President Ram Nath Kovind to visit Ramna Kali Temple, destroyed by Pakistan Army in 1971, in Dhaka | India News

New Delhi: President Ram Nath Kovind will be visiting the historic ‘Ramna Kali’ temple in Dhaka during his visit to Bangladesh for the 50th Victory Day celebrations. 

This historic temple, which dates back to the Mughal era, was destroyed by the Pakistani Army in March 1971 in an attempt to curb the Bangladesh liberation war. 

The temple, notably, was destroyed by the Pakistani army under its “Operation Searchlight” which saw lakhs of locals in the then East Pakistan being killed, including many members of the minority Hindu community.

In 2017, during the then external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj’s Bangladesh visit, it was announced that India will help reconstruct the temple. 

The temple, before its destruction, was Dhaka’s key religious and cultural heritage. During Bangladesh’s founding father Sheikh Mukibur Rahman’s famous address of March 7 1971, the temple could be seen in the background in several photos. 

The landmark speech was essentially a clarion call for the Independence of the country from West Pakistan and was delivered at the ‘Ramna Race Course maidan’ in the city.

President Kovind will be in Dhaka from December 15 to 17 and will be the chief guest at the Victory Day celebrations on December 16. The parade includes a 122-member tri-service contingent from the Indian armed forces. 

On the first day of the visit, he will pay tributes at the National Martyrs’ Memorial in Savar. His program also includes meeting with the Muktijoddhas or Bangladeshis who took up arms to free the country.

This is the President’s first-ever visit abroad since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Earlier in March this year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had also visited the country as part of his first foreign travel amid the coronavirus crisis. 

2021, notably, marks the Golden Jubilee of Bangladesh’s independence, 50 years of the establishment of diplomatic relations between India and Bangladesh and the birth centenary of Bangabandhu — Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. 

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