The government is planning to kick off the construction of a memorial in Brahmanbaria’s Ashuganj for the Indian soldiers who died in the Liberation War during the celebrations of 50 years of independence.
Liberation War Affairs Minister AKM Mozammel Haque says they want Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi to lay the foundation stone, but nothing has not been finalised.
The authorities will organise programmes to celebrate Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s birth centenary and the golden jubilee of independence at the National Parade Ground in Dhaka for 10 days from Mar 17 to 26. Modi will join the main event.
Speaking to bdnews24.com on Friday, Minister Haque noted that the project to construct the monument for the fallen members of the Allied Forces has received government clearance.
“We can invite our honourable prime minister and the premier of India. The decision has not been decided, but it is possible,” he said.
Bangabandhu declared independence just before being arrested by the Pakistani authorities on Mar 26, 1971, kicking off the Liberation War under the leadership of the wartime government in exile.
The Indian Armed Forces got engaged in the war directly in the first week of December that year. The Pakistani forces surrendered to the Allied Forces, formed with the Muktibahini and the Indian Armed Forces, on Dec 16.
A total of 1,161 Indian soldiers sacrificed their lives in the war.
Over 300 of them were martyred in Ashuganj on Dec 9. The day is observed as the Ashuganj Tragedy Day.
The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council or ECNEC approved a Tk 163 million project in 2017 to build a monument next to the Dhaka-Sylhet Highway in Ashuganj for the fallen members of the Allied Forces.
The project was delayed due to a lack of land. After securing the land, the government approved the extension of the project in February last year.
After forming the government following victory in the ninth parliamentary elections, the Awami League decided to honour the foreigners who played a role in the Liberation War.
Late Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi was honoured in 2011. Former Indian prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and former president Pranab Mukherjee were also honoured later.
During her April 2017 visit to India, Hasina honoured families of seven Indian soldiers who lost their lives in the 1971 war.
Minister Haque said crests to honour the rest of the martyred Indian soldiers are with the Bangladesh Bank now as these could not be handed to their families due to the coronavirus pandemic.
These will be given to the families through the Bangladesh missions in India once the situation normalises, he added.