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Massacre of the Bengali Intellectuals... By Col.(r) Riaz

11 December, 2012

In the erstwhile East Pakistan, now Bangla Desh, late Major General Rao Farman Ali was the DMLA (CA) {Deputy Martial Law Administrator Civil Affairs} and I was his Principal Staff Officer (GSO-1) from 01 July 71 to 16 Dec 1971. In my such capacity, therefore, I was privy to his almost all actions and many another untold story of the Governor's House of those days.

However, nothing regarding his involvement of any kind in the elimination of the Bengali intellectuals in the last days of East Pakistan came to my knowledge or notice. I didn't see or know of any list of the intellectuals to be eliminated being prepared by Gen. Farman, alleged to have been recovered from his desk afterwards.

As a matter of fact, he should have asked me being his senior most aide to prepare/produce/assist him in preparing any such list, which he never did. All visitors going to him used to go through me. As such I invariably knew the purpose/intent/nature of the meeting and the subject matter that would be discussed in it. I didn't come across any such visitor or know of any such meeting taking place discussing 'intellectuals' and/or any action to taken against them. Were any other 'intellectuals' taken away or killed from any other city/town/university/institution than the Dacca University? Were there no 'intellectuals' at those places? If the purpose of eliminating the 'intellectuals' was to deprive the newly born state of BD of its 'brain' then why were not the 'intellectuals' of other cities/places also eliminated?

Mind you, Gen. Farman was the most powerful man after the Governor there in running the Civil Administration of the province. He was a very capable person also. Had a man of his intellect and caliber planned something like it, it would have been much more meticulous and all encompassing. He had the means and autho rity to plan and execute the operation in such a way that not a SINGLE Bengali intellectual would have survived!

Gen. Farman was a soft spoken kind hearted intellectual himself and expecting something so horrendous and drastic from him is beyond me. Had someone blamed the swash buckling Gen Amir Abdullah Khan Niazi (Tiger Niazi) for such an act, I would have probably conceded to that.

Lastly and sadly, if a few local academics of the Dacca university were killed that could have been purely an act of a few die hard pro Pakistan individual young men acting ENTIRELY on their own, who considered such intellectuals to be the root cause of creating and propagating the anti West Pakistani feelings culminating into an outright cession movement in the mind of the young emotional Bengali students and other dissidents.

As far as the extremely exaggerated stories of indiscriminate killings go, well --- we all know the power of the media and what havoc it can play with the TRUTH.

Col. Riaz Jafri (Retd)

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