President visits memory-bearing Balat village in Meghalaya
President Md Abdul Hamid on Friday visited Balat village in Meghalaya, where he stayed during the 1971 Liberation War, and recollected the memories of those days.
During the Liberation War, Abdul Hamid along with his family was residing in a rented house at the village and he was also the sub-sector commander of the Bangladesh Liberation Force (Mujib Bahini).
At that time, he inspired and organised Bangladeshi youths, who took shelter in India at Gumaghat, Moilam and Balat in Meghalaya. He established a youth reception camp at Balat for Bangladeshi youths and he acted as president of the camp.
The President, who came to Guwahati on Thursday afternoon on a five-day visit to India, will attend the International Solar Alliance (ISA) summit of 121 countries to be held in New Delhi on March 11.
He along with his wife Rashida Khanam and other family members went to Balat, a small village situated along the India-Bangladesh border, by an Indian Air Force helicopter from Guwahati.
The local administration along with local people received the President when he reached the village at noon.
Two people named Marak and Rajat, who met Hamid at the village during the Liberation War, were also present. He talked to them and recollected the memories of those days.
The President also visited the house, where he was staying during that time. He went to a tea stall of Balat Bazar, where he passed his first night after reaching the village, and became emotional.
Talking to the locals, Abdul Hamid said the Balat people sacrificed and suffered a lot for giving shelter to Bangladeshi refugees. “I should have come here much earlier after the independence of Bangladesh, but I failed to do so”
Going down the memory lane, he said, “I reached Balat via Tekarhat, Gumaghat, Panchara and Moilam of Meghalaya to set up the youth reception camp here. I carried out the responsibility for the entire period of the Liberation War.”
He said after the independence, he motivated the Bengalee refugees to return home. “I finally returned to newly independent Bangladesh on January 10, 1972, the day when Bangabandhdu also came home. I still fondly remember those glorious days.”
The President is scheduled to join the ISA summit at Rashtrapati Bhavan Cultural Centre (RBCC) in New Delhi on March 11.