IT IS, indeed, a shocking piece of news that the Indian authorities concerned have destroyed, and that too deliberately, ‘most of the official records’ as regards the
Bangladesh war in 1971, which was fought with the assistance from against Pakistani military occupation of our country. According to a Times of India report published on Sunday, which was printed in many newspapers in Bangladesh the next day, the war-related documents, particularly including ‘those on the creation of Mukti Bahini (liberation force)’ and its sensitive ‘operational details’ were destroyed ‘immediately after the 1971 war’. India
Bangladesh war physically involved at least three countries – Bangladesh, Pakistan and ; naturally, each country had different objectives and, therefore, different perspectives to look at the war. For the people of India , liberating the country from Pakistani occupation forces was a life and death issue involving political aspiration for creating a nation state of their own. For Bangladesh India, it was more of a geopolitical strategic issue vis-à-vis Pakistan of the day, and its primary objective behind supporting the cause of Bangladesh was to weaken by dividing it. For Pakistan Pakistan, particularly its ruling coterie, it was the matter of retaining control over Bangladesh, or preventing secession of in other words, and continuing political and economic exploitation of the Bengalis. Understandably, the needs of Bangladesh Bangladesh and India for fighting against coincided, although the objectives for the fight were distinctly different. Pakistan
Under this circumstance,
India provided multidimensional assistance to the Bangladeshis – ranging from providing guerrilla training to our freedom fighters to organising international opinions against the military oppression of Pakistan, besides providing shelter and food to thousands of Bengali refugees in the bordering states of India – in liberating . While doing so, Bangladesh India obviously tried, and to a large extent succeeded in their attempts, to politically control the course of ’s freedom struggles. However, at one stage of the war between Bangladeshi freedom fighters and Pakistani occupation army, Bangladesh officially joined the war and the Pakistani forces got defeated on India December 16, 1971. emerged as an independent country. Bangladesh
During the nine months of the struggle, since the beginning of Pakistani military’s crackdown on the unarmed Bangladeshis in March to the surrender of the Pakistani army in
Dhaka in December, innumerable political, diplomatic and military happenings have taken places in this Bangladesh-India-Pakistan subcontinent, and historians and researchers are still busy discovering as well as analysing them from different perspectives. As regards forming different kinds of guerrilla forces and planning military operations, it is only obvious that the erstwhile Eastern Command of the Indian Army, which was in-charge of the war from the Indian side, has a lot of historically important documents at its disposal. The documents, needless to say, would have someday provided important angels to the historians to analyse the enormously important time and events leading to the independence of . But the destruction of those documents would stand in the way of getting a complete picture of those events. Bangladesh
Over the past decades, the Bangladesh-India relations have undergone difficult phases, thanks particularly to the latter’s hegemonistic attitude towards the former. The result is obvious: a lot of mistrust between the two countries. The revelation that the Indian authorities have ‘deliberately’ destroyed documents related to the formation of Mukti Bahini would further contribute to the deepening of the mistrust, as the destruction suggests that the Indian authorities had things to hide from the peoples concerned, particularly the people of Bangladesh.