Agartala, Dec 16 (IANS) Vijay Diwas was observed on Wednesday to commemorate the heroic soldiers of the Indian Army who laid down their lives in the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War.
Vijay Diwas has been celebrated every year on this day as the Instrument of Surrender was signed by the Eastern Command of Pakistan Armed Forces in Dhaka on December 16, 1971, bringing the nine month long war for the liberation of Bangladesh to an end.
“The brave Indian Army accompanied by people of then East Pakistan fought the war most successfully and protected the sovereignty of both present Bangladesh and India,” Tripura governor Tathagata Roy said at Vijay Diwas function here.
After laying a wreath at the War Memorial in the heart of Tripura capital Agartala, Roy, who last week visited Bangladesh, said: “Bangladeshi people and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina respectfully remembered the contribution and role of the Indian Army, government and people of India.”
He said that Hasina was very grateful for India’s role in the liberation war.
The governor accompanied by Tribal Welfare (Primitive Tribe, Plantation and Rehabilitation) and Jail Minister Manindra Reang, senior officials and other dignitaries laid the wreaths in memory of the fallen soldiers.
India’s top Border Security Force and Border Guards Bangladesh officials exchanged wishes on the occasion.
Discussions, cultural functions and a get-together of people from various walks of life were part of a day-long programme at the Bangladesh assistant high commission here.
Historian Bikach Chowdhury said Tripura had six to seven camps in four sectors from where the ‘Mukti Joddhas’ (freedom fighters) fought Pakistani forces in the 1971 war that led to the creation of Bangladesh.
“Over 1,600,000 Bangladeshis — a number larger than the state’s then total population of 1,500,000 — had taken shelter in Tripura alone,” he said.
During the war, 10 million men, women and children from then East Pakistan took shelter in West Bengal, Tripura, Assam and Meghalaya.
The ‘Mukti Juddha’ (Liberation War), as it is called in Bangladesh, later turned into a full-scale India-Pakistan war, leading to the surrender of nearly 93,000 Pakistani soldiers in Dhaka on December 16, 1971.
India was the first country to recognise Bangladesh as a country.
“Operation Cactus Lily was launched on December 3, 1971 by the Indian Army in East Pakistan. It was a brilliantly planned and meticulously executed military operation, culminating in the surrender of 93,000 Pakistani troopers in East Pakistan,” an official release said.
“Operation Cactus Lily is marked as one of the finest military operations in the glorious history of the Indian Army,” the release added.
The Tripura government has been creating a “Mukti Juddha” park at Chottakhola in Belonia, to commemorate the Bangladesh Liberation War and its heroes.