Bangladesh to honour Atal Bihari Vajpayee

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Dhaka: Bangladesh has decided to honour former Prime Minister of India, Atal Bihari Vajpayee with ‘Friends of Bangladesh Liberation War Award’ for his outstanding support for Bangladesh’s war against Pakistan to achieve independence in 1971.

Vajpayee was a Lok Sabha MP during the period. A Foreign Ministry spokesman familiar with the process said Bangladesh will hand over Vajpayee’s “Friends of Bangladesh Liberation War Award” to Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his upcoming visit to the country from June 6.

Vajpayee, who is unwell, could not visit Bangladesh to receive the honour. Indian prime minister Narendra Modi will receive the “Friends of Bangladesh Liberation War Award” on behalf of former Prime Minister of India Atal Bihari Vajpayee from president Abdul Hamid during his two-day state visit to Bangladesh beginning on June 6.

“From the very beginning of the Liberation War (in 1971), he (Vajpayee) took a firm stand in favour of Bangladesh’s independence… as the then president of Bharatya Jana Sangh and Lok Sabha member he mobilised campaign at home and in international arena for the rights of Bangladesh’s people,” the official said quoting the draft citation of the award.

Besides, the official said, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina also approved a proposal to honour the families of the members of Indian armed forces for sacrificing their lives for the cause of Bangladesh’s independence. The proposal suggested that it was a “national responsibility” on the part of Bangladesh to acknowledge formally the supreme sacrifices of Indian soldiers.

Officials said Dhaka decided to send the martyrs’ family members a letter alongside a certificate to be signed by the Bangladesh premier expressing tributes for their contributions.

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