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Expatriates worked hard for international support to 1971 war

By Asraful Huq

DHAKA, March 3, 2015 (BSS) - Expatriate Bengalis across the globe played a significant role in gaining international support to the nine-month long battle against the Pakistani occupation forces and their local collaborators.

Probashi (expatriate) Bengalis campaigned from every corner of the world by raising funds, holding protest rallies, diplomatic defection, and other such methods to highlight the plight of the grief- stricken, oppressed Bangladeshis to drum up international support to the War of Liberation in 1971.

Bengalis particularly of the USA and the UK played important role in the War of Liberation in 1971, in which three million people sacrificed their lives. These activities were in full force in the UK, especially London, where the highest number of
Bangladeshis reside.

Committees in favour of Bangladesh had been formed at different parts of the UK from the very beginning of March in 1971. The common people knew the committees as action committees. Central Council for the Peoples' Republic of Bangladesh (CPRB) was formed from a meeting to coordinate activities of the action committees. The meeting decided that the council would give approval of forming the action committees.

Gaus Khan and Sheikh Abdul Mannan were made president and general secretary of the council.

Noted historian Professor Dr. Muntassir Mamoon in an article "Muktijuddhe Probashider Abodan-Action Committeer Bhumika' (Contribution of Expatriates in War of Liberation: Role of Action Committee) in his edited book "Muktijuddher Chhinna Dalilpatra" mentioned it.

However, an elaborate description regarding the role of action committees was mentioned in the book of Abdul Matin.

On December 12, 1971, at Hyde Park in London, expatriates organised a protest rally which was attended by over 15,000 people. Acting chief of Bangladesh Mission Rezaul Karim and Awami League leader Asabul Haque spoke at the rally.

After the rally, a procession marched towards the British Prime Minister's 10 Downing Street official residence. A memorandum was submitted requesting the British Prime Minister for his intervention to release Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman from the captivity of Pakistani occupation force.

The procession later reached near Indian High Commission in the UK and handed over a letter of thanks to it for recognizing Bangladesh, the new born nation.