page and center page story entitled "Genocide". It was the first detailed eyewitness account of the genocide published in a western newspaper.

In June of 1971, under pressure and in need of economic assistance, Pakistan allowed a World Bank team to visit East Pakistan. The World Bank team reported back that East Pakistan lay in ruins. One member of the team reported that the East Pakistani town of Kushtia looked "like a World War II German town having undergone strategic bombing attacks" as a result of the Pakistani army’s "punitive action" on the town. He also reported that the army "terrorizes the population, particularly aiming at the Hindus and suspected members of the Awami League". The Word Bank president, Robert McNamara, suppressed the public release of the report. To no avail. The report was leaked to the New York Times.

Dispite the Pakistani military’s best efforts at hiding the truth about their genocide campaign against Bengalis, reports filtered out of East Pakistan to the outside world thanks in part to the efforts of determined foreign news reporters. Following are foreign newspaper reports from the beginning of the genocide in March 1971 to its end. They chronicle the bloody birth of Bangladesh.

March 1971
3/27/1971 Daily Telegraph Civil war flares in E. Pakistan
3/27/1971 Daily Telegraph  EDITORIAL: Pakistan’s civil war
3/27/1971 Daily Telegraph Jinnah’s dream of unity dissolves in blood
3/27/1971 The Age (Australia) Dacca breaks with Pakistan
3/28/1971 Sunday Telegraph Army take over after night of shelling
3/28/1971 Sunday Telegraph EDITORIAL: The victims
3/28/1971 Sunday Telegraph Pakistani bombers ‘hit rebel town’
3/28/1971 New York Times Army expels 35 foreign newsmen from Pakistan
3/28/1971 New York Times Artillary used
3/28/1971 New York Times Toll called high
3/29/1971 Daily Telegraph Army in complete control
3/29/1971 Daily Telegraph Casualties likely to be heavy
3/29/1971 Daily Telegraph East wing sealed off
3/29/1971 Daily Telegraph EDITORIAL: Divide or rule
3/29/1971 Daily Telegraph No mercy in Pakistan fighting
3/29/1971 New York Times Sticks and spears against tanks
3/29/1971 The Age (Australia) EDITORIAL: Pakistan tragedy
3/29/1971 The Age (Australia) Pakistanis rally to Sheik’s call
3/29/1971 The Age (Australia) War comes at last to a divided nation
3/29/1971 The Age (Australia) When tanks took over the talking
3/29/1971 The Sydney Morning Herald EDITORIAL: Plunge into chaos
3/30/1971 Daily Telegraph Tanks crush revolt in Pakistan
3/30/1971 Daily Telegraph Reporter slips net
3/30/1971 New York Times Heavy killing reported
3/31/1971 The Guardian Heavy fighting and burning in Chittagong
3/31/1971 New York Times EDITORIAL: In the name of Pakistan
April 1971
4/3/1971 New York Times A resistance fighter tells his story
4/4/1971 New York Times Britons tell of killings
4/4/1971 New York Times EDITORIAL: ‘All part of a game’ – a grim and deadly one
4/4/1971 Sunday Telegraph Starvation threat to E. Pakistan
4/7/1971 New York Times EDITORIAL: Bloodbath in Bengal
4/9/1971 New York Times Families flee town
4/13/1971 The Guardian PICTURE: Refugees flee Kushtia
4/14/1971 The Guardian EDITORIAL: Rhetoric and reality
4/14/1971 New York Times Bengalis form a cabinet as the bloodshed goes on
4/17/1971 New York Times Hours of terror for a trapped Bengali officer
4/18/1971 New York Times In this case, war is hell for one side only
4/25/1971 New York Times Refugees worry Indian officials
May 1971
5/2/1971 New York Times The political tidal wave that struck East Pakistan
5/6/1971 New York Times Foreign news reports criticized
5/7/1971 New York Times Pakistani general disputes reports of casualties
5/9/1971 New York Times Bengalis depict how a priest died
5/10/1971 New York Times All serious opposition seems ended in East Pakistan
5/12/1971 New York Times EDITORIAL: The vultures of Bengal
5/13/1971 New York Times Army men in Pakistan see heresy in Western style education there
5/14/1971 The Baltimore Sun EDITORIAL: Pakistan story
5/16/1971 New York Times That shadow in the sky is a vulture – a fat one
5/25/1971 New York Times Pakistani strife said to continue
5/27/1971 The Guardian LETTER: East Bengal atrocities
June 1971
6/9/1971 New York Times Disease, hunger and death stalk refugees along India’s border
6/13/1971 The Sunday Times EDITORIAL: Stop the killing
6/13/1971 The Sunday Times Genocide (Front Page story)
6/13/1971 The Sunday Times Genocide (Center Page story)
6/13/1971 New York Times Pakistani charges massacre by army
6/20/1971 New York Times The only way to describe it is hell
6/21/1971 New York Times East Pakistan is reopened to newsmen
6/23/1971 New York Times EDITORIAL: Abetting repression
