fifty years ago AUGUST 12, 1971 Archives

From the Archives (August 12, 1971): India’s urgent message to Thant to save Mujib’s life

India has sent an urgent message to the United Nations Secretary General, U Thant, to use his influence on Pakistan and save the life of the Awami League leader, Sheikh Mujibur Rehman, now faced with a military trial. This was stated in the Rajya Sabha to-day [New Delhi, August 11] by the External Affairs Minister, Mr. Swaran Singh, while replying to a question from Mr. Man Singh Verma. The Minister said he had sent the message to Mr. Thant yesterday. Asked whether this issue was discussed with the Soviet Foreign Minister, Mr. Gromyko, Mr. Swaran Singh said Mr. Gromyko was strongly in favour of persuading Pakistan not to go ahead with this “type of sham trial.” He also told the House that the Government was greatly concerned at the threat held out by Pakistani President Yahya Khan about Sheikh Mujibur Rehman, “We have taken up the matter in the important world capitals. We have urged other Governments to use their influence and prevent such a tragedy (the Sheikh’s death from taking place),” the Minister said. Asked by Mr. A.D. Mani whether the Government would take initiative in having a commission of international jurists appointed to inquire into the war crimes committed by the military rulers of Pakistan in Bangla Desh, the Minister said it was a suggestion for action. However, in his opinion, it would be more effective if the initiative was taken by the Indian member of the International Commission of Jurists.

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