IRRC No. 323

The ICRC's activities on the Indian subcontinent following partition (1947–1949)

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In 1945, at the end of the Second World War, the British government clearly stated its intention of granting independence to India.The conflict between the British and the Indian nationalists receded into the background, while the increasing antagonism between Hindus and Muslims came to the fore. The Hindus, centred round the Congress Party led by Jawaharlal Nehru, wanted to maintain the unity of India by establishing a government made up of representatives of the two communities. The Muslims, under the banner of the Muslim League and its President, Mohammed Ali Jinnah, demanded the creation of a separate Muslim State, Pakistan. The problem was further complicated by the fact that the approximately 300 million Hindus, 6 million Sikhs and 100 million Muslims in British India were not living in geographically distinct regions, especially in Punjab and Bengal, where the population was mixed.

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