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Joint Indo-Bangla Cycling Rally Relives 1971 War Memories, Collects Soil Of 'Independence'

 
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Ashok Chatterjee

Kolkata (The Hawk): To commemorate the Golden Jubilee of the 1971 Liberation War of Bangladesh, Suborno Jayanti Barso, a joint Indo-Bangladesh army cycling expedition (387 Km), led by 39 personnel from both armies finished at Fort William, Kolkata, where it was flagged in by Lieutenant General , KK Repswal, chief of staff, headquarters Eastern Command on Monday.

This joint expedition, fourth of its kind, which commenced from Jessore (Bangladesh) on November 15, entered India through Gede International Crossing Point on November 19, where they were welcomed by commander of the Rudra Brigade and deputy inspector general, 158 Border Security Force battalion at border outpost. 

The next day, November 20, the expedition was further flagged off by commander A Parida (senior most veteran) at Krishnanagar to Barrackpore military station. The rally culminated at Fort William, Kolkata on Monday.

Lt Gen, KK Repswal, on the occasion, said, “This is an historic occasion, 50th year of creation of Bangladesh, where the Indian Army and the Mukti Joddhas played a great role. Throughout the year we have been holding various events and this cycle expedition is a part of that. We all know Jessore and Calcutta played an important role in the 1971 war. Further events are planned in December in Kolkata and in New Delhi. As part of the event we conducted mountaineering, white water rafting expeditions, we carried the torch wherever the expedition went. The personnel also collected soil from all the important places pertaining to the liberation war and will take them to New Delhi.”

Maj Gen Nurul Anwar, who was representing the Bangladesh Army at the event and was also felicitated, said, “The Indian and Bangladesh relation is an historic one. We always recognize the role played by the Indian Army and the Indian government in the liberation of Bangladesh. The relation between the two nations has gone up over the years and this joint expedition is a reflection of that. This 4th joint Indo-Bangladesh cycling expedition has taken place after the two armies decided upon it.”

Col Mohit Singh, head of the Indian contingent, who cycled all the 387km route, said, “This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience because you seldom get the opportunities to interact with the military of another nation. The expedition was enduring and also we interacted with the Bangla people. But, most important was meeting the Mukti Joddhas. We had read so much about the 1971 war but what we saw there in person was very glorious. I could sense the kind of love the Mukti Joddhas have for us.”

Maj Mahmud, head of the Bangladesh contingent was thrilled with the expedition and being in Kolkata. He said, “The expedition visited many important places related to the Bangladesh Liberation War and spoke to the Mukti Joddhas. Speaking to them inspired us to build the friendship further. There were a lot of stories we did not know about the struggle and that has inspired all of us. What I came to know through the expedition was that the friendship on the ground is so strong, I could never imagine.”