The desperate problems accompanying India's massive influx of East Pakistan refugees are graphically illustrated in the plight of one town.
GV EXT. PAN People outside courthouse
STV People receive ration cards(2 shots)
SV TILT UP TO GV Women queueing
GV Men waiting
GV Lorry load of people arriving
GV PAN Street scene PAN refugees camped on steps & roadside (3 shots)
SV Man holding handkerchief over nose
SCU PAN Bodies of 2 men and a child covered
GV PAN Refugee camp on open ground
SVs Refugees outside tents cooking & sitting (4 shots)
SV & MV More refugees arriving (2 shots)
MVs Men carrying branches for roofing PAN to policemen on road (3 shots)
GV Refugees camp outside courthouse
CU & SV Sick man given assistance (2 shots)
SV Women & children on ground
Initials SGM/0115 SGM/0149
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: The desperate problems accompanying India's massive influx of East Pakistan refugees are graphically illustrated in the plight of one town. Barasat, a Calcutta dormitory town fifteen miles north-east of the city, typifies the proportions which the crisis has reached.
Barasat's normal population is 80,000. This figure, however, has multiplied over a 48 hour period as a quarter million exhausted, starving and diseased Bangladesh refugees streamed into this West Bengal town.
Knowing they would be unwelcome in Calcutta which was already overcrowded and unwilling to cope with any extra burdens of the hungry and homeless, these refugees from the Jessore area of East Pakistan stopped their trek at Barasat. Nearly 250,000 of them moved in, and took over the town.
Visnews staffer Durgas Chatterji shot this film to show what happens when a town like Barasat is suddenly caught up in a refugee crisis. Although, as West Bengalis, the people of Barasat have a degree of sympathy for their fellow Bengalis from East Pakistan, they are also now naturally resentful towards this mass of people which has swamped their city.
This story of Barasat could well be the story at any other border city in West Bengal during this crisis.