Dhaka, Mar 26 (PTI) Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday paid homage to the martyrs of the 1971 Bangladesh War of Independence against Pakistan and said they devoted their life towards 'preserving righteousness and resisting injustice'.
Army bugles played the Last Post as the Bangladesh national flag was hoisted at half mast in a ceremonial manner as Modi stood in solemn silence in front of the National Martyr's memorial at Savar, about 35 km north-west of Dhaka, after placing a wreath.
'At the National Martyrs' Memorial, paid homage to the valorous martyrs of Bangladesh. Their struggles and sacrifices are inspiring. They devoted their life towards preserving righteousness and resisting injustice,' the prime minister tweeted in both English and Bengali languages.
'Also planted an Arjuna Tree sapling,' he added.
Designed by structural engineer and architect Syed Mainul Hossain, the memorial at Savar comprises seven pairs of triangular-shaped walls -- each representing a significant chapter in Bangladesh's history, including the 1952 'Bhasha Andolan' (Language Movement) -- through which Bangladesh became an independent nation from Pakistan.
“I pay my heartfelt tribute to the patriotic martyrs of Bangladesh whose glorious sacrifices enabled the birth of this great Nation. May every visitor to this revered ground honour the sacred memory of the millions who were slain but not silenced. Their valour will continue to inspire future generations to fight injustice and defend the cause of righteousness,' Modi wrote in the visitor's book at the memorial.
“On behalf of the people of India, I pray that the eternal flame at Savar remains a lasting reminder of the noble victory of truth and courage over deceit and oppression,” he wrote.
On reaching the memorial, Modi planted a sapling of the Arjuna tree 'to commemorate sacrifices of the patriotic martyrs of Bangladesh', the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) tweeted.
'This sapling has been planted as a mark of respect for the valorous martyrs of Bangladesh,' the Prime Minister's Office tweeted.
In another tweet, the PMO said, in the same complex, the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had also planted a sapling during his Bangladesh visit in 1999. Vajpayee had planted a sapling of Cape jasmine that time.
Sharing a picture of Modi laying the wreath at the memorial, the Ministry of External Affairs tweeted, 'Prime Minister @narendramodi paying solemn tribute at the National Martyr’s Memorial to the brave-hearts of the Liberation War of Bangladesh, for their great sacrifices.' Later, Modi met political leaders from the ruling Grand Alliance as well as the opposition parties.
In a statement, the MEA said the prime minister, as part of his two-day visit to Bangladesh, met political leaders from 14 Party Alliance along with the Convener.
'Discussions centred on diverse issues of bilateral relations were held during the meeting to strengthen ties between the two nations,' it said.
The PM also interacted with opposition leaders from various political parties of Bangladesh. The engagement involved discussions on a wide gamut of issues pertaining to the two countries' bilateral relations, the MEA said.
Modi also met the community leaders, including representatives of minorities and 'Mukhtijoddhas' -- the fighters of the Bangladesh Liberation War.
Eminent young achievers from different walks of life interacted with the prime minister in Dhaka.
During his visit to Bangladesh, Modi will attend the celebrations of the golden jubilee of the country's independence, the birth centenary of ‘Bangabandhu’ Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and hold talks with his counterpart Sheikh Hasina.
Modi, who is visiting Bangladesh on his first trip to a foreign country since the outbreak of the coronavirus, was received by Prime Minister Hasina at Dhaka's Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport upon his arrival.
A salute of 19 guns and Guard of honour were accorded to Prime Minister Modi at the airport. PTI AR/SCY AKJ SCY SCY