Atrocities Against Humanity

Atrocities against humanity during the liberation war in Bangladesh: a case of genocide

Wartadul Akmam


Human achievements during the twentieth century in terms of science and technology are indeed significant and laudable. Nevertheless, the past century was “the bloodiest century in human history” (Forsythe, 1997, p 114). Scholars consider the twentieth century as “an age of genocide” (Chalk and Jonassohn, 1990, p22). This article is concerned with the atrocities against humanity performed by the West Pakistani rulers and army during the war of secession in Bangladesh (former East Pakistan). Many intellectuals and journalists (e.g. Harff, 1984, p 3, Jahan, 1995, p 371; Mascarenhas, 1971, p 118; Mia, 1974, p 32) consider these atrocities as genocide. However, it cannot always be termed as genocide, if we strictly follow the definitions given by authoritative scholars in this field. The principal aim here is to show that the massacre in Bangladesh (1971) was genocide, considered in terms of two criteria—“victim group” and “intent.”

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