It was on 16 December 1971, that 92,208 Pakistani soldiers surrendered to the Joint Command of Indian and Bangladeshi Forces in East Pakistan marking a decisive victory for the Indian Armed Forces. This historical military feat led to the birth of a new nation “Bangladesh”. Each year this day is celebrated as Vijay Diwas by Indian Armed Forces and Eastern Command in particular.
This year as part of 47th Vijay Diwas Celebrations, commemorating the victory of Indian Forces and the Mukti Bahini over Pakistani Forces during the 1971 war, a memorial service for martyrs of 1971 War was held at Vijay Smarak at Fort William, Kolkata on 16 December 2018 which was presided by Lt Gen M M Naravane, Ati Vishisht Seva Medal, Sena Medal, Vishisht Seva Medal, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief Eastern Command, Eastern Command.
Vijay Diwas Celebrations at Fort William, Eastern Command assume a special significance, as Mukti Jodhas and Indian war veterans who fought shoulder to shoulder, have been reuniting each year for the last thirteen years to celebrate this momentous occasion in history. This year also a 72 member delegation from Bangladesh comprising of Mukti Jodhas and serving officers from Bangladesh Defence Forces attended the events from 14 Dec onwards. The delegation was led by HE Quazi Rosy, MP Bangladesh Parliament.
The solemn ceremony began with religious invocations by priests of all faiths as is the norm of our Indian Armed Forces. The air was filled with the melodious rendition of patriotic hymns and bhajans played by the Army band which wafted across the Vijay Smarak further adding to the ambiance of the solemn occasion. Wreaths were laid by Veterans, members of the Bangladeshi delegation and by representatives of the three Services. As buglers sounded the ‘Last Post’ and ‘Rouse’, from the rampart behind the magnificent edifice of the War Memorial, the participants including school children, NCC cadets and media personnel observed two minutes silence to pay homage to the martyrs of the 1971 war.
Post the solemn Wreath Laying ceremony, this year Bangladesh Government honoured 12 Next of Kins of Martyrs of 1971 war in a SOMMANONA CEREMONY organised at Vijay Smarak. H.E A.K.M Mozammel Huq, Hon’ble Minister of Liberation War Affairs, Government of Bangladesh felicitated the Next of Kins of 07 martyrs of Indian Army, 01 martyr of Indian Navy, 02 martyrs of Indian Air Force and 02 martyrs of BSF.