Kolkata: A 72-member Bangladeshi delegation will attend the Vijay Diwas celebrations here, commemorating the victory of the Indian Armed Forces and the Mukti Bahini in the 1971 India-Pakistan war, an army official said on Monday. The delegation would be led by Bangladesh Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal. The Mukti Jodhas, who participated in the 1971 war, have been coming for the annual reunion for the past ten years.
"The delegation will comprise of Mukti Jodhas and their families along with serving senior Bangladesh Armed Forces officers," said Major General R. Nagraj, MGGS, Headquarters, Eastern Command. December 16 is celebrated as Victory Day in Bangladesh and Vijay Diwas in India. About 93,000 Pakistani soldiers, on this day in 1971, had surrendered to the Indian forces.
This historic victory led to the creation of Bangladesh. Nagraj said the celebrations commemorate the sacrifices of brave Indian soldiers, who laid down their lives fighting for their country. "About 3,800 officers and soldiers laid down their lives and 12,000 soldiers were injured in the war," he said.
The celebrations would start on Tuesday with military band concert at the historical Princep Ghat. On Wednesday, horse show, para jump and band display would be arranged at Royal Calcutta Turf Club for public. On Friday, there would be a wreath-laying ceremony at the historic Vijay Smarak which was created at Fort William Kolkata in 1996 on the 25th anniversary of the victory.
Commenting on the controversy arising out from the deployment of army at toll plazas in the state, he said, "We have good relation with the state government. There is no change in working relation." Refuting West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's allegation that the army was taking money from civilians at the toll plazas, Nagraj said: "Army is a powerful organisation. We do not tolerate this. We have not got any such information."