In a mega event on Saturday Bangladesh launched a process of honouring the Indian soldiers who embraced martyrdom in Bangladesh’s War of Liberation in 1971.
Honouring the families of seven Indian soldiers, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said the history of Bangladesh has been written by the blood of the Indian martyrs along with valiant freedom fighters of Bangladesh.
“The story of the sacrifice of Indian martyrs in the Liberation War of Bangladesh will be remembered from generation to generation in our two countries,” she said.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi accompanied the Bangladesh premier in honouring the martyred Indian soldiers at the function at Manekshaw Centre.
It’s the first initiative to recognize the sacrifice of Indian soldiers died in Bangladesh’s War of Liberation in 1971 and launching of the process of honouring families of martyred Indian soldiers.
Officially, a total of 1,661 Indian soldiers died in the Liberation War of Bangladesh.
Sheikh Hasina said: “Martyrs of India and Bangladesh, who fought together in 1971, are blessing us from the heaven … let’s reiterate our resolve to work together for shared peace and prosperity.”
Modi said, “Today is a special day, it is the day to remember the martyrs of both India and Bangladesh.”
He announced additional 10,000 scholarships for the children of freedom fighters (FFs), multiple entry visas for FFs for next five years and free medical treatment for 100 FFs under special medical scheme.
“India showed humanity to 90,000 soldiers held prisoners of war during the war,” Modi added.
The Bangladesh premier said she is greatly honoured to have the opportunity to pay tribute to some very special Indian friends who sacrificed their lives for the independence of Bangladesh.
“On behalf of the people and the government of Bangladesh, I acknowledge the debt of gratitude to the martyrs and their families,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina said the people of Bangladesh are grateful to the government and people of India for their extraordinary support to War of Liberation.
Many valiant soldiers of Indian Armed Forces had sacrificed their lives for the Liberation of Bangladesh, she said.
“We always remember with gratitude their contributions and sacrifices. This is a long cherished moment as we are today remembering those who laid down their lives,” the prime minister said.
The government of Sheikh Hasina launched the initiative in 2009 to recall the contribution of foreign friends of the liberation war of 1971 and honour them.
In July 2011, Bangladesh government conferred the Bangladesh Freedom Award, the highest civilian award for a foreign national, on the former Indian Prime Minister Srimati Indira Gandhi.
The process continued with giving honours to former Indian Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee and President Shri Pranab Mukherjee.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi praised Sheikh Hasina for her mental strength and adamancy to steer Bangladesh after what happened to her family saying “16 of her family members were murdered, but Sheikh Hasina stood still like a rock.”
Bangladesh earlier honoured Indians from all walks of life who played a role in the country’s liberation war. They included top army generals and officers, political leaders, activists, journalists, doctors and diplomats.
Former Indian prime ministers Indira Gandhi and Atal Bihari Vajpayee, among others, were honoured with the ‘Friends of Bangladesh’ award.
Source: Daily Sun, Dhaka, Bangladesh