Victory Flame reaches BSF Kolkata headquarters as force's role in 1971 War is celebrated

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KOLKATA: The Border Security Force (BSF) played a key role in the 1971 Indo-Pak War leading to the liberation of Bangladesh but was never accorded the kind of recognition it deserved during Vijay Diwas celebrations to mark the occasion.
No wonder, emotions ran high on Monday when the Victory Flame reached the South Bengal Frontier headquarters of the BSF at Rajarhat after being taken to formations of the Army, Navy and Air Force.
Soon after India's victory in the 1971 War, then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi wrote to F J Rustamji - founding father of the BSF - regarding the fledgling force's achievements. "As the first line of our defence, the Border Security Force had to bear the immediate brunt of the enemy onslaught. The manner in which they faced enemy fire and the support they gave to the Army has played a crucial role in our ultimate success," she wrote.
The BSF was then barely six years old but was baptised by fire. Despite heavy odds, the troops returned fire against the heavily armed enemy, allowing the Army to cross over the International Border.
"The Victory Flame or Vijay Mashaal was lit by the Prime Minister ln December 16, 2020. The BSF's South Bengal Frontier accorded a warm welcome to Colonel Partha A. Pathradu CO, 20 Madras, Major Hage Kapa and other troops who carried the flame to our headquarters. In the 1971 War, the BSF trained members of the Mukti Bahini and also played an important role in preparing the scramble of the conflict. During the War, 125 BSF jawans sacrified their lives, 392 were injured and 133 were lost/missing. Twenty three battalions of the BSF participated in the War and 12 officers and jawans were declared war heroes. The BSF received 2 Padma Bhushans, 2 Padma Shris, a Param Vishisht Seva Medal, a Mahavirchakra and an Ati Vishisht Seva Medal. The BSF also received 11 Veer Chakras, 46 Army Medals, five Vishisht Seva Medals, 44 Mentions in Dispatches and 63 other awards," a senior BSF official said.
Ashwani Kumar, IG, BSF, South Bengal Frontier, welcomed the Swarnim Vijay Mashaal and handed it back to Major Kapa after the event. Several people were present as the role of the BSF was highlighted.

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