India, Bangladesh join hands to find graves of freedom fighters

India and Bangladesh are jointly making efforts to trace the graves of martyrs of the Liberation War of 1971.

Agartala: India and Bangladesh are jointly making efforts to trace the graves of martyrs of the Liberation War of 1971 with over 2,000 freedom fighters buried on this side of the border in Tripura, West Bengal, Assam and Meghalaya.

Officials here said that four nodal officers from the Indian side were appointed at Agartala, Kolkata, Guwahati and Shillong who would help Bangladeshi officials and their representatives to find the graves.

A Joint Secretary of Ministry of Liberation War Affairs, Bangladesh Lt Col (retd) Sajjad A Zahir said from Dhaka that the graves of the `muktijodhas` lay in the four Indian states of Tripura, West Bengal, Assam and Meghalaya.

"I have identified 27 spots in India where the warriors of the Liberation War are buried," Zahir said.

He said the final report about the location of graves was given recently to the Bangladesh Ministry of Liberation War Affairs.

He had visited Tripura a year ago and held talks with state government officials for identifying the graves.

Zahir, who was conferred the Bir Protik (equivalent to Vir Chakra) said that according to Bangladeshi estimates, 4000 people had gone missing during the war.

Through his efforts 27 spots were identified in India where the freedom fighters were buried.

The first success came to Zahir in December, 2007, when he traced the body of Bir Shrestha Hamidur Rahman at Hatimarachara, about 10 km from Ambasa, the district headquarters of Dhalai and about 84 km from Agartala.

Zahir had to struggle for five-and-a-half hours to exhume the remains before taking them back to the National Freedom Fighters’ Graveyard at Mirpur in Dhaka.

District Collector of Brahmanbaria in Bangladesh, Nur Mohammad Majumder, who was here last month, had said that it was difficult to find the graves of the Muktijodhas.

West Tripura District Magistrate Kiran Gitte had said that if Bangladesh gave a list of possible locations, the graves could be located with the help of local people and Bangladesh officials.

Two graves of freedom fighters were identified at Ramnagar and Joynagar here, Gitte had said.

Bangladesh has a 2000 km international border with four Indian states and about one crore people took refuge in them when the civil war broke out.

India supported the Liberation War and Bangladesh emerged as an independent country on December 16, 1971.

According to Bangladesh, more than thirty lakh people sacrificed their lives for independence.

Tripura, which has an 856 km border with the neighbouring country, had accommodated 16 lakh refugees when its own population was 15 lakh.

Tripura was the war headquarters of the Liberation War.

PTI

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