Bangladesh war hero Jacob laid to rest with full military honours

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New Delhi, Jan 14 (IANS) The 1971 Bangladesh war’s hero Lt. Gen. J.F.R. Jacob (retd) was on Thursday laid to rest in accordance with Jewish traditions and with full military honours.

While the wreath-laying ceremony was held at Brar Square in Delhi Cantonment, the burial ceremony was held later at Judah Hyam Synagogue on Humayun Road here. A 21-gun salute was accorded to the army veteran.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, Army chief General Dalbir Singh, Indian Air Force chief Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha and union ministers General V.K. Singh (retd) and Rajyavardhan Rathore, veteran BJP leader L.K. Advani, Bangladesh High Commissioner to India Syed Muazzem Ali, and Israeli Ambassador to India Daniel Carmon were among those who paid their tributes.

Lt. Gen. Jacob was one of the last of the army veterans to have seen action in World War II and who played a stellar role in the 1971 war.

Parrikar said he shared a “personal relations” with the army veteran.

“I had different relations with him. He is a Bangladesh war hero, I shared good relations with him when he was the governor of Goa. He was an upright man,” Parrikar told reporters after paying tributes to the veteran.

“His contribution to the 1971 war is great. He played a pivotal role in the liberation of Bangladesh. We had a close relationship when he was the governor of Goa… have heard many war stories from him. Even as the governor, his approach was free, fair and straightforward,” Parrikar said.

Union minister and former army chief General V.K. Singh called it a “huge loss to the nation”.

Rathore lauded Lt. Gen. Jacob for “singlehandedly” getting the surrender documents signed by Lt Gen A.A.K. Niazi, the then governor and martial law administrator of East Pakistan, to bring to an end the Bangladesh war.

“The nation is proud of him. He got the surrender document signed singlehandedly; the army and the nation will always remember him,” Rathore said.

Lt. Gen. Jacob, 93, a bachelor, passed away around 8.30 a.m. at the Army Hospital (Research and Referral) due to pneumonia, a hospital official said. He was admitted on January 1.

Enlisting in the British Indian Army in 1942 much against the wishes of his father, the Calcutta (now Kolkata)-born Jacob traced his roots to Baghdadi Jews from Iraq who settled in the city in the 18th century.

He saw his finest moment on December 16, 1971 when he flew to Dacca (now Dhaka) and persuaded the Pakistani Army commander in the then East Pakistan, Lt. Gen. A.A.K. Niazi, to surrender along with some 93,000 troops to bring the war to an end.

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