Dhaka’s power system crippled
July 5, 1971
POWER IN DHAKA REPORTED CUT OFF
Bangladeshi freedom fighters knocked out the electrical power station in Dhaka. The city has been blacked out since July 3 night.
Several foreign newsmen were in East Pakistan, but no news of the attack came out of Dhaka. It was speculated that reports were being blocked by the authorities or that the cable office had been shut by the power failure.
Another major East Pakistani town, Comilla, had been without power for over a week, its power plant reportedly also knocked out by guerillas. Comilla, a key rail and road junction, had been a focus of increasing guerrilla activity against the Pakistani army.
Bangladeshi guerillas had vowed to step up activity as their response to Pakistan President Yahya Khan's speech to the nation on June 28 where he declared that martial law would continue even after a civilian government was established in East Pakistan.
The crippling of the Dhaka power plant was considered to be the most dramatic act ascribed to the guerillas since the Pakistani army seized control of the city in late March after killing several thousand civilians.
PAKISTAN CHARGES BRITAIN WITH INTERFERING IN AFFAIRS
The Government of Pakistan disclosed today that it had lodged a protest with Britain charging that a concerted anti-Pakistan campaign was under way in London.
The Pakistani radio said the protest was delivered on July 3 to the British High Commission in Islamabad.
Statements by Britons and groups of Bangalee sympathisers living in London were directed toward fragmenting Pakistan, the note said.
Pakistan particularly complained of a speech delivered on June 21 by the British Foreign Secretary, Sir Alec Douglas Home, who said aid to Pakistan should be withheld pending a political settlement for East Pakistan.
INDIRA GANDHI ASKS FOR END TO PRESSURE
Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi appealed today to other leaders of her Congress Party to stop pressuring her to recognise Bangladesh or to go to war with Pakistan over Bangladesh.
"It is not right for the government to be pushed into a position regarding the recognition of Bangladesh until it is convinced on its own," the prime minister told the 25-member executive committee of Congress Party members in the parliament.
For the second time in a week, Indira Gandhi also rejected a suggestion from some party members that India should go to war with Pakistan to help an estimated 7 million Bangladeshi refugees return home.
The prime minister also said she had no information that the Soviet Union had supplied arms to Pakistan following the outbreak of war in East Pakistan on March 25.
The right-wing Hindu nationalist Jana Sangh Party announced yesterday night that it would launch a mass civil disobedience campaign in New Delhi on August 1 if the government had not recognised Bangladesh by then.
KISSINGER ARRIVES IN INDIA
Henry Kissinger, US President Richard Nixon's security adviser, arrived in India today to discuss the "Bangladesh problem". He was greeted by assault on American policy which, according to Indian government opinion and informed public opinion, betrayed promises to New Delhi and violated basic moral principles by allowing military equipment to be shipped to Pakistan and leaving the door open to give it more economic aid despite the suppression of Bangladesh.
The Times of India said, "The sharp divergence now revealed between Indian and US viewpoints vis-a-vis the developments in East Bengal scarcely permits a meaningful dialogue."
Shamsuddoza Sajen is a journalist and researcher. He can be contacted at [email protected]