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From the Archives (June 15, 1970): Flight from East Pakistan

The Home Secretary of West Bengal, Mr. B. R. Gupta, told newsmen the other day that 3,000 refugees were arriving every day from Pakistan and that since January a total of 70,000 persons had crossed over. The Chief Minister of Assam, Mr. Chaliha, has said that a total of 4,360 refugees entered his State during the first quarter of 1970 and that others had come through Tripura. While some of the migrants into Assam are Muslims, the vast majority of the refugees are Hindus. Mr. Chaliha thinks that the new flight of Hindu refugees from Pakistan had probably been set in motion by the election campaign in Pakistan. The Hindu minority in East Pakistan has obviously been alarmed by the rise of Islamic fervour in the election campaign. The most important political parties in East Bengal, the Awami League led by Sheikh Mujubir Kehman and the National Awami Party led by Maulana Bhashani, have taken a stand on regional autonomy and socialism. They include in their ranks a large number of Hindus. They have thus become a target for the Jamaat-i-Islami, which is accusing them of preaching secession and conspiring with elements in West Bengal.

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