Bangladesh shortlists `1971 foreign friends`

Last Updated: Monday, December 12, 2011 - 20:47

Dhaka: Bangladesh on Monday approved a list of
125 foreign citizens and institutions to be conferred with
formal honour and recognition for their contributions to the
country`s 1971 Liberation War.

"The list of foreign contributors to the liberation war is
a short one, and more names will be included later," an
official spokesman told newsmen after the cabinet meeting
chaired by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

Hasina`s press secretary Abul Kalam Azad did not name the
recipients but said the list included names of foreign state
leaders, politicians, philosophers, artists, litterateurs and
various institutions.
A high-level national committee had earlier prepared a
list of 500 foreign friends included 226 Indians and 40
Pakistanis.

Officials had earlier said the `1971 foreign friends` were
expected to be conferred with the honour coinciding with the
country`s 41st Victory Day on December 16 but a Liberation War
Affairs Ministry today said the ceremony would organised later
at a "convenient time".

"Bangladesh missions abroad would organise special
ceremonies at convenient times in near future to confer the
awards on the others of the list at their home countries as
many of the recipients may not travel to Bangladesh to receive
the award," he said.
Bangladesh in July this year conferred the highest state
honour for "1971 foreign friends" on former Indian Prime
Minister Indira Gandhi for her tremendous contribution to its
Liberation War 40 years ago.

Congress party chief and ruling UPA chairperson Sonia
Gandhi received the Bangladesh "Swadhinata Sanmanona" from
President Zillur Rahman at a ceremony at Bangabhaban, also
joined by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and nearly 1,000 high
profile dignitaries.

So far Gandhi is the lone recipient of the honour.
Indira Gandhi was India`s premier in 1971 when she
travelled across the world to mobilise support for
Bangladesh`s Liberation War against Pakistan while Bangladeshi
freedom fighters also received training on Indian soil
alongside small weapons to fight back the occupation forces.

Her government provided food and makeshift shelter to an
estimated one crore people who fled their home to evade
atrocities by the Pakistani troops.

PTI



First Published: Monday, December 12, 2011 - 20:47

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