Almost after Indira Gandhi’s swearing in as PM after 1971 elections, Bangladesh Crisis broke out. It was a direct challenge to the Two Nations Theory itself that people of one religion form one nation.
Political and economic elites of West Pakistan had dominated the scene and people of East Pakistan had no mechanism to air their grievances as Pakistan had been under military rule for significant period. They through a pavement vented their grievances and called for political democracy and greater autonomy for East Pakistan, but they were suppressed instead. Elections were held by General Yahya Khan in which Bengal’s Awami League won 99% seats of East Pakistan and overall majority.
But the army and Yahya Khan backed by Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto didn’t allow him to form government and when Rehman launched a protest movement, he was arrested. It also led to terror of army in form of innocent killings, arrests of intellectuals, rapes, illegal detentions etc in East Pakistan. A large section of East Pakistan police and paramilitary organizations revolted. Many leaders of Awami League escaped to Calcutta and formed there government in exile and organized ‘Mukti Bahini’ and launched fierce underground movement and guerilla warfare. Hindus and other minorities like Sikhs were special targets and more than 10 lakh refugees had taken refuge in India by that time at a great humanitarian cost to India and it left India with no choice, but to intervene. Pakistan in the meanwhile spread the propaganda that the insurgency had been instigated by India. But India rubbished this claim and supported the cause of people of Bengal.