By Naseer Ansari
This is in response to the article — The Hindu genocide that the Hindus and the world forgot — by Vivek Gumaste published in India Tribune issue dated April 10, about the atrocities committed by Pakistan soldiers preceding the Bangladesh war.
While the plea by the writer to “bring to book” those responsible for the atrocities is laudable, I see many obstacles. First, there was a treaty between India and Pakistan following the war, which required that India withdraw the charges against the 200 Pakistan officers and others implicated for the crime and apprehended by India (extract from Wiking Encyclopaedia). Second, any such action as demanded by the writer will require full cooperation of the governments involved, which is unlikely for obvious reasons.
Besides, the figure of 2.4 million Hindus killed as quoted by Gumaste during the atrocities, which lasted about nine months seems grossly exaggerated. Such a vast number to be killed in the relatively short period would have required much greater planning and sophisticated mechanism which Pakistan lacked. At best this figure is an assumption because the writer fails to provide an authentic, reliable and neutral source.
The Bangladesh government has given the same number for the total killed, both Hindus and Muslims, but the Pakistan government puts it at 26,000. I doubt if any of these extremes can be true. More reliable figures for the total killed (in millions), being from neutral sources are as follows: Baltimore Sun 0.2, Washington Daily News 0.2, World Bank 0.2, New York Times 0.2 to 0.25, Wall Street Journal 0.25 to 1.0, Christian Science Monitor 0.2 to 1.0, and Time 0.2 to 1.0. Nevertheless, I concur with Gumaste that such crimes must not be condoned. To me, even one, who indulges in killing, is a murder and the guilty must be punished. One aspect of civilization is that we must live by the rule of law.
A very objectionable part of the article is an accompanying and a very conspicuous colored drawing, which shows people with beards and skull caps, clearly meant to be Muslims, torturing or killing people dressed in saffron, clearly meant to be Hindus. As there is no caption or explanation of the drawing confining it to an incident in history, it will naturally mean to the viewer that this generally happens which cannot be farther away from the truth. It may also result in arousing the passions of hatred among Hindus and others who are ignorant of the facts, against Muslims.