Radcliffe Line

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The Partition of India

The Radcliffe Line became the international border between India and Pakistan (which also included what is now Bangladesh) during the partition of India. The line divided Bengal into Indian held West Bengal and East Bengal which became East Pakistan. The line was decided by the Border Commissions headed by Sir Cyril Radcliffe, who was to divide equitably 175,000 square miles (450,000 km2) of territory with 88 million people. The line took effect on 17 August 1947 after the Partition of India. When the partition was implemented, there were some problems:

  • The Chittagong Hill Tracts had a moslty Buddhist population, but they were given to East Pakistan (now Bangladesh)
  • The Gurdaspur District was moslty Muslim, but was given to India
  • Sometimes the line divided villages, so one part of the village was in each country. At other instances, it went through houses, different rooms of the same house were in different countries.

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