Biju Patnaik commemorated in Indonesia; Odisha fails to send delegation

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Bhubaneswar: While BJD is clamoring for Bharat Ratna for former Odisha CM Biju Patnaik and has also criticized the Central government for not allocating funds for Biju centenary celebrations, it seems to have forgotten the importance of March 1 in the statesman’s legacy. While, March 1 was celebrated as the National Service Day in Indonesia to commemorate Biju Patnaik’s contribution in the country’s freedom movement, a researcher on the subject has alleged that there has been no representation from the BJD in the celebration despite repeated reminders.

“I have repeatedly approached the ruling BJD for the past three years saying that it also our duty to send a representative or a delegation to Indonesia. However, it’s unfortunate that they have not acted on the same,” said war historian Anil Dhir, who is writing a book on Biju Patnaik’s Kalinga Airlines.

Notably, in 1946, Biju Patnaik was asked by Nehru to help the Indonesian freedom fighters by sending medicine and humanitarian assistance. Biju Patnaik’s Kalinga Airlines which had a dozen Dakota planes was pressed into service for the mission. However, on March 1, 1948, the Dutch army gunned down one Dakota plane bearing name Douglas C-47B-20-Dakota and call number VT-CLA. The shooting down of this plane is acknowledged as a turning point in the freedom struggle of the country. Since, 1979, the Indonesian government celebrates March 1 as the Service Day in commemoration.

“There is museum where the crashed remain of the Dakota plane is preserved and Biju Babu’s contribution in the freedom movement of the country is written in bold letters on the walls along with his photograph,” said Dhir.
In response to the allegations of not sending a representative to the memorial celebrations in Indonesia, BJD spokesperson Captain Dibyashankar Mishra said, “We have held discussions and a team has been constituted which will visit Indonesia to spread the Biju ideology.”

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