6/25/1971 Hong Kong Standard EDITORIAL: Another Genghis
July 1971
7/1/1971 New York Times Correspondent of the Times ousted from East Pakistan
7/4/1971 New York Times An alien army imposes its will
7/4/1971 New York Times Hindus are targets of army terror in an East Pakistani town
7/13/1971 New York Times World Bank unit says Pakistan aid is pointless now
7/13/1971 New York Times Excerpts from World Bank group’s report on East Pakistan
7/14/1971 New York Times EDITORIAL: Pakistan condemned
7/14/1971 New York Times West Pakistan pursues subjugation of Bengalis
7/17/1971 New York Times A Pakistani terms Bengalis ‘chicken hearted’
7/23/1971 Wall Street Journal A Nation Divided
August 1971
8/1/1971 New York Times Why they fled
8/1/1971 St. Louis Post-Dispatch EDITORIAL: Obligations in Pakistan
8/5/1971 New York Times 14 Pakistani aides quit missions in US
8/5/1971 New York Times The ravaged people of East Pakistan
8/12/1971 Daily Telegraph PICTURE: Senator Kennedy visits refugee camp
8/17/1971 Daily Telegraph Halt US aid for Yahya, says shaken Kennedy
8/17/1971 New York Times Kennedy in India terms Pakistani drive genocide
8/17/1971 Washington Post Kennedy charges genocide in Pakistan
September 1971
9/23/1971 New York Times Bengali refugees say soldiers continue to kill, loot and burn
October 1971
10/14/1971 New York Times Horrors of East Pakistan turning hope into despair
10/17/1971 New York Times The grim fight for Bangla Desh
10/24/1971 New York Times Pakistan offers seized TV films
November 1971
11/17/1971 New York Times East Pakistan town after raid by army
11/21/1971 New York Times Razakars: Pakistani group helps both sides
December 1971
12/4/1971 New York Times Mrs. Gandhi’s statement
12/6/1971 New York Times The wringing of hands
12/7/1971 New York Times Dacca listens and waits
12/9/1971 New York Times Bengalis dance and shout at liberation of Jessore
12/9/1971 New York Times Pakistan’s holy war
12/10/1971 New York Times India reports foe in rout in East as encirclement of Dacca gains
12/12/1971 New York Times The crucial fact is that Pakistanis are hated
12/15/1971 New York Times Forces closing in
12/15/1971 Washington Post Witness called E. Pakistan terror beyond description
12/16/1971 New York Times Bhutto denounces council and walks out in tears
12/16/1971 New York Times Text of message from General Manekshaw to General Niazi
12/16/1971 New York Times Bombing is halted
12/16/1971 The Times of London Pakistani General, near to tears, signs at racecourse ceremony
12/16/1971 The Times of London Parliament’s joyful ovation for Mrs. Gandhi
12/17/1971 New York Times 2 men at a table; march to Dacca
12/17/1971 New York Times In Dacca killings amid the revelry
12/17/1971 New York Times Statements by Mrs. Gandhi on truce and surrender
12/17/1971 New York Times The surrender document
12/19/1971 New York Times 125 slain in Dacca area believed elite of Bengal
12/20/1971 New York Times Not to be forgotten
12/21/1971 New York Times A village ablaze, a blown bridge
12/22/1971 New York Times Who knows how many millions have been killed
12/29/1971 New York Times Guerrillas seek lost relatives
12/29/1971 New York Times Hindu refugees return, find ruins in East Pakistan
12/30/1971 New York Times A day of terror for 50,000 Bengalis
January 1972
1/3/1972 New York Times A journalist is linked to murder of Bengalis
1/6/1972 New York Times Texts of secret documents on top level US discussions of Indian-Pakistani war
1/9/1972 Daily Telegraph Sheikh Mujib flies in and sees Heath
1/9/1972 New York Times Backstage with the crisis managers
1/10/1972 Daily Telegraph Yahya Khan accused of sex orgies
1/10/1972 Washington Post The killings at Hariharpara
1/11/1972 New York Times Sheik Mujib home
1/14/1972 New York Times Text of memo on Indian-Pakistan war
1/16/1972 New York Times Hindu refugees back in Dacca find themselves without homes
1/18/1972 New York Times Bengali wives raped in war are said to face ostracism
1/23/1972 New York Times ‘I’m alive!’ is still big news
1/24/1972 New York Times Bengalis land a vast cemetery
1/30/1972 Washington Post Bengalis bodies found
February 1972
2/5/1972 New York Times US sent arms to Pakistan despite pledge to Congress
March 1972
3/5/1972 New York Times Killing of babies feared in Bengal
3/18/1972 New York Times India opens way for Dacca trials
3/22/1972 Washington Post UN asked to aid Bengali abortions
May 1972
5/12/1972 New York Times Dacca raising the status of women while aiding rape victims
July 1972
7/23/1972 New York Times The rapes of Bangladesh
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15 Responses to Bangladesh Genocide Archives – Foreign Newspaper Reports

