Honouring Manik controversy rocks TripuraStaff Correspondent
Intellectuals, civil society and the opposition Congress in the Indian state of Tripura are opposing the Bangladesh government’s decision on honouring Tripura’s chief minister Manik Sarkar.
Manik is among 129 foreign dignitaries Bangladesh has planned to accord reception to for their contribution to the country's independence war in 1971.
The Indians termed Bangladesh’s move a ‘distortion of history’ saying that Manik Sarker had rather opposed Bangladesh’s independence at the time.
Uproarious scenes were also witnessed inside the Tripura assembly on March 20 over the felicitations.
Sarkar was compelled to speak out in the house and said that he did not have any mentionable role in Bangladesh’s independence war.
The Bangladesh government on March 27 will confer the Bangladesh Freedom Honour Award on 129 foreigners, including Manik Sarkar, and organisations for their outstanding contributions to the 1971 war of independence.
Bangladesh’s foreign minister Dipu Moni on 16 February invited the chief minister as the national committee of Bangladesh recommended his name for formal recognition of his contribution to the independence war. As the matter related to another country, it was referred to the union ministry of external affairs for consideration and giving necessary political clearance.
The opposition legislators in the Tripura assembly on March 20 criticised the role of Manik and alleged hat the invitation letter to the chief minister from the Bangladesh foreign minister was a clear indication of distortion of history because the letter was not addressed to officials and nowhere in the letter was it mentioned that Sarkar would be honoured for the contribution of Tripura. They also insisted his not accepting the honour as he did not have any role in the war.
‘Neither the chief minister nor his party, the CPI-M, played any role in the Bangladesh liberation war. They remained indifferent to the movement as China, the ideological mentor of the CPI-M, had opposed it,’ the leader of opposition belonging to the Congress Ratan Lal Nath said in a statement.
Ratan Lal has written to the Indian prime minister, Manmohan Singh, seeking his intervention and requesting him to take up the issue with Bangladesh to ‘redress an injustice about to happen.’
In the letter on March 13 he said that it was the late Tripura chief minister Sachindra Lal Singh of Congress who had played a pro-active role in the iiberation war and arranged shelter for lakhs of Bangladeshi refugees in the state, but his name did not find a place in the list of Indians.
Manik told the house that the controversy over the individual role in independence war or to advice a good neighbour to recognise contribution of others from the state was not decent to any state government in any country because this was internal decision of every sovereign country.
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