fifty years ago DECEMBER 29, 1971 Archives

From the Archives (December 29, 1971): Return of the Refugees(From an Editorial)

Bangla Desh’s Minister for Relief and Rehabilitation, Mr. Quamruzzaman, has worked out a time-table for the return of the refugees from India, starting from the first day of the New Year and continuing up to the end of February. The exiles have been housed in 827 camps in seven States of India, extending as far as Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. But the bulk of the refugees are in West Bengal, with half of the total in the five districts of Malda, West Dinajpur, Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri and Cooch Bihar. There are also large numbers in Tripura, Meghalaya and Assam. It is interesting to observe that of the 9½ million people who fled to India, nearly three million have been living for the past nine months with relatives and friends, an indication of the close links between the two Bengals. Nor should we forget that West Bengal took in a large number of refugees during the 1965 war and even before that, there was a major influx in the fifties. Most of the people who came into India during the recent civil war have expressed a desire to go back; there are, however, a number of young people, small children and old folk who have lost their relatives, the wage earners for their families.

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