He had performed all his duties with utmost sincerity and bravery.
After the 1965 India-Pakistan war, the then Pakistan government rewarded him for his courageous contributions as he played the lead role in retaking Asalong Mouja, a place in Chattogram Hill Tracts, from the Indian army.
This was the first battle of his military life.
In the second battle, Chitta Ranjan Dutta was the commander of Sector 4 during the country’s Liberation War and freed the country from the Pakistan occupation army.
The war hero was awarded “Bir Uttam” for his gallantry during the war.
Major General (retd) Chitta Ranjan Dutta, widely known as CR Dutta, Bir Uttam, who was the lighthouse of non-communalism, passed away in the US yesterday. He was 93.
The veteran freedom fighter who served in the top post of different government organisations, including Bangladesh Rifles (now BGB), breathed his last at 9:30am (Bangladesh time) at a Florida hospital.
In a press release, Bangladesh Hindu-Bouddha-Christian Oikya Parishad said CR Dutta had been suffering from various old-age complications.
Quoting his daughter Kabita Dasgupta as saying, Rana Dasgupta, general secretary of the organisation, said one of CR Dutta’s legs was broken after he fell on Friday.
He was rushed to a hospital in Florida and had been kept on life support since Monday as his condition deteriorated, Rana said, adding that CR Dutta was living with Kabita in Florida.
In a message, CR Dutta’s son Dr Chiranjit Dutta said his father died from surgical complications.
The war veteran had played an important role in holding trials of war criminals and establishing a secular Bangladesh.
He had been the founding president of Bangladesh Hindu-Bouddha-Christian Oikya Parishad, a platform of different religious minority groups, until his death.
CR Dutta, who was the founding director general of the now-defunct Bangladesh Rifles in 1973, left behind two daughters, a son, and a host of relatives and well-wishers to mourn his death.
He also served as the chairman of Bangladesh Muktijoddha Kalyan Trust and Bangladesh Road Transport Authority and led various significant roles during his tenure to develop two key organisations of the government.
In 1927, CR Dutta was born to his parents Upendra Chandra Dutta and Labanyaprabha Dutta in Shillong, capital of Meghalaya state in India, where his father was posted as a police officer.
After completing his primary education there, CR Dutta returned to his ancestral village in Habiganj’s Chunarughat upazila.
After finishing his secondary school certificate exams, he joined the then Pakistan army, Bangladesh Hindu-Bouddha-Christian Oikya Parishad said in the release.
He entered the army in 1951 and a few days later, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant.
During the 1965 India-Pakistan War, then Lt Col CR Dutta served as a battalion commander in the East Pakistan Rifles.
In the war, the Indian army captured Asalong Mouja in Chattogram Hill Tracts. But the Pakistan army re-captured it under the leadership of CR Dutta as the company commander, said Bangladesh Hindu-Bouddha-Christian Oikya Parishad.
The then Pakistan government rewarded him for his courageous contribution to the war in Asalong.
During the Liberation War, CR Dutta became the commander of Sector 4, which covered the whole area of Sylhet division and some adjoining areas.
After the war, he was made the brigade commander in Rangpur in 1972.
In 1973, the government felt the need to form a border guard force for independent Bangladesh and gave the responsibility to him.
He later formed a border guard force and it was named Bangladesh Rifles, which is now Border Guard Bangladesh.
The city street from Katabon to Karwan Bazar Signal was named after Bir Uttam CR Dutta.
Immediately after the war hero’s death, people from all walks of life expressed their shock and sent condolences.
President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina led the obituary to mourn the demise of war veteran CR Dutta while ministers, state ministers, distinguished personalities, top leaders of different political parties, various political, social, cultural, economic and religious organisations expressed deep shock at his death.
In a condolence message, President Abdul Hamid expressed profound shock and sorrow at the death of Major General (retd) CR Dutta, Bir Uttam.
He recalled with due respect the outstanding contribution of the Liberation War hero and said, “The nation will remember CR Dutta, Bir Uttam, forever.”
In a separate condolence message, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said, “The country as well as the nation will remember your outstanding contribution to the Liberation War with due respect.”
Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, a number of cabinet members including Liberation War Affairs Minister AKM Mozammel Haque, Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal, Industries Minister Nurul Majid Mahmud Humayun, and Bangladesh Puja Udjapon Parishad, among others, expressed deep shock, prayed for eternal peace of the departed soul and conveyed profound sympathy to the bereaved family.
They described the war hero as a lighthouse of non-communalism. He worked to maintain communal harmony throughout his life. His death is an immense loss, they said.
Rana Dasgupta, general secretary of Bangladesh Hindu-Bouddha-Christian Oikya Parishad, said they were trying to bring back CR Dutta’s body home within a week and sought cooperation from the government in this regard.
“CR Dutta’s last wish was to be brought back to Bangladesh after his death,” said Rana, quoting his daughter Kabita as saying.