Bangladesh is building memorial to honour Indian heroes of 1971 war

A model of a memorial building that Bangladesh is making for Indian soldiers who participated in the 1971 Bangladesh War. P

A memorial to honour the Indian soldiers who sacrificed their lives in the Liberation War of Bangladesh in 1971 at Ashuganj in Bangladesh is in the advanced stages of completion. It will have the names of around 1,600 Indian soldiers inscribed on it. It is expected to be ready by December and the effort is to have it inaugurated by Prime Minister of the two Prime Ministers in March or April, said A.K.M. Mozammel Haque, Bangladeshi Minister for Liberation War Affairs.

This will be the first memorial in Bangladesh to exclusively honour Indian soldiers from the 1971 war. The foundation stone for the memorial at Ashuganj, Brahmanbaria was laid by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in March 2021.

“The foundation for the monument was laid by the two Prime Ministers. The idea is by December it will be finished. All the names of the Indian soldiers martyred will be engraved so that everybody can know who are these people who sacrificed for our emancipation, for our liberation,” Mr. Haque said speaking on the sidelines of an event at the Bangladeshi High Commission on Thursday.

We will try to invite both the Prime Ministers, he said noting there are elections in both countries. “That is why we are thinking by March or April we will try to inaugurate it, by both the Prime Ministers,” he stated.

Major Chandrakant Singh, VrC, a 1971 war veteran and author of several books on the war, the latest on Lt Gen Sagat Singh then 4 Corps Commander, introduced Mr. Haque as the first Bangladeshi who attacked the Pakistan Army in 1971. “I feel happy and proud to have been associated with this project. My battalion 4 Guards captured Ashuganj on December 08, 1971,” he told The Hindu.

Ashuganj is relatively close to India bordering Tripura and can be reached by road from India. The idea was to have it close to the border with India, said Lt Col Quazi Sazzad Ali Zahir, a Bangladeshi war veteran of 1971 and who actively worked on the history project. He said that the memorial in a sprawling complex is intended to spread awareness of the war among the youth and will also have a children’s recreation facility on the premises. Ashuganj had particular significance in the liberation war as Indian forces advanced to Dhaka by crossing the Meghna river.

Mr. Modi visited Bangladesh in March 2021 to join the celebrations of the Golden Jubilee of the independence of Bangladesh, the birth centenary of the Father of the nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and 50 years of establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. “I salute the brave soldiers of the Indian Army who stood with the brothers and sisters of Bangladesh in Muktijuddo… those who gave their blood in Muktijuddo, sacrificed themselves and played a very big role in realising the dream of independent Bangladesh,” Mr. Modi had said in his address and announced that India will donate military equipment used by the Indian armed forces in the Liberation War for museums in Bangladesh.

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