Bangladesh's largest refugee group -- the Biharis -- are planning a long march to Pakistan -- the country they regard as their homeland.
GV Market place inside Bihari camp at Mohammadpur in bangladesh
CU Elderly blind woman walking in camp, led by child
CU Man and woman carrying crippled blind woman
SV & CU Crippled man hobbling
CU Elderly man sitting in front of hut
CU Mother holding small baby (2 SHOTS)
SV AND PAN Along open latrine
CU Children walking through mud
CU Man washing face from cup of water
SV Bihari women sorting strands of string
CU Woman sewing surrounded by children
SV Bihari families sitting outside their huts
GV Procession of Biharis walking along road chanting (6 SHOTS)
Soon after the 1971 war, Pakistan did agree to accept some of the Bihari refugees. About a hundred thousand travelled to Islamabad -- most of them wealthy or educated Biharis, or those with technical skills. Since then, small groups o about fifteen hundred were occasionally accepted. But Pakistan is worried that a large influx could cause grave social problems.
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Background: Bangladesh's largest refugee group -- the Biharis -- are planning a long march to Pakistan -- the country they regard as their homeland. There are more than a quarter of a million Biharis -- or non-Bengali Moslems -- in Bangladesh. They have been demanding repatriation to Pakistan after being left behind in Bangladesh when it broke away from Pakistan, following the 1971 war between India and Pakistan.
SYNOPSIS: More than two hundred thousand impoverished Biharis live in refugees camps, such as this one in Mohammadpur. Originally, they came from the north east Indian state of Bihar. When India was partitioned in 1947, bitter feuding broke out between the majority Hindus and the Muslim minority in Bihar state. The Biharis fled to newly-created East Pakistan -- later to become Bangladesh.
But the Biharis never fully integrated with the Bengalis in Bangladesh. Although both are Muslim the Biharis say they are different culturally and ethnically. During the Bangladesh war of independence from West Pakistan in 1971, most of the Biharis backed the Pakistani occupation forces. When Bangladesh was finally liberated, the Biharis suffered savage reprisals and killings. It was then that the government of Bangladesh put the Biharis into refugee camps. If they hadn't -- the government claimed -- the Biharis would have been slaughtered.
Since 1971, the Biharis have stepped up their demands to return to Pakistan. These protestors claim they have been harassed by police -- and they say they will march the one thousand five hundred miles ( about 2,500 kilometres) to Pakistan if the international community doesn't come to their aid. Government officials in the capital, Dacca, are reluctant to grant permission for the march, as they say it could lead to an international incident.