Retired Maj Gen CR Dutta was the sector-4 commander during the liberation war. He was the senior vice president of Sector Commanders’ Forum and founder president of Bangladesh Hindu-Buddhist-Christian Unity Council.
Wrapped in the national flag, Dutta’s coffin was taken to the Dhakeshwari Temple on Tuesday morning under the supervision of Bangladesh Army. He was accorded a state guard of honour in the presence of Dhaka Deputy Commissioner Shahidul Islam.
After the guard of honour, the Ministry of Liberation War Affairs placed a wreath on his coffin.
War-time fellows and former colleagues came to pay their last respects to Dutta. People from different political parties and organisations also paid their homage.
CR Dutta’s coffin wrapped in a national flag at the Dhakeshwari Temple.
“He always dreamed about a better Bangladesh. He fought for the country under adverse circumstances,” Chiranjit Dutta, son of CR Dutta, told reporters.
“He dreamed of a secular Bangladesh that nurtures communal harmony and worked throughout his life to ensure it. He had no regret but loved the country to the fullest.”
“All his dreams were to ensure the development of Bangladesh,” said Chayanika Dutta, one of his daughters.
Other daughters Mahua Dutta and Kabita Dasgupta also shared their fond memories with their father.
Dutta had been living in New York with his children for the past decade after losing his wife. He moved to his daughter’s home in Florida in 2019.
He fell at the home and was taken to Bethesda Hospital (South) for a leg surgery, where he passed away on Aug 25 at the age of 95.
The coffin was kept at the mortuary at the Combined Military Hospital after it arrived in Dhaka on Monday. On Tuesday morning, his body was taken to the Dhakeshwari Temple for a public homage.
Awami League Joint Secretary General Mahbub-ul-Alam Hanif paid his tribute to the war hero on behalf of his party.
Chiranjit Dutta, son of CR Dutta.
“He was not only a freedom fighter but also an organiser. He provided the necessary direction and played a vital role during any emergency situation in the country. The nation will always remember his courageous role during the war of independence. They will remember him for his unique role in following the dream of Father of the Nation—to establish a secular Bangladesh,” he said.
Bangladesh Puja Udjapan Parishad and Mohanagar Sarbajanin Puja Committee placed wreaths on Dutta’s coffin and paid their homage.
Other organisations who came to pay their tribute were Bangladesh Mohila Oikya Parishad, Hindu Dharmiyo Kalyan Trust, Bangladesh Hindu-Buddhist-Christian Unity Council, Bangabandhu Sangskritik Jote and Bangladesh Shikkhak Oikya Parishad.
“CR Dutta always performed the duties given to him with full integrity and honesty. His patriotism and sincerity were incomparable,” said Rana Dasgupta, general secretary of Bangladesh Hindu-Buddhist-Christian Unity Council.
“When General Ershad tried to make Islam as the state religion and create disparity among the people in the country in a bid to strengthen his military power, it was CR Dutta who protested. He protested anytime he saw untruthfulness or disparity.”
CR Dutta’s daughter Chayanika Dutta.
“We can turn our dream that religion is for individuals but the state is for everyone into reality if we follow the ideology of CR Dutta.”
Dutta, a sector commander of the 1971 Liberation War, was born in India’s Assam on Jan 1, 1927. His father was a police officer in the state. Later, his family permanently moved to Habiganj in Bangladesh. Dutta completed his secondary education from Habiganj Government High School and received his BSc degree from Daulatpur College in Khulna.
He joined the Pakistan Army in 1951 and was commissioned as a second lieutenant within a few days. He fought for Pakistan in the Indo-Pakistan War of 1965 as the commander of a company in Asalong. The Pakistani government subsequently rewarded him for his heroic contributions.
Dutta was on a holiday in Bangladesh during the 1971 Liberation War. He joined the war after being inspired by Bangabandhu’s March 7 speech. He was appointed as the commander of Sector No. 4 in Sylhet.
After taking charge, he built his first camp in Rashidpur. Dutta later left the area and set up a camp in Moulvibazar.
Dutta had developed a resentment towards the Pakistani rulers while serving in the Pakistan Army. He wanted to deal with his anger through fighting in the Liberation War.
He was awarded the title of ‘Bir Uttam’ after independence.
In 1973, Dutta was given the responsibility of forming a border security force for an independent Bangladesh.
He came up with the name for Bangladesh Rifles, now known as Border Guard Bangladesh. He was appointed as the first director-general of Bangladesh Rifles.