Bangladesh will organise a number of events ahead of the golden jubilee of its Independence and the birth centenary of the country’s first President Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in 16 countries, including India.
“To spread the significance of Independence, liberation, war and sacrifice of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Bangladesh government and Muktijoddha Academy Trust would hold many festivities and numerous events in 16 countries,” Bangladesh Liberation War Affairs Minister A.K.M. Mozammel Haque said while addressing a seminar and cultural function here on Friday.
He said celebrations will be held in countries including India, Russia, Germany, Sweden, Hungary, Poland, Nepal and Bhutan.
The Minister said that a year after Mujibur Rahman’s 100th birth anniversary from 2020 to 2021, Bangladesh would celebrate the golden jubilee of Independence on March 26, 2021.
Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, who was popularly known as Bangabandhu, was the former President and Prime Minister of Bangladesh. He had spearheaded the Bangladesh liberation struggle following which the country emerged as a sovereign nation from Pakistan in 1971.
“Over 30 lakh Mukti Joddhas (freedom fighters) were martyred while fighting the nine-month-long liberation war. Pakistani soldiers and authorities had let loose colossal atrocities on the people of East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), especially on the women,” the visiting minister said.
A 35-member delegation comprising Bangladesh Parliament members, freedom fighters, academicians and artists led by Haque and Muktijoddha Academy Trust Chairman Abul Kalam Azad came to Tripura on Wednesday and visited historical and liberation war training sites.
Azad, while addressing the event, said: “The Indian Army, accompanied by the people of then East Pakistan, fought the liberation war most effectively, decisively and protected the sovereignty of both present-day Bangladesh and India.”
“Tripura capital city Agartala and other bordering towns of the state had played an important role as these places were the launch pad for the main offensive into Bangladesh. Local residents of Tripura played a huge role by providing support to the Indian Army and Mukti Joddhas,” he added.
“Around 22 lakh Bangladeshi refugees — a number larger than the state’s then population of 17 lakh — had taken shelter in Tripura alone.”
During the war, 10 million men, women and children from then East Pakistan took shelter in West Bengal, Tripura, Assam and Meghalaya.
Tripura Assembly Speaker Rebati Mohan Das and freedom fighter and former Bangladesh government Secretary Azizur Rahman were also present at the event.
The Bangladesh liberation war later turned into a full-scale India-Pakistan war, leading to the surrender of 93,000 Pakistani soldiers in Dacca (now Dhaka) on December 16, 1971. India was the first country to recognise Bangladesh as a sovereign nation.