Dramatic new film flown in to London today shows the city of Jessore caught up in the turmoil and bloodshed of bitter internal warfare.
SV & CV Bodies of women and children and old man.
SV & CV Salvage of belongings from burnt-out homes.
SVs East Pakistani Resistance force board truck.
TS East Pakistani Resistance troops on patrol.
CV Commanding-officer interviewed.
SV & CV West Pakistani businessmen led away.
SV Sector HQ sign (ZOOM IN TO CV)
SV PAN, guerrilla force leaves on truck.
CV Dying man, (ZOOM out to other dying and dead).
TRANSCRIPT: (HART) "These pictures were taken in Jessore yesterday morning. Sheik Mujib's supporters told me that thousands of the townspeople had been slaughtered by President Yahya Khan's troops. This claim seemed to be wildly exaggerated, but I saw evidence that at least 90 or 100 people had been killed.....some of them women and children. Some of the victims had obviously been shot at very close range. On Wednesday night, a number of houses in the approaches to Jessore were destroyed by a Pakistani Army patrol. In each case the houses were sprayed with machine-guns fire, and then set alight. Contrary to government claims, the town of Jessore is now in the control of the forces loyal to Sheik Mujib and his cause. Independence for East Bengal, which now calls itself the State of Bangladesh. These men the East Pakistan Rifles a para-military police force, are the spearhead of the new state's fighting forces. They are poorly armed, and yesterday afternoon most of them had only 25 rounds of ammunition for their rifles. With the support of thousands of peasants, armed mostly with only swords and sticks, these men have forced Yahya Khan's troops to retreat from the town and regroup in their garrison headquarters some four miles away. It is possible that, with their superior weapons, Yahya Khan's men could break out and recaptured the town. But to do it, they'd need to be prepared to kill thousands of East Bengalis. Yesterday I talked to the Commander of the Resistance Forces.
"Supposing Yahya brings in more soldiers, he could bring in a lot more soldiers with tanks and weapons, can you go on fighting without weapons?"
(COMMANDER) "We can go on because how many men can they be killing. There's about 75 million people, and how much can they kill?"
(HART) "What do you think the future will bring in Bangla Desh, in your new country, if the Punjabi troops stay here? Will you go on here fighting a guerrilla war?"
(COMMANDER) "We will go on fighting till the last man himself."
(HART) "It was in fact the mobs who yesterday afternoon went out and arrested West Pakistani businessmen who lived in the town. As I watched these captives being hustled through the streets, I wondered what their fate would be. The judgement was not to come from the official authorities. The mobs were their own judge and jury, and....their work done....they speed out of town, pointing as they went, to what they'd left behind. When I arrived on the scene the prisoners were either dead or close to death, severed by swords, knives, and clubs. Horrific though this scene is, it could will be repeated across East Pakistan if the fighting drags on. In this atmosphere of fear, and now tribal hatred, it's difficult to see how either side can afford to compromise....and the only alternative to compromise would seem to be a long drawn-out and bloody civil war."
Initials VS/1.44 VS/1.52
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Dramatic new film flown in to London today shows the city of Jessore caught up in the turmoil and bloodshed of bitter internal warfare. VISNEWS cameraman Mohamed Amin was working with BBC reporter Alan Hart when he filmed these remarkable scenes, on Thursday (1 April)
This film, which needs an on-camera introduction, includes an interview with the Commander of the Resistance Forces in Jessore, and an eye-witness account by Alan Hart. In view of the recent birth of film from the region, because of rigid censorship of press and television material, this is important first-hand evidence of the situation in East Pakistan. Some stations may wish to suggest to parents that the gruesome reprisal scenes of slaughter are perhaps not suitable for children to see.