  1. MMR Jalal says:

    I cannot stop my TEARS. Many many thanks.
    MMR Jalal
    “ Pheeray Dekhun Ekattor Ghuray Darak Bangladesh”

  2. khanna says:

    its good initiative.


  3. Pingback: Global Voices Online » Bangladesh: Genocide and Media

  4. DhakaShohor says:

    My friend, while you are single-handedly undertaking this noble task of documentation, our local government is neglecting our own history in our own capital. With the real sites gone, ignorance, forgetfulness and denial will become that much easier.

  5. Mash says:

    DhakaShohor, that article is very sad indeed.

    I got an email the other day from someone who lamented that a number of young people in Dhaka this person spoke to said that Razakars did not exist. Apparently they claim that Razakars were made up by the Awami League for political reasons.

    In this kind of an environment, I can see why the Jamaat-e-Islami leaders (that is, war criminals and anti-liberation forces) can now make the absurd claim that there are no war criminals or anti-liberation forces in Bangladesh.

    Its a truly sad state of affairs. All I and others can do is make the history available for all to read and see. Successive military coups in Bangladesh have simply destroyed the history – in many cases literally ripping pages out of history books. How sad.

    • Ruhani Rabin says:

      It’s so sad to see how young peoples lack of knowledge and ignorance about history.. God knows when we will see these war criminals pay their debts..

      Please keep up the good writing.. cz this might be the only place left where the next generations will seek the victory.

    • Ruhani Rabin says:

      ah.. sorry for the typo .. the last word meant to be “History” on my previous comment

  6. jenny says:

    I want answers from those pakistani soldiers, I want someone to find those cowards who are having a great life in pakistan with their families!!! I want to see them punished for the crimes they have committed to the innocent girls of Bangladesh!!!

  7. thanks a lot for such collection. It will help writers and researchers.

  8. Sarah says:

    The July 1972 article was incredible. I’m so moved by all of this. Thank you so much for making this accessible to my generation.


  9. Jerome says:

    Your effort in recording the history of Bangladesh is not only praiseworthy but also a necessity for the next generations. A nation without the true history is like a house built on sand without the foundation. The foreign newspaper and magazine reports on the 1971 events in East Pakistan are an invaluable sources for writing the true history of Bangladesh.

    Please keep up the good work.

  10. borhan says:

    its an enormous effort, no doubt. thanks for such an informative site. specially the newspaper clips, archived here; are an excellent collection.

    thanks again.

    i heard that there were some telegrams sent from the then east pakistan US embassy to USA during 71 which covered day to day informations as well as many other relevant information. does this site have any link to those or can anyone give me any link to those documents.

    thank you.

  11. my greater gratitude to u….for what u have written on our country.

  12. Vrishketan Sethi says:

    I am an Indian deeply interested in Indian Military History and i am also a self-confessed Banglaphile.
    You have done great service to the Memory of the Liberation War 1971 by collecting such rare(and i might add expensively procured)archives .It would have been wonderful if you could have also given links to some videos(news clips, interviews, commentaries) in relation with the War.
    Nonetheless, A very well done job

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