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Sep 10, 2016

Calcutta Communal Riot or Great Calcutta Killings - August 1946

Direct Action Day (16 August 1946), also known as the Great Calcutta Killing, was a day of widespread riot and manslaughter in the city of Calcutta (now known as Kolkata) in the Bengal province of British India.

The region most affected by the violence was the densely populated sector of the city bounded by Park Circus and Lower Circular Road on the south, CIT Road on the east, Vivekananda Road on the north and Strand Road on the west. Official estimate put the casualties at 4,000 dead and 100,000 injured. Other sources put the death toll at 7,000–10,000. Some authors have claimed that most of the victims were Hindus. However, others indicate appreciably more Muslims were killed than Hindus.

Skirmishes between the communities continued for almost a week. Finally, on 21 August, the Muslim Laegue govt was dismissed and Bengal was put under Viceroy's rule. 5 battalions British troops, supported by 4 battalions Indians and Gurkhas, were deployed in the city. Lord Wavell alleged that more British troops ought to have been called in earlier, and there is no indication that more British troops were not available.The rioting reduced on 22 August. More on Wikipedia

Corpse of a man seen through a wheel of a cart on its way to be cremated after bloody rioting between Hindus and Muslims
Corpse of a man seen through a wheel of a cart on its way to be cremated after bloody rioting between Hindus and Muslims

Corpses lying among pieces of wood in preparation for cremation after bloody rioting
Corpses lying among pieces of wood in preparation for cremation after bloody rioting

Corpses lying among pieces of wood in preparation for cremation after bloody rioting
Corpses lying among pieces of wood in preparation for cremation after bloody rioting

Corpses lying in a cart on their way to be cremated after bloody rioting
Corpses lying in a cart on their way to be cremated after bloody rioting

Men adding wood & straw to funeral pyres in preparation for cremation of many corpses after bloody rioting
Men adding wood & straw to funeral pyres in preparation for cremation of many corpses after bloody rioting

Men unloading corpses from truck in preparation for cremation after bloody rioting
Men unloading corpses from truck in preparation for cremation after bloody rioting

Men unloading corpses from truck in preparation for cremation after bloody rioting
Men unloading corpses from truck in preparation for cremation after bloody rioting

Severed foot in a wooden box during cleanup of corpses after bloody rioting
Severed foot in a wooden box during cleanup of corpses after bloody rioting 

Vulture feeding on a corpse lying abandoned in a doorway after bloody rioting
Vulture feeding on a corpse lying abandoned in a doorway after bloody rioting 

Vultures feeding on corpses lying abandoned in alleyway after bloody rioting
Vultures feeding on corpses lying abandoned in alleyway after bloody rioting

Vultures feeding on corpses lying abandoned in alleyway after bloody roiting
Vultures feeding on corpses lying abandoned in alleyway after bloody roiting 

Vultures sitting on the roofs of a building while corpses lie below, abandoned in alleyway after bloody rioting
Vultures sitting on the roofs of a building while corpses lie below, abandoned in alleyway after bloody rioting

Vultures sitting on the roofs of a building while corpses lie below, abandoned in alleyway after bloody rioting
Vultures sitting on the roofs of a building while corpses lie below, abandoned in alleyway after bloody rioting

Source: Life Archive Hosted by Google
Photographer: Margaret Bourke-White