Indira Gandhi determined to send refugees back
June 17, 1971
'I AM JUST GOING TO SEND THEM BACK'
Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi today reiterated that she would send back Bangladesh refugees as soon as normalcy was restored.
"I am just going to send them back, I am determined to send them back," she told a meeting of economic editors. She further said there had been no difference in India's attitude towards Bangladesh. Right from the beginning, India had been demanding a political settlement.
"I am sure if all the world powers had put the requisite pressure it [settlement] could have been possible. I think the possibility now is more remote."
SHARP FALL IN VALUE OF PAKISTANI RUPEE
Islamabad's financial crisis was clearly reflected in the sharp fall in the value of the Pakistani rupee in the international market. The fall in the value of the Pakistani rupee was attributed to Islamabad's heavy drain on foreign exchange caused by its war in Bangladesh and the decline in the country's exchange earning through jute and tea exports.
AGA KHAN'S PRESS CONFERENCE
Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan, the UN High Commissioner for refugees, denied today to have said that conditions were satisfactory for the return of refugees to East Pakistan. Asked if the UN would guarantee the safe return of the refugees, Agan Khan said it was very difficult for the UN to give guarantee within borders of a sovereign independent state. "I can only try in a humanitarian way," he added.
Earlier, the UNHCR chief called on Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. The prime minister had explained to him the real situation in Bangladesh and the attitude of India. She had stressed the problem arising out of atrocities and butchery being perpetrated in Bangladesh which, she had stated, must be stopped to create conditions for the safe return of refugees.
SWEDEN STOPS AID TO PAKISTAN
Sweden finally decided to stop development aid to Pakistan including fertiliser projects for East Pakistan which were undertaken after Pakistan's general election in December, 1970. Apart from the economic sphere, Sweden's aid programme included family planning projects for East Pakistan. Sweden, like other Scandinavian countries, was concentrating now on the relief work for Bangladeshi war victims.
PAKISTAN ACCEPTS THANT'S MEDIATION
The stage was now set to end the deadlock over the repatriation of former deputy high commission personnel of Indian and Pakistan, respectively from Dhaka and Kolkata. This came in the wake of Pakistan's acceptance of the good offices of the UN Secretary General U Thant who some time ago had been approached by India after Pakistan had put the Indian personnel virtually under house arrest at Dhaka.
U Thant was acting through the Swiss ambassador to India. The arrangement in Kolkata would be like this: A Swiss emissary would meet the former personnel of the Pakistan deputy high commission individually in the presence of an Indian and a Pakistani representative. The main question the Swiss emissary would ask the consulate staff was if any of the persons who had switched allegiance to Bangladesh was being held without consent.
Shamsuddoza Sajen is a journalist and researcher. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org