Government troops operating in East Pakistan have attempted to halt the flow of refugees into India, according to reports from Calcutta.
Government troops operating in East Pakistan have attempted to halt the flow of refugees into India, according to reports from Calcutta. Indian Prime Minister Mrs. Gandhi, meanwhile, has been visiting refugee camps in the Assam area. It is from these camps -- our film shows Mrs. Gandhi's visit -- that refugees are being evacuated by rail to remoter areas of central India. The rail-lift has already begun, although many refugees are reported reluctant to leave the camps. Indian authorities have explained that their present camps are overcrowded and dangerously insanitary.
SYNOPSIS: The situation in India - Pakistani refugees being evacuated from their present camps in the Assam area were visited last week by Indian Prime Minister Mrs. Indira Gandhi. The refugees, being taken by rail to the remoter central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, are being evacuated because he present camps along the border and in Calcutta are dangerously overcrowded.
The refugees greeted Mrs. Gandhi enthusiastically, although many were reported reluctant to leave the comparative safety of the present camps. But Indian authorities, having explained the situation to them, has reported no serious incidents in the evacuation so far.
By Sunday, about 15 thousand refugees had been evacuated in special trains. Some 3 thousand were waiting in the station at Hasanbad, about 70 miles (113 kilometres) northeast of Calcutta, while another 25 thousand were camped in tents, shacks and on the open ground around the station.
Meanwhile, Pakistan Government troops are reported to have sealed East Pakistan's border with India in an effort to halt the flood of refugees. A 13 thousand-a-day flow last week was suddenly cut to a trickle, and at one stage a column of 50 thousand refugees was prevented from crossing the border. So far, about five million refugees have found comparative safety in India -- despite cholera, dysentery, and necessarily meagre food rations.