Lt Col (retd) Abu Osman Chowdhury passed away yesterday morning while undergoing treatment at Combined Military Hospital in the capital. He was 85.
He was a veteran freedom fighter and the sector commander for Sector-8 that covered Kushtia, Jashore, Khulna, Barishal, Faridpur and Patuakhali region.
Lt Col (retd) Chowdhury had been suffering from old age ailments for the last few months.
He tested positive for Covid-19 and got admitted to Dhaka CMH on Sunday, said Abul Bashar, personal assistant to Lt Col (retd) Chowdhury.
He tested negative for coronavirus and was receiving treatment at the hospital for other complications.
Abu Osman Chowdhury left behind his two daughters, grandchildren, other relatives and a host of well-wishers.
He was also the vice-chairman of Sector Commanders’ Forum (SCF), a platform of sector commanders in the country’s Liberation War.
Abu Osman Chowdhury’s daughter Nasima Tarique said her father was scheduled to go abroad for better treatment but his physical condition deteriorated from Friday night.
Abu Osman Chowdhury was buried at the Army graveyard at the city’s Banani with state honour. He was shown due honour on behalf of the Army, said Haroon Habib, secretary general of SCF.
Abu Osman Chowdhury was born on January 1, 1936 at Madnergaon village in Faridganj upazila of Chandpur.
After passing BA from Comilla Victoria College, he joined the Pakistan Army in 1958 and got commissioned. In April 1968, he was promoted to Major.
In 1971, Abu Osman Chowdhury was posted in Chuadanga, under Kushtia district as a Major of the Pakistan army and the Commander of 4th Wing East Pakistan Rifles (EPR).
He left for Kushtia with his family on March 23, 1971 to attend an official meeting. He was staying at Kushtia Circuit House on the night of March 25–26 when the news of Operation Searchlight reached him.
Sensing imminent danger, he left Kushtia on early morning of March 26, 1971 and headed to Chuadanga via Jhenaidah while local political workers had already revolted.
Later Bengali soldiers raised the flag of Bangladesh at EPR 4 Wing Headquarter in Chuadanga.
Later the 4th wing of EPR, led by Major Abu Osman Chowdhury and reinforced with Police and Ansar personnel and local youth, attacked 27 Baluch of Pakistan Army stationed at Kushtia and eliminated almost 2 companies.
On 10 April 1971, the Bangladesh government appointed him as the Regional Commander for the South-West.
In late May, Chief of Army Staff MAG Osmani divided the south-west battlefield into two and formed Sectors 8 and 9.
Abu Osman Chowdhury was appointed in charge of Sector 8. Initially, the area of operation of that sector was Kushtia, Jessore, Khulna, Barisal, Faridpur and Patuakhali districts.
On November 7, during the 1975 coup, a group of renegade soldiers went to Abu Osman Chowdhuy’s residence at Gulshan to kill him. Unable to find him, they murdered his wife. He retired from the Bangladesh Army in 1976.
TRIBUTES POUR IN
Tributes and condolences continue to pour in for Abu Osman Chowdhury.
Immediately after the death of Liberation War hero, President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina as well as top leaders of different political parties and other organisations expressed profound shock and sorrow.
In a message of condolence, the president said the nation with profound respect will recall the contribution of Abu Osman Chowdhury to the 1971 Liberation War forever.
The head of the state prayed for eternal peace of the departed soul and conveyed deep sympathy to the bereaved family.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina expressed deep shock and sorrow at the death of the valiant freedom fighter.
In a condolence message, the prime minister with profound respect recalled the outstanding contributions of Abu Osman Chowdhury to the country’s great Liberation War.
“The country and nation have lost a valiant freedom fighter at the death of Abu Osman Chowdhury, and his contributions to the Liberation War will be remembered forever,” she said.
Besides, in separate condolence messages, Jatiya Sangsad Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, Deputy Leader of Parliament Syeda Sajeda Chowdhury, Agriculture Minister Muhammad Abdur Razzaque, Posts and Telecommunications Minister Mustafa Jabbar, Liberation War Affairs Minister AKM Mozammel Haque, State Minister for Civil Aviation and Tourism Mahbub Ali, Sector Commanders Forum, Forum for Secular Bangladesh and Trial of War Criminals of 1971, mourned the death of Osman.