As Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina recollected India's major contribution in the liberation war of that nation during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit, many netizens took to social media to post photos of the Mercedes car that India got as war booty.
The black Mercedes Benz car, which was being used by Lieutenant General Amir Abdullah Khan Niazi of Pakistan's military commander in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), is now part of Eastern Army commander's fleet and is housed at its headquarters at Fort William, Kolkata.
Following the surrender by Pakistan before Indian Army in 1971 Bangladesh liberation war, the car was driven from Dhaka to Kolkata. The car reportedly went to Dhaka airport to receive the then Indian Eastern Army Commander Lieutenant General JS Aurora before whom the historic surrender was signed on December 16 in 1971.
Emotional connection between Bangladesh war heroes & Mercedes car
The car is a symbol of victory of Bangladeshi liberation war heroes on whom Lt Gen AA Khan Niazi ordered crackdown as fought for a separate nation, carving out of Pakistan. Used by the Pakistani officer known for his dismissal to demand for a separate Bengali speaking nation, the Mercedes car is a sign of tyranny unleashed on the Muktijodhas, as the Bangladesh war heroes are known.
Muktijodhas recall how Pakistani officer enjoyed luxury and a lavish life as people died on the streets of Bangladesh under the Martial law imposed by the Pakistani authorities.
Pakistan Army officers enjoyed luxury as people were killed
"In 1971, few Indians could have thought of owning a Mercedes. Even today, India's military chiefs are not allotted vehicles such as these. Fifty years ago, Indian Army chief Gen (later Field Marshal) SHFJ Manekshaw had an Ambassador as his staff car," Times of India quoted an official saying.
There is one leser known relationship between Lt Gen Niazi and the Mercedes car. When it was brought to Kolkata following India's victory, its erstwhile owner was also brought to Kolkata and put up at the historic Kitchener House at Fort William.
The 1940 model vintage car is not the only luxury car that India got as war trophy. There were several other high-value cars found lying abandoned near the Pakistan Army cantonments and garrisons in Bangladesh.