New Delhi, Dec 16: President Pranab Mukherjee today hailed the relations between India and Bangladesh on the day of Pakistan's surrender before the Indian military during the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War and said both the countries share common histories, heritage and tradition.
Mukherjee lauded the "able and mature leadership of Sheikh Bangabandhu (Mujibur) Rahman" and described him as the father of Bangladesh and praised the helping hand provided by India under the leadership of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi to uphold the dignity of human lives and also the basic fundamental lives of individuals to have its "freedom from the atrocities of military Junta of Pakistan".
"It was the conspiracy of the military Junta and the ruling Pakistan to deny the legitimate rights of the people of East Pakistan to have their own elected government," he said.
December 16, 1971, Pakistan's occupation army had surrendered before the joint forces of Mukti Bahini of Bangladesh and Indian soldiers who fought side by side for the liberation of 750 million people of Bangladesh at that time, the President said in a video message during a seminar on 1971 India-Pakistan War and the Liberation of Bangladesh organised by India Foundation at Nehru Memorial Museum and Library.
Mujibur Rahman received a massive mandate from the people of Bangladesh, winning majority seats in the National Assembly and as per the normal democratic practice, he should have been invited by the President to form his government, he said.
Instead of that, denying the basic democratic rights of the people of Bangladesh, military junta started cracking down on the civilians from the midnight of March 25, 1971, Mukherjee said.
He said the historic linkage created by the heroic struggle will "no doubt further enhance the cooperation between India and Bangladesh. Particularly the context when we share common histories, heritage and tradition".
"We are fortunate to have the poet to compose national anthems for both the countries, Rabindranath Tagore," he said.
The seminar was also attended by Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh, former Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, BJP National General Secretary Ram Madhav, Bangladesh Disaster Management and Relief Minister Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury Maya and India Foundation Director Shakti Sinha.