Operation Searchlight

The genocide of Bangladesh began with Operation Searchlight. This was a planned military operation carried out by the Pakistan Army to curb the Bengali nationalist movement in the erstwhile East Pakistan in March 1971. The operation was launched all across East Pakistan to arrest maximum number of political and student leaders, cultural organizations and teaching staff, massacre the resistance, damage all communications and deceive the Awami League.

Members of Pakistani military and supporting Islamist militias from Jamaat-e-Islami killed went into a systematic campaign of genocidal rapes and murders. There were also ethnic violence between Bengalis and Urdu speaking Biharis. The militias like Razakars, Al-Shams and Al-Badr carried out this series of killings.

Operation Searchlight aimed to curb the Bengali nationalist movement by taking control of major cities in East Pakistan. Before the operation foreign journalists were deported from Bangladesh. The casualty figures of the genocide was about 3,000,000 for overall Bangladesh.