Church honors freedom fighters on jubilee of independence for Bangladesh

The Catholic Church celebrated the Golden Jubilee of Bangladesh’s birth by honoring Christians who fought Pakistan’s War of Independence in 1971.

Church officials awarded a special medal and certificate of honor to some 40 former guerrilla fighters, representing 419 officially recognized former Christian guerrillas, during a nationwide program in the capital Dhaka December 11.

In addition, 35 individuals representing members of the clergy, religious and lay people received commemorative badges for their important roles during the war, including supporting, sheltering and providing food and medical care to freedom fighters. and refugees.

The event marked the Golden Jubilee of Bangladesh’s independence and the centenary of the birth of the nation’s founding father, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the father of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of the ruling Awami League party.

Oblate Archbishop Bejoy N. D’Cruze of Dhaka chaired the program where Dr. Shirin Sharmin Chowdhury, Speaker of the National Parliament of Bangladesh, was the main guest. Interior Minister Asaduzzaman Khan and Minister of State for Religious Affairs Faridul Haq Khan were the special guests, while Cardinal Patrick D’Rozario was the guest of honor.

About 1,000 people, including all Catholic bishops from the eight dioceses, leaders and representatives from various regions of the country, attended the four-hour program.

Driven by the spirit of patriotism, the Christian community has made great strides in building the legendary Golden Bengal over the past 50 years.

President Chowdhury applauded Christians for their sacrifices during the war and their great contributions to nation building after independence. He called on all peoples to build a society based on pluralism.

“We have to pave the way for the story of the next 50 years by building on the past 50 years,” said Chowdhury.

“Bangladesh is known around the world as a development miracle thanks to significant socio-economic development over the past decades. However, we still have 21% of the ultra-poor, for whom we must do more.

Home Secretary Khan said the Christian community has made great strides in serving the nation, especially in education, health care and social development.

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“Christians have set an excellent example in the cooperative movement in the country. They have managed their cooperative organizations with excellent success, ”he said.

Cardinal D’Rozario said that although the Christian community is tiny, it is by no means weak or inferior.

“The Christian community fought valiantly in the war of liberation. Driven by the spirit of patriotism, the Christian community has made great strides in building the legendary Golden Bengal over the past 50 years, and Christians are expanding and intensifying their efforts, ”he said.

Chitta Francis Rebeiro, Catholic freedom fighter and community leader, praised efforts to recognize Christian freedom fighters on the occasion of the Golden Jubilee of Independence.

“There is no better occasion than to honor Christian freedom fighters on this auspicious occasion of the country’s 50th independence anniversary,” said Rebeiro, 76.

About 1,900 Christians participated directly and indirectly in the liberation war, but many were unable to register officially for various reasons, he said, adding that the government had to make efforts to recognize them.

A special cultural exhibit marked the end of the event which included patriotic songs, dancing, a special play by children and documentaries

A souvenir magazine was unveiled during the program. It contains various articles, information and data covering the contributions of the Christian community to the independence movement, liberation war and nation building, including their reflections on society and patriotism.

A special cultural exhibit marked the end of the event with patriotic songs, dancing, a special children’s play and documentaries.

Earlier, on December 10, all Catholic churches held a special mass to pay homage to the martyrs of the Liberation War and to pray for the well-being of the nation.

In 1971, a civil war erupted in eastern Pakistan after the military launched a genocidal crackdown on March 25 to quell the bubbling independence movement. It came after the failed negotiations between the military regime and the Awami League for the transfer of power after the party won the general election on December 7, 1970, by a landslide.

Bangladesh claims that the Pakistani army, aided by Islamist militias, massacred three million people and raped up to 300,000 women during the war. Some 10 million people have become refugees in India.

The Liberation Forces of Bangladesh defeated the Pakistani army with Indian support. The day of the surrender of the Pakistani army to the joint Bangladesh-India forces on December 16, 1971, is celebrated as Victory Day.

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