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Partition of India 1947 : Military Evacuation Organisation for Refugees

Consequent to the decision of partition of the country in 1947 into India and Pakistan, the two bordering provinces of Punjab and Bengal were also divided according to majority areas of Muslim and non-Muslim population. The Radcliffe Award demarcated the boundaries where East Punjab with a non-Muslim majority and West Punjab with Muslim majority population went to India and Pakistan, respectively. Likewise the boundary of Bengal into East and West Bengal was demarcated.1 The partition, however, gave Muslims the option to stay in India or move out to Pakistan. Likewise Non- Muslims also could stay in the newly formed Islamic Pakistan or migrate to India. However, the violence following the partition led to the mass migration of minorities on either side of the border. Consequently, within a period of four months, over four million non-Muslims migrated from West to East, while a similar number of Muslims moved in opposite direction.2 Never before, in the history of the world had such a vast migration taken place. The law and order had broken down with collapse of civil administration on both sides of the border. The large scale killings and pillage necessitated army intervention. This Paper analyses the role of the Army in evacuation of refugees from West to East Punjab.

Dr Narender Yadav
Journal of the United Service Institution of India, Vol. CXLVIII, No. 611