In a sudden spurt of further flight from East Pakistan, over 50,000 more refugees have crossed over the border into India.
In a sudden spurt of further flight from East Pakistan, over 50,000 more refugees have crossed over the border into India. Some officials have put the number as high as 100,000. A large number of them come from the Faridpur district of East Pakistan -- and many claim that they are fleeing from the Pakistan Army and from atrocities.
Besides having to contend with the monsoon rains, the refugees are facing an extortion racket from illegal money changers. They operate blatantly within a few hundred yards of the customs posts -- the refugees sometimes lose as much as 80 per cent on the change.
This film, from VISNEWS cameraman Prem Prakash, shows the flood of refugees moving across the are and the money-changing operation in progress.
SYNOPSIS: Through the monsoon rains, a new tide of refugees is flowing from Faridpur region of East Pakistan into India. This current exodus totalled an estimated fifty-thousand refugees prior to the weekend. The area they cross to is about ninety-miles north-east of Calcutta. Some are Moslems, but the majority are Hindus. Behind them, the Pakistan army. There have been stories of atrocities. But for the moment these go unverified more material for the propaganda war between India and Pakistan. Pakistan newspapers have retaliated by printing stories of atrocities against the refugees in India. So what lies ahead for these refugees?
For many, it's a taste of extortion. At the border town of Bagda, illegal money-changers have been doing a brisk business, ever ready to capitalise on the miseries of others. The refugees get about twenty per cent of the face value of their Pakistan rupees. The money-changers were operating scarcely a stone's throw from the nearest customs post.
Having lost most of their money, the refugees set out for the interior and an uncertain future. The outbreak of cholera and gastro-enteritis continues. By the end of the week, more than twenty-five thousand cases had been recorded among the refugees in India. The number of deaths topped thirty-six hundred.