Demographic aggression


S.K. Sinha

Sparks from Assam started dangerous fires in Mumbai and some other places last week. Mercifully, these did not last long. But they have the potential to start a gigantic fire engulfing the entire nation. This is a chilling reminder of the Partition holocaust, one of the greatest human tragedies in history.

Muhammed Ali Jinnah announced that his party would observe August 16, 1946, as Direct Action Day. He declared, “Today we bid good-bye to constitutional methods. Today we have forged a pistol and are in a position to use it. We mean every word of it.” Bengal was the only province in the country where the Muslim League was in power. Direct Action was launched in Calcutta. Suhrawardy, the Muslim League chief minister, released his goons, as per plan.

There was a massacre of non-Muslims on the first two days. It was surprising that the British governor did not exercise his special powers to dismiss the Muslim League ministry and impose Governor’s Rule. He remained a mute spectator. From the third day, non-Muslims, primarily Sikh taxi drivers and Bihari labourers, started retaliating in a big way and Muslims now suffered equally. Suhrawardy asked for help from the Army to restore order. He now turned on East Bengal, which had a hapless Hindu minority.

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