Agartala, March 23: Ahead of Bangladesh’s Independence Day on March 26, a three-day exhibition “1971: Genocide and Torture” opened here on Monday to showcase the sacrifices lakhs of people of erstwhile East Pakistan made to achieve their freedom.
Bangladeshi patriots vowed to win their independence on March 26, 1971, when Bangabandhu Mujibur Rehman at a huge Dhaka rally gave the call, and launched a massive guerilla struggle against the then Pakistani rulers and their army.
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 93,000 Pakistani soldiers in Dhaka on December 16, 1971, to the Indian Army and Bangladesh was created as sovereign tion.
“As Tripura was one of the crucial areas from where the ‘Mukti Joddhas’ (freedom fighters) after getting training and shelter carried out guerilla warfare against the Pakistani Army, that’s why we are organising the first such exhibition in this Indian state,” said Genocide and Torture Archive and Museum Trust president Muntasir Mamun.
He added: “Pakistani forces during the nine months of hostilities massacred over three million Bangladeshi men, women and children, and gang raped over six lakh women and tortured lakhs of people.”
During the exhibition, many documentary films on Bangladesh liberation war would be screened and a workshop with the painters and artists of both Bangladesh and India would be organised here, Mamun said.
The Tripura government and Tripura Sanskriti Samay Kendra, a renowned literary and cultural organisation, are the co-organisers of the exhibition which intends to depict heinous and inhuman mass killings, rape and torture, committed by the Pakistani Army and their local collaborators, before the new generation.
During the Bangladesh Liberation War, 10 million men, women and children from then East Pakistan took shelter in West Bengal, Tripura, Assam and Meghalaya.
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, culmiting in the surrender of 93,000 Pakistani troopers in East Pakistan.
Operation Cactus Lily is marked as one of the finest military operations in the glorious history of the Indian Army.
India was the first country to recognise Bangladesh.
Bangladesh affairs expert and writer Gautam Das said Tripura had six to seven camps in several sectors from where the ‘Mukti Joddhas’ 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.
The Tripura government is creating a “Mukti Juddha” Park at Chottakhola in Belonia, 115 km south of here, to commemorate the Bangladesh Liberation War and its heroes. (IANS)