Bangladesh’s decision to honour Tripura CM Manik Sarkar for his “outstanding contribution” to its liberation war in 1971 has triggered a controversy in the northeast state.
Sakar’s detractors are saying he played no part of note in the war that led to the secession of East Pakistan and creation of independent Bangladesh.
The state government, however, said the nomination was Bangladesh’s internal matter.
The Bangladesh government has invited 129 “foreign friends”, mostly from India, to honour them in Dhaka on March 27, a day after its Independence Day.
Bangladesh foreign minister Dipu Moni, in a letter dated February 16, had informed Sarkar about her country’s decision to honour him.
Tripura opposition leader Ratan Lal Nath on Sunday said, “It is stunning that the Bangladesh government selected a person who was in no way associated with the Bangladesh war. No document, record or book on liberation carries his reference.”
The Congress leader alleged a top CPI(M) leader had influenced some individuals in the Bangladesh government to nominate Sarkar and said it was an insult to the real “friends of the Bangladesh liberation war” in Tripura.
Retired Indian Army Captain BR Chatterjee, who had trained liberation fighters, said Bangladesh should not ignore those who had extended moral and material support to nearly 17 million of its people in 1971.
Tripura, which shares 856 km boundary with Bangladesh, was a key hub for both the Indian Army and the liberation fighters.
Street protests are also brewing over the honour for Sarkar. The strongest of them was seen on Saturday outside the Bangladesh mission in Agartala, where hundreds of people assembled with placards and black flags.