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BANGLADESH NEWSPAPER

BANGLADESH WAS LIBERATED

"She launched an intense and bold diplomatic move for Bangladesh, despite challenges by some major powers. She also vigorously pursued the Pakistani authority for safe release of Bangabandhu," he said.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina described Indira Gandhi as a true and great friend of Bangladesh, its people, and Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

"On Bangabandhu's request, she withdrew the Indian soldiers within three months of Bangladesh's independence. That was a unique gesture of Mrs Indira Gandhi," Hasina said.

"We are delighted to honour her with our highest award," she said, recalling the eventful days of Bangladesh's liberation war in 1971.

She said Indira Gandhi travelled the world to rally support of the world community for the independence of Bangladesh, and for saving the life of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, who was then facing capital punishment in a Pakistani jail.

Foreign Minister Dipu Moni said, "We are here to honour a friend who played the most critical role among all our foreign friends in our nation's journey to statehood. Indira Gandhi changed the course of events in the fateful months of 1971. And with the support she gave to our embattled people, the Peoples Republic of Bangladesh was born. Today we are here to recognise and express our gratitude, and to honour Indira Gandhi."

The award's teak frame contains two gold plates on both sides of a folded box. Fifty-year-old teak, preserved by the Department of Forest, has been used for the frame.

Sreemati Indira Gandhi's name is inscribed on the plate on the left side in Bangla and English while the plate on the right has the signatures of Bangladesh President Zillur Rahman and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

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