Dhaka, Jul 19: Bangladesh will honour former Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi with its highest state award for her outstanding contribution to the country's 1971 ‘Liberation War'.
“The cabinet has decided to confer Mrs Indira Gandhi with our highest state honour, ‘Bangladesh Swadhinata Sanmanona'. So far she would be the lone recipient of the honour,” Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's press secretary Abul Kalam Azad told PTI today.
It decided to confer the highest state honour on the assassinated Indian prime minister for her “tremendous contribution” to the country's Liberation War.
“The daughter-in-law of Mrs Gandhi and Indian Congress Party president Sonia Gandhi will receive the award from President Zillur Rahman on July 25 at Bangabhaban presidential palace at a special ceremony,” Azad said.
The Pakistan army conducted widespread atrocities against the civilian populations of East Pakistan, which later became Bangladesh.
The late Indian premier traveled across the world to mobilise support for the people of East Pakistan amid a massive crackdown on civilians by the Pakistan Army.
According to official figures, Pakistani troops, aided by local collaborators, killed an estimated 3 million people, raped about 200,000 women and forced millions more to leave their homes during the bloody nine-month guerrilla war.
India had to face a huge refugee crisis as an estimated one crore people fled their homes to evade atrocities by the Pakistani troops.
Earlier reports said that the government also plans to rechristen an important road in the memory of the former Indian prime minister.
A separate monument would also be built to honour Indian defence personnel martyred in the 1971 war.
Former Indian Foreign Minister Sardar Swaran Singh, who played a significant role, will be accorded special honour as well, according to sources. PTI