Blood Island: An Oral History of the Marichjhanpi Massacre
- Author: Deep Halder
- Publisher: HarperCollins
- ISBN: 9789353025878
When the house of history is on fire, journalists are often the first-responders, pulling victims away from the flames. Deep Halder is one of them. Amitava Kumar In 1978, around 1.5 lakh Hindu refugees from Bangladesh settled in Marichjhapi, an island in the Sundarbans, to start their lives anew. However, by May 1979, the island was cleared by Jyoti Basu s Left Front government in West Bengal. An economic blockade was imposed and there were many deaths resulting from the diseases and malnutrition that followed, as well as from violence unleashed by the police on government orders. Survivors of the massacre say that the number of those who lost their lives in Marichjhapi could be as high as 10,000, while the government officials of the time maintain that there were less than ten victims. How does an entire island population disappear? How does one unearth the truth behind one of the worst atrocities carried out in post-Independence India? Journalist Deep Halder reconstructs the buried history of the 1979 massacre through his interviews with survivors, erstwhile reporters, government officials and activists with a rare combination of courage, conscientiousness and empathy.