A Normative Study of the Ordeal of 1971 and the Same Being Faced by Europe

Surath Choudhury
School of Law, Christ University, Bangalore, India.

Volume II – Issue I, 2021

Refugees are the symbol as to how much wrong goes on in the planet. The refugees around the globe are a result of human greed, ego and the feeling of superiority. This paper is a normative study between the refugee crisis that prevailed in the Indian subcontinent during the 1971 East Pakistan Civil War and the refugee crisis that exists in Europe in relation to the Syrian refugee crisis. The paper analyses as to how India despite of its strained economy and limited resources took the effort of accepting refugees from East Pakistan in 1971 when they were being persecuted against by the Pakistani military. In doing so, the paper is divided into three sections.

Firstly, the paper looks into the technical facets of the refugee crisis that existed along the eastern and north eastern boundaries of the country and compares it with the refugee crisis that exists in Europe as a result of the Syrian Civil War. In doing so, the paper delves into the differences of the humanitarian aid provided to the Bengali refugees and the Syrian refugees in the contemporary period.

Secondly, the paper looks into the ground reality comparison between the two phases. It analyses as to how India effectuated the process of providing shelter to the East Pakistani refugees and how successful they were in its planning and execution despite the economic restraints that existed during that period. The paper also tries to highlight the resolve that India as a country took to help the persecuted Bengalis fleeing East Pakistan irrespective of their religion. In doing so, the paper tries to highlight the flaws that exist in the approach of the European countries and how a consensus is required to be reached to help the Syrian refugees much like the consensus that existed between the different Indian states.

Thirdly, the paper looks into the legal obligations that India faced during the acceptance of the refugees from East Pakistan and compares it with the existing legal mechanisms that are compelling the European countries to accept refugees from Syria and provide them with shelter and other human rights in the region. It needs to be mentioned that countries like the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Greece, Italy and even Turkey have been very active in providing the refugees with shelter and other basic amenities in their region.

Finally, the paper looks into the possible lessons that can be learned from the Indian experience which might be put forth and applied in the European context and at the same time, the paper looks into some of the policies of India during the 1971 crisis and how the world community can take a leaf out of it in order tackle refugee crisis across the globe and not just the Syrian refugee crisis in Europe.


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