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Blood Island: An Oral History of the Marichjhapi Massacre

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Did you hear of Marichjhapi ?  Did you know that 1.5 Lakh Hindus from erstwhile East Pakistan (now Bangladesh ) sought refuge there ?  More than 10,000 Hindus were estimated to have been killed due to atrocities by the communist regime here . There is very little literature available on Marichjhapi. This is the first major non-fiction book on the massacre.

How did an entire island population disappear? How does one unearth the truth and the details of one of the worst atrocities of post-Independent India?

In 1978, around 1.5 lakh Hindu refugees, mostly belonging to the so-called lower castes, settled in Marichjhapi — an island in the Sundarbans, in West Bengal. By May 1979, the island was cleared of all refugees by Jyoti Basu’s lead communist government. There were many deaths due to diseases, malnutrition resulting from an economic blockade, as well as from violence unleashed by the police on the orders of the government. Some of the refugees who survived Marichjhapi say the number of those who lost their lives could be as high as 10,000, while the-then government officials maintain that there were less than ten victims. How does an entire island population disappear? How does one unearth the truth and the details of one of the worst atrocities of post-Independent India?

 

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