Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Saturday said that during the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971, Assam’s role was not confined to the battle front alone as some police officers trained and equipped freedom fighters of the Mukti Bahini to take on the Pakistani Army.
Speaking at the ‘Felicitation Ceremony’ of 1971 War Veterans in Guwahati, the Chief Minister said that Jnanananda Sarma Pathak and Biraja Nanda Choudhury of Assam belonging to the Special Security Bureau played an important role in the Liberation War.
He said D.N. Sonowal and Hiranya Kumar Bhattacharyya, both belonging to the Indian Police Service from Assam, also played a big role in the operation.
Paying his tributes to Bharat Ratna Dr. Bhupen Hazarika, Sarma said that his songs had an electrifying effect on the war.
“His song ‘Joy Joy Nobojato Bangladesh’ and ‘Joy Joy Mukti Bahini’ are written as triumphal salutations to the newly sovereign Bangladesh and to the freedom fighters still fresh in everybody’s heart,” he said.
The Chief Minister informed that fulfilling its commitment, government of Assam has initiated a number of steps including ex-gratia of Rs 50 lakh to the next of kin of deceased army personnel, job for ex-servicemen, reservation of seats for their children in medical colleges.
In the ‘Felicitation Ceremony’ of 1971 War Veterans, the state government honoured nine Army widows with Rs 10 lakh each, eight number of battle casualties with Rs 5 lakh each, two war prisoners with Rs 2.5 lakh each and 86 war veterans with Rs 2 lakh each.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Assam Governor Jagdish Mukhi, High Commissioner of India in Bangladesh Vikram Doraiswami, Bangladesh’s Lt. Col. Quazi Sajjad Ali Zahir (Retd.) among others were present in the event, held at Srimanta Sankardev Kalakshetra in Guwahati.
Lt. Col. Zahir (Retd.), who played a key role in the 1971 Bangladesh’s war of Liberation, was awarded with the Padma Shri in the social work category by the Indian government last year.