In 1962 – (55 years ago) – in Centralia, Pennsylvania, a fire set deliberately to clear trash out of an underground landfill ignited an ancient coal seam in a nearby abandoned mine. The coal fire gradually spread underneath the town and became a threat to public health and safety. It created dangerous sinkholes, spewed sulfur smoke and carbon monoxide from openings in the ground, and defied all attempts to put it out. By 1984 a mass exodus from the town began, and in 1992, all real estate properties were officially condemned. Centralia, Pennsylvania, once home to a thousand people, is now a ghost town. Nothing remains there but a few derelict buildings and a crumbling network of empty streets covered with graffiti by curious visitors. In some places the ground is still hot to the touch, and cracks in the earth belch poisonous smoke from an underground fire that, experts say, could continue burning for another two hundred years.
In 1971 – (46 years ago) – in the district of Pabna in East Pakistan, units of Pakistan army troops and paramilitaries massacred more than two hundred unarmed members of the local Hindu minority. The killings were a part of Operation Searchlight, a military campaign meant to suppress a Bengali nationalist movement in what was then East Pakistan. Ever since the partition of India after independence in 1947, the new and predominantly Muslim nation of Pakistan had consisted of two sections or “wings” more than a thousand miles apart, with the massive territory of India in between. The two parts of the country had their religious, cultural, and political differences, and as an independence movement grew in East Pakistan, the national government in the West launched a systematic campaign of genocide that led to all-out war, in which India joined on the side of the separatist East. After nine months of air strikes, mass murder, rape, and other atrocities, the war ended with East Pakistan proclaiming itself the newly independent nation of Bangladesh. Body counts vary, but most researchers believe that the war killed about half a million people, and created some thirty million refugees.
Rotten History is written by Renaldo Migaldi