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Participants at a memorial for Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw paid glowing tributes to the great Indian warrior and said that his contribution, and Indian role, during the war of 1971 cannot be forgotten.
At the same time, speakers reminded the people that those who opposed the liberation of Bangladesh in 1971 still exist and they should be resisted and brought to trial by all means.
The remarks came at a memorial meeting on Indian Field Marshal Manekshaw who led the Bangladesh-India Joint Forces during the liberation war in 1971.
Forum for Secular Bangladesh and Trial of War Criminals of 1971 organised the discussion at the Women's Volunteers Association auditorium in the capital where participants paid a rich tribute to Manekshaw, saying that he played a leading role in achieving the liberation of Bangladesh and must always be remembered.
Acting President of Forum for Secular Bangladesh Shahriar Kabir proposed that roads should be named in Bangladesh in honour of Indira Gandhi, then prime minister of India, Field Marshal Manekshaw and General Jagjit Singh Arora who played leading roles to help us achieve our freedom.
He also proposed constructing a memorial for Indians who were martyred during the war.
Sector Commanders Forum (SCF) President Air Vice Marshal (retd) AK Khandkar yesterday called upon the people to reject the anti-liberation forces who run in the elections.
"Millions of people sacrificed their lives to liberate Bangladesh. And those who actually opposed our liberation and disregarded our flag now fly the same flag in their cars. We cannot allow these people to participate in the elections," AK Khandkar said.
He said the SCF has already asked the Election Commission to take measures so that the war criminals cannot contest the elections.
"We shall certainly try the war criminals. If needed we shall fight another war for it," said Khandkar, who was deputy chief of staff of the liberation forces in 1971.
Awami League (AL) Presidium Member Abdur Razzak warned that serious dangers lurk for Bangladesh as long as anti-liberation forces exist in the country.
Razzak said, "These ill forces must be resisted to build a democratic and non-communal Bangladesh," adding that AL during their dialogue with the government had urged the initiation of a process to try war criminals.
Workers Party President Rashed Khan Menon said, "It would reflect our smallness if we do not express our gratitude to those who helped us during the liberation war."
He noted that Manekshaw was a humble man and had never asked for any credit for his role during the war.
The Communist Party of Bangladesh General Secretary Mujahidul Islam Selim said that it was Manekshaw's strategy during the liberation war that helped avert further massacre during the war.
"It is however a matter of shame we have not been able to arrange the trial of the war criminals who massacred the people of our country.”
Professor Ajoy Roy, Bangladesh Mahila Parishad General Secretary Ayesha Khanam also spoke at the meeting chaired by Professor Kabir Chowdhury.