The first Western television team allowed into Dacca since the attempted breakaway of East Pakistan in April were VISNEWS staffmen William MacConville and John Streeter.
The first Western television team allowed into Dacca since the attempted breakaway of East Pakistan in April were VISNEWS staffmen William MacConville and John Streeter. They shot this film in Dacca on Thursday (June 24), 24 hours before other television crews were able to get into the city following the lifting of the ban of foreign journalists. It shows the aftermath of what appears to have been heavy fighting within the last few months, although they found no direct evidence to support the earlier reports of atrocities.
SYNOPSIS: Dacca, the capital of East Pakistan, appears to have returned to normal following three months of civil war. This film was shot on Thursday by a VISNEWS television crew -- the first Western TV team to get into Dacca since fighting began in March.
Evidence of heavy fighting, however, can still be seen. A wrecked market-place; some burned out cars....these do not directly support reports that atrocities took place when Pakistan Government troops tried to put down the breakaway Bangla Desh movement. They do, however, indicate the seriousness of the situation at the time. Even today, armed troops still patrol the streets.
Dacca University...several reports came in during the early days of civil war that a mass slaughter of students took place, with Pakistan Government troops doing the killing. These reports were never confirmed, and there is no evidence to show this today. But classrooms remain locked and bolted today, and wrecked furniture is still scattered around.
The ban on journalists was imposed in March, shortly after Government troops began cracking down on dissidents. Thirty-five foreign correspondents were ordered out of East Pakistan, and today there exists little film evidence of what took place in the following three months...three months of speculation, unconfirmed reports of mass slaughter, and accusations of genocide. Five million refugees streamed across the border into India in the biggest mass exodus in recent history. Many brought with them reports of murder, kidnapping, rape, arson, looting and destruction. Journalists, however, were not allowed in to see the situation. Today, it all seems to be over.....Dacca, certainly, is back to normal. Journalists are moving freely about East Pakistan. Those three months of darkness, however, still hold many secrets....