Home Bangladesh IFC pays tribute to Atiqur Rahman Salu
Bangladesh - December 7, 2023

IFC pays tribute to Atiqur Rahman Salu

Staff Correspondent: The International Farakka Committee (IFC) is deeply saddened by the sudden demise of Atiqur Rahman Salu, a valiant freedom fighter, leader of Bangladesh’s water-environment movement and Chairman of IFC. Salu had been suffering from cancer and breathed his last on December 5 at a hospital in New Jersey, USA at 6:00pm Bangladesh time while undergoing treatment for pneumonia.

In a joint statement, the IFC leaders said, “One of the leaders of the 11-point student movement of 1969, general secretary of East Pakistan Biplabi Chhatra Union, reader of the Swadhin Purba Bangla resolution on February 22, 1970 at Paltan Maidan, a student leader enjoying blessings of Maulana Abdul Hamid Khan Bhasani and leader of Bangladesh community in the United States, Atiqur Rahman Salu has given a new dimension to the river-water rights movement of Bangladesh.”

Under his leadership, IFC organised three international seminars and view-exchange meetings in Dhaka with water experts and activists from Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan to build public opinion and linkages among different peoples of the subcontinent to ensure sustainable management of Himalayan rivers. Because of his efforts, the national political leaders of Bangladesh came on the same stage at numerous national discussion-meetings and spoke to protect the river-water rights. And the protection of river-water rights became a national demand.

Under his leadership, an IFC delegation presented to an Indian Assembly of Expert in New Delhi and to former Chief Minister of Kolkata Jyoti Basu the urgency of keeping the common rivers – source of 90 percent fresh water – alive to protect the physical existence and environment of world’s largest delta, Bangladesh. IFC delegations met the members of the US Congress, Chinese leaders in their capital Beijing and the 6th Committee of the United Nations to mobilise world opinion in favour of protecting the river water-rights of Bangladesh.

It is to be noted that the Ganges, the Brahmaputra and the Meghna coming down the Himalayas flow through Bangladesh into the sea. If the natural flow of rivers continues to be denied, irreparable damage to the environment, lives and livelihoods of the people of Bangladesh cannot be stopped. As in the Ganges-dependent Khulna region, the Teesta-Brahmaputra-dependent northern region and the Meghna-dependent eastern region will also face damage to agriculture, fisheries, agro-industry, industry, commerce, biodiversity and ecosystem. The number of environmentally displaced people will increase alarmingly.

Under the leadership of Atiqur Rahman Salu, imbued with the ideology of Maulana Bhasani, a river-environment rally of at least five lakh people was held in Chilmari after a long march from Dhaka On May 4, 2005. The IFC leaders and workers of the Teesta basin actively assisted in this. Such a large environmental rally of ordinary people has never been held anywhere else in the world.

The IFC leaders paid tribute to the memory of Atiqur Rahman Salu, vowed to continue his unfinished work and conveyed their condolences to his widow Farida Eusofzai and other members of the bereaved family. They urged the people to pray for the peace of his soul. 

The statement was signed by IFC New York Secretary General Syed Tipu Sultan, Joint Secretary General Mohammad Hossain Khan, IFC Bangladesh President Professor Jashim Uddin Ahmad, General Secretary Syed Irfanul Bari and IFC Coordinator Mostafa Kamal Majumder.

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