An Emirates SkyCargo flight left for Dubai from Florida with Dutta’s coffin at 6 pm (local time) on Saturday, said his son-in-law Pradeep Dasgupta.
Dutta’s daughter Barrister Chayanika Dutta will accompany his body back to Bangladesh from Dubai. They will reach Dhaka after 8:30 am on Monday.
Meanwhile, Dutta’s son and two other daughters have left New York for Dhaka on a Qatar Airlines flight on Saturday night. They are scheduled to reach Dhaka at 2:30 pm on Monday.
“There was a delay in sending the body back to Bangladesh due to the coronavirus,” said Pradeep.
Dutta will be greeted with state honours after his coffin arrives at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka, said Prof Navendu Bikash Dutta, president of the US branch of Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council.
The coffin may be taken to the Central Shaheed Minar for people to pay homage to the war hero but that has not been finalised yet, said Navendu.
Similarly, the matter of taking Dutta’s coffin to his village home in Habiganj has not been confirmed yet. However, a preliminary decision has been made to cremate his body in Dhaka’s Sabujbagh.
Dutta had been living in New York with his children for the past decade after losing his wife. Late last year, he moved to his daughter’s home in Florida. He fell at the home and was taken to Bethesda Hospital (South) for a leg surgery, where he passed away.
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.
In 1977, he became the chairman of Bangladesh Freedom Fighters Welfare Trust. After serving as the chairman of BRTC for some time in 1979, he was re-appointed as the chairman of Freedom Fighters Welfare Trust. He retired in 1984.
He formed the Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council in 1988 and served as its president until his death.
After the formation of the Sector Commanders Forum, he travelled around Bangladesh demanding the trial of war criminals.