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Chittagong armoury raid hero Chowdhury is dead

Kolkata,Diaspora,Human Interest/Society, Thu, 11 Apr 2013 IANS

Kolkata, April 11 (IANS) Legendary revolutionary Binod Bihari Chowdhury, the sole surviving raider of the Chittagong armoury in 1930, an event that shook the British Raj, has died, his family said Thursday. He was 103.

Chowdhury passed away Wednesday night in a Kolkata hospital following multiple organ failure, grandson Soumya Surva told IANS.

Chowdhury also took part in the Bengali language movement in 1952 besides playing a key role in planning the 1971 Bangladesh liberation war.

The widower leaves behind his grandson and a daughter-in-law. Both his sons pre-deceased him.

He will be cremated Friday in Bangladesh with full state honours, Suvra said.

Chowdhury was a member of the Indian Republican Army led by Surjya Sen - affectionately called Masterda - which raided the Chittagong armoury April 18, 1930, and proclaimed independence by setting up a provisional revolutionary government before the British brutally crushed the uprising.

Led by Sen and Ganesh Ghosh, Chowdhury and his comrades attacked two armouries and moved up to the Jalalabad hills on the outskirts of Chittagong - now in Bangladesh - to combat the advancing British troops.

"We starved for more than two days as there was no ration," Chowdhury had told IANS in an interview two years back.

Chowdhury was critically wounded in the fight with the British forces on April 22, 1930,

"When I received a critical bullet injury in my throat, I told my comrades to kill me to avoid capture that could have led to problems for the remaining comrades.

"One of my friends said 'let me kill you to save you from pain'. But it was the senior comrades who decided to keep me alive," Choudhury had said.

After most of his comrades were either arrested or killed, Chowdhury gave himself up before the British police in 1934.

He was released in 1938 and joined the Congress and rose to become a member of its Bengal provincial committee.

He decided to stay back in then East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) when India became independent and the country was partitioned.

In 1947, he was elected a member of the then East Pakistan Provincial Assembly and served a few years in jail before Bangladesh emerged as an independent nation.

A Master of arts and a law graduate, Chowdhury never joined politics in independent Bangladesh but played a prominent role in the country's cultural, social and rights movements from his residence in Chittagong.

He commanded tremendous respect, and the doors of his Momin Road residence remained open 24/7, as scores of people visited him daily for help and to seek advice on lot of matters.

He kept shuttling between India and Bangladesh as his sons shifted to near Kolkata.

Widely feted, he received Bangladesh's highest civilian award "Swadhinata padak" in 2000 for his role in the country's Liberation War.

Among other awards were the Bhorer Kagoj Sammanona-1998, Janakantha Gunijan Sammanona-1999, Shaheed Notun Chandra Smrity Padak.

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