India's Prime Minister Mrs Indira Gandhi today (Monday 1 November) said the vast majority of Bengali refugees now in her country must return to Pakistan.
GV EXT. Savoy Hotel London
MV Demonstrators with placards - members of Pakistan Solidarity Front
MV INT. Mrs Gandhi interviewed
SEQ. 3: QUESTION:"What is your feeling about American policy regarding Bengal and India?
MRS GANDHI: Well, frankly I think they're taking rather a short-term view. And perhaps this is because the countries are far from the West. They tend to look at it from the point of view of the West. But we, who are living right there who can...who from day to day are in touch with the horror, with the very grim tragedy which has taken place, and which has is continuing to take place across the border resulting in this exodus of these millions of helpless people. As I was coming in here, I saw a gentleman with a placard opposite the door saying 'why are you preventing the refugees.' Now, I think that must be the joke of the year. Because, to think that we would prevent anybody going. We're trying desperately hard that these people must go back. They are over nine million people. Two and a half million or more are Moslems. The rest are Hindus, Christians and Buddhists. And we are absolutely determined that the vast majority of these of all religions must go back. We are not going to tolerate them on our soil".
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Background: India's Prime Minister Mrs Indira Gandhi today (Monday 1 November) said the vast majority of Bengali refugees now in her country must return to Pakistan.
Answering questions at a luncheon given by the Foreign Press Association, she stressed that India could not tolerate almost nine million refugees on her soil.
Mrs Gandhi, who is on a three-week tour of Western Europe and the United States, has spent four days in Britain. She has discussed Indo-Pakistan border clashes and prospects of resolving the East Pakistan crisis with British Prime Minister Edward Heath. Her official visit to Britain ends on Wednesday, when she leaves for Washington.