Bangladesh High Commissioner to the UK Saida Muna Tasneem has urged the British parliamentarians to take a fresh motion for international recognition of 1971 genocide committed on Bangladeshi soil by the invading Pakistan army 51 years ago in 1971.
She pledged to work with British parliamentarians and academicians towards increasing publications on Bengali genocide in the British and the international genocide journals.
“In April 1971, Sir Peter Shore, MP, who was chair of the UK’s Foreign Affairs Committee, moved a motion in the UK parliament condemning atrocities committed in erstwhile East Pakistan, followed by another motion, supported by over 233 cross-party members, calling for the end of genocide in East Bengal and the recognition of Bangladesh,” said the Bangladesh High Commissioner.
Expressing her gratitude to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for declaring 25 March as Bangladesh Genocide Day, the High Commissioner said: "It is now the responsibility of our generation to create global awareness about international recognition of the 1971 Bengali genocide.”
Rami Ranger, chairman of Conservative Friends of India and a member of the UK's House of Lords, spoke at the event and expressed his support for the establishment of a Bengali genocide memorial in the UK as well as its international recognition.
High Commissioner for India to the UK Gaitri Issar Kumar referred 25 March 1971 genocide as the darkest chapter of Bangladesh’s independence struggle and a massive crackdown against Bengali nationalists.
She said: “Bangabandhu liberated the people of Bangladesh from the systematic oppression and led them to realise his dream of Sonar Bangla. Today, the people of Bangladesh, under the leadership of Bangabandhu's illustrious daughter, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, have made his dream a reality."
Director of Research Initiatives, Bangladesh Professor Dr. Meghna Guhathakurta, whose father Jyotirmoy Guhathakurta, a Dhaka University teacher, was killed by the occupation forces in March 1971, described the brutality of Pakistani forces, calling for international recognition of the genocide.
Eminent organiser of Bangladesh’s Liberation War Movements in the UK Sultan Mahmud Sharif, representative of Embassy of Bosnia and Herzegovina in London Jasmina Sarajlić and UCL research fellow Bayes Ahmed also spoke on the occasion.
A documentary on the genocide was screened. Diplomats, academics, and members of the British-Bangladeshi diaspora participated in the event, paying their respects to the Father of the Nation and the martyrs who were killed in the March 25 genocide and during the nine-month glorious liberation war.