Dhaka, April 18: The government on Thursday opened a ‘Genocide Corner’ in the historic building at Shugondha, now Foreign Service Academy, remembering the 3 million victims of 1971 genocide, the second worst genocide since WWII.Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen formally opened the ‘Genocide Corner’ as part of preserving historic legacy of the glorious War of Liberation marking the Foreign Service Day of Bangladesh, UNB reports.
Prime Minister’s Political Affairs Adviser HT Imam, Education Minister DrDipuMoni, State Minister for Foreign Affairs M Shahriar Alam and Chairman, Parliamentary Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs Muhammad Faruk Khan were also present.
Minister Dr Momen said they carefully chose the building to house the Genocide Corner in a historic room.
The building was built in 1960 and Queen Elizabeth II stayed in the house. After her departure, this house became the President’s House, he said.
After the independence on December 16, 1971, the Foreign Minister said, the house became ‘Gonobhaban’ (People’s House), Prime Minister’s Office.
Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman discharged his duties for nearly two years from this office (1972-74).
Diplomats from various countries who attended the function wrote their comments on visitor’s book placed at the Genocide Corner.
“The bloodbath and mayhem of 1971 War took the lives of innocent people—3 million were killed, 200,000 women were raped, 10 million had to take shelter in neighboring India and 30 million were displaced internally due to our War of Liberation in 1971. Lest we forget!,” said the Foreign Minister.
On April 18, 1971, Bangladeshi diplomats and staff stationed in Calcutta defying the oppressive and occupation regime of Pakistan took over the Pakistan Deputy High Commissioner’s Office and hoisted the Bangladesh national flag atop and thus established the first Bangladesh Mission abroad.
“Therefore, this day is very significant for the independent and sovereign country of Bangladesh,” said Dr Momen.
On 17th April 1971, the Bangladesh government was officially established in Mujibnagar and on the following day, a group of Bangladeshi diplomats and officials led by Deputy High Commissioner Md. Hosen Ali and third Secretary Anwarul Karim Chowdhury, declared their allegiance to Bangladesh government, and took possession of the premise of the Pakistani Deputy High Commission in Calcutta, India, and declared it ‘Bangladesh Diplomatic Mission’, which later became ‘Bangladesh Foreign Office’ in Kolkata.
The other officers who also defected in Calcutta on 18th April 1971 were third Secretary Kazi Nazrul Islam, and Assistant Press Attaché Maksud Ali.
Brave diplomats late Hussein Ali, Anwarul Karim Chowdhury and Amjadul Huq were honored on the day. Representatives of these three diplomats received the crests.
“As we’ve started, we’ll continue to recognize and honor their historic contribution in greater way with even more befitting manner in future,” said State Minister Shahriar Alam.
A cultural function was also held marking the Foreign Service Day.