1971 defected diplomats honored on ‘Foreign Service Day’

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DHAKA, April 18, 2019 (BSS) – Bangladesh honored its three diplomats those had declared their allegiance to Bangladesh and opened the ‘Diplomatic Fron’t during the War of Liberation in 1971 as the foreign ministry observed the first Foreign Service Day today.

“We are thankful to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina who allowed us to observe and honor the brave diplomats of 1971 by proclaiming the day as ‘Foreign Service Day’,” Foreign minister Dr AK Abdul Momen said at a ceremony at Sugandha house in the capital marking the day.

The three brave diplomats– Anwarul Karim Chowdhury, Amjadul Huq and late Hussein Ali– were honored on the day.

Foreign minister along with education minister Dr Dipu Moni, Chairman of parliamentary standing committee Faruk Khan and state minister for foreign affairs Md Shahriar Alam handed over crests to family members of the three diplomats.

Prime Minister’s Political Affairs Adviser HT Imam and Awami League senior leader Amir Hossain Amu were also present on the occasion.

The foreign minister said the government will honor all its brave diplomats those had declared their allegiance to Bangladesh during the War of Liberation in 1971.

Besides honoring the diplomats the government also opened a ‘Genocide Corner’ in the historic building at Shugondha, now Foreign Service Academy, remembering the 3 million victims of genocide of 1971, the second worst genocide since WWII.

Dr AK Abdul Momen formally opened the ‘Genocide Corner’ as part of preserving historic legacy of the glorious War of Liberation marking the Foreign Service Day of Bangladesh.

Terming the day as “Kutnoithik Uthoran Debosh”, the foreign minister said on this day in 1971, 48 years ago, Bangladeshi diplomats and staff stationed in Calcutta defying the oppressive and occupation regime of Pakistan took over the Pakistan Deputy High Commissioner’s Office and hoisted the Bangladesh national flag atop and thus established the first Bangladesh Mission abroad.

Therefore, Momen said, this day is very significant for the independent and sovereign country of Bangladesh.

“Let us salute those brave souls for their courage and of course, for their commitment to humanity and democracy. We are privileged to honor a few of those brave diplomats today,” he said.

About the genocide corner, the foreign minister said they chose the Sugandha to set up the Genocide Corner in a historic room considering its historic value.

The building was built in 1960 and Queen Elizabeth II stayed in the house. After her departure, this house became the President’s House, he said.

After independence on December 16, 1971, the foreign minister said, the house became ‘Gonobhaban’, Prime Minister’s Office.

Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the visionary leader and founder of Bangladesh, discharged his duties for nearly two years from this office from 1972 to 74, Momen said.

“The bloodbath and mayhem of 1971 War took the lives of innocent people—3 million were killed, 200,000 women were raped, 10 million had to take shelter in neighboring India and 30 million were displaced internally due to our War of Liberation in 1971. Lest we forget!” said the foreign minister.

Diplomats from various countries who attended the function wrote their comments on visitor’s book placed in the Genocide Corner.

A cultural function was also held marking the Foreign Service Day.

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