61 foreign friends who contributed to nation’s independence receive awards

Bangladesh has honoured foreign friends who contributed to achieve the nation’s independence from Pakistan in 1971.

Of the 61 recipients of the award in the third phase, 52 are from India and the rest are from Nepal, the United States, the United Kingdom, Vietnam, Australia, Sweden, and Italy.

The former Indian Prime Minister, I.K. Gujral, and the former Nepalese Prime Minister, the late Girija Prasad Koirala, received the Bangladesh Muktijuddho Sammanana.

Indian High Commissioner in Dhaka Pankaj Saran received the award on behalf of Gujral at a ceremony here, while Sujata Koirala, daughter of Koirala, received the award on her father’s behalf.

Bangladesh President Zillur Rahman and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina handed the foreign friends gold-plated silver metallic plaques bearing a replica of the National Memorial and a citation on silk cloth.

The awards have been given in two categories — “Bangladesh Muktijuddho Sammanana” (Bangladesh Liberation War Honour) and “Muktijuddho Moitri Sammanana” (Friends of Liberation War Honour).

Bangladesh conferred the “Swadhinata Sammanona” on the late Indian Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, the only person to get the coveted honour in July last year.

In March this year, the country paid homage to 83 foreign friends, with the Liberation War Honour and the Friends of Liberation War Honour at a glittering ceremony.

Taking support from all these foreign friends, particularly from India, the people of Bangladesh stood up against the atrocities of the Pakistani army and its local cohorts and contributed to the eventful emergence of a sovereign Bangladesh through a nine-month devastating war in 1971.

Before receiving the awards, foreign friends of Bangladesh, who supported the country’s emergence during the 1971 Liberation War, placed wreaths at the National Martyrs’ Memorial in Savar to pay respect to the 1971 martyrs.

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