New York Times

May 22 1971


Bengali Refugees in Squalor in India

By Sydney H. Schanberg

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NEW DELHI, May 21— India's 1,350‐mile border with East Pakistan is beginning to resemble a continuous and severely depressing gypsy camp.

Vast waves of frightened and dazed Bengali refugees —India says the number has exceeded three million—have fled across the border to escape the Pakistani Army. Tens of thousands more are estimated to be pouring into India every day as the army continues its offensive, begun on March 25, to crush the Bengali independence movement in East Pakistan.

Half the refugees are being housed by India in badly overcrowded camps, most of them hastily set up in schools and hostels shut down for the purpose. Others are staying with friends and relatives.

A large number, waiting for new camps to be opened, are simply massed along the roadside—living in makeshift thatch lean‐tos or in the open, unprotected from the monsoon rains, which have already begun.

Some have taken shelter in the large concrete sewer pipes that lie at the roadside awaiting installation. Along some roads Bengalis who were well‐to‐do are begging.


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