From both sides of the border in the current Indo-Pakistan crisis comes this complication of the way in which the civilian population is reacting to the fighting.
From both sides of the border in the current Indo-Pakistan crisis comes this complication of the way in which the civilian population is reacting to the fighting. Visnews cameramen have been filming the situation in the two major centres of population this week -- Calcutta and the East Pakistan capital of Dacca.
For weeks before the border fighting, Dacca had been hit by a series of sabotage explosions. Cameramen Sepp Riff found that Government Film Department was among the building damaged when he filmed there on Thursday (November 25th)-- a couple of days after a state of emergency had been declared.
Across the border in Calcutta, cameraman Durgdas Chatterji was also filming on Thursday. Subject for his camera was the build-up in civil defence operations in the city, with convoys of lorries and ambulances being loaded with equipment.
On the border a couple of days earlier, Prom Prakash filmed the final stages or the civilian evacuation from the Indian town of Sonamura. Local people have moved out -- or sent their women and children to safety -- fearing their town might become a future border battleground.
SYNOPSIS: This was Dacca, capital of East Pakistan on Thursday -- as local people reacted to the state of emergency proclaimed a couple of days earlier and news of the latest fighting along the border with India. But the citizens of Decca have been living with violence as a daily occurrence in recent months. Damaged buildings witness the sabotage campaign which led to the city being put under curfew. The Government Film Department was among the buildings blown up. Banks, a school, industry and power have also been targets for sabotage attacks.
But unlike the crisis six years ago, when the population of Dacca mounted its own "Crush India" campaign, there is little response to the emergency. The few trenches are dug on government orders.
Across the Indian border, in Calcutta, there's been a much more vigorous response to the latest clashes. Large quantities of civil defence and first aid equipment were being shipped out of the city to a s???y centre some miles to the north. The idea was to stockpile the supplies in a safe place in case the city should come under attack during future fighting. At the time this convoy was pulling out, however, the news from the border was all one way -- Indian and Bangla Desh thrusts into East Pakistan, which the Pakistanis claimed to be containing.
Near the border, closed shops in the Indian town of Sonamura indicate the large-scale civilian evacuation as the fighting escalated earlier in the week. Some shops were protected with sand-bags to prevent shell damage. The border is only four miles away -- and across it is the Pakistan town of Comilla, scene of some of the heaviest fighting, where at least a hundred people are reported to have died during Indian shelling. Local people evacuating Sonamura feared that the fighting might swing the other way.