Date: May 21, 2019

About the book

In 1978, around 1.5 lakh Hindu refugees, mostly belonging to the lower castes, settled in Marichjhapi — an island in the Sundarbans, in West Bengal. By May 1979, the island was cleared of all refugees by Jyoti Basu’s Left Front government. Most of the refugees were sent back to the central India camps they came from, but there were many deaths: of diseases, malnutrition resulting from an economic blockade, as well as from violence unleashed by the police on the orders of the government. Some of the refugees who survived Marichjhapi say the number of those who lost their lives could be as high as 10,000, while the-then government officials maintain that there were less than ten victims. How does an entire island population disappear? How does one unearth the truth and the details of one of the worst atrocities of post-Independent India?

There is very little literature available on Marichjhapi. This is the first major non-fiction book on the massacre.

About the author

Deep Halder has been a journalist for past 17 years, writing on issues of development at the intersection of religion, caste and politics. Currently, he is the executive editor at the India Today Group Digital.


Bibek Debroy, Chairman of the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister

Sanjeev Sanyal, Principal Economic Advisor, Ministry of Finance, Government of India

Nishtha Gautam, Senior Journalist

Kanchan Gupta, Distinguished Fellow, ORF


2:30 – 3:00 p.m. | Registration

3:00 – 3:10 p.m. | Opening remarks by chair | Kanchan Gupta

3:10 – 3:30 p.m. | Presentation by author | Deep Halder

3:30 – 3:50 p.m. | Remarks | Bibek Debroy

3:50 – 4:10 p.m. | Remarks | Sanjeev Sanyal

4:10 – 4:30 p.m. | Remarks | Nishtha Gautam

4:10 – 4:40 p.m. | Moderated Q&A

4:40 – 4:50 p.m. | Closing remarks by chair

4:50 p.m. onwards | High tea

Venue Address

ORF Conference Hall, New Delhi