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Chitta Ranjan Dutta
File:Chitta Ranjan Dutta.jpg
Native name চিত্তরঞ্জন দত্ত
Born (1927-01-01)1 January 1927
Died 24 August 2020(2020-08-24) (aged 93)
Place of birth Shillong, Assam, British India
Place of death Boca Raton, Florida, USA
  •  Bangladesh
  •  Pakistan (before 1971)
Years of service
Rank Major General
Unit Wilde's Rifles(PIF)
Commands held
  • Director General of BGB
  • BDF Sector 4; Sector Commander
Awards Bir Uttom

Chitta Ranjan Dutta, Bir Uttom (also known as C R Dutta; 1 January 1927 – 24 August 2020)[1] was a Bangladeshi war hero who served as Major-General of the Bangladesh Army. He was a key sector commander of the Mukti Bahini during the Bangladesh Liberation War. After independence, he served as the armed forces commander in Rangpur and later went on to become the first Director-General of the Bangladesh Rifles (present-day Border Guards Bangladesh) in 1973.

Dutta was a prominent minority rights advocate in Bangladesh. He was also the president of the Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council.

Early life

Dutta was born on 1 January 1927 to Upendra Chandra Dutta and Labanyaprabha Dutta.[2] The ancestral village of Dutta of Mirashi was in erstwhile Sylhet district, presently in Chunarughat Upazila of Habiganj District in Sylhet Division of Bangladesh. His father was a police officer posted in Shillong, the then capital of Assam in British India and so he was born in Shillong. He started his schooling in Laban Government High School in Shillong, but moved to Habiganj after second grade. In 1944, he appeared for Entrance from Habiganj Government High School. Later he took admission at Asutosh College of the University of Calcutta in science. However, he left Asutosh College and completed his B.Sc. from Daulatpur College in Khulna.[2]

Army career

In 1947, Dutta joined the British Indian Army from the last unified batch of the Indian Military Academy. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant in a Piffer unit with a majority of Pathan jawans. He was one of the few Hindu officers to opt for Pakistan Army. During the 1950s & 1960s, he commanded a Rifles Platoon, served as Adjutant of a Rifle Company (1954–57), Adjutant of an Infantry Battalion (1957–58) and commanded an Infantry Company as Major (1958–60), but did not get command of a Combat Arms Battalion as was the unofficial practice in Pakistan Army toward Hindu officers. For a time he was the Brigade Major in a Frontier Corps Brigade based in Peshawar and then the Principal of the East Pakistan Rifles Training Depot (1962–64). During the 1965 Indo-Pakistan War, then Lt. Col Dutta served as a Battalion Commander in the East Pakistan Rifles. Between 1968 and 1970, he was Colonel (General Staff - Ops) of the Gilgit Scouts in Skardu. In 1970, Colonel Dutta was serving as GSO-II (Admin-QM) of the 12th Infantry Division at Quetta.[3] In January 1971, he had taken a three-month leave and was staying at his Habiganj residence.[4] After Mujibur Rahman's 7 March speech, Dutta mentally prepared himself for a possible war. However, as the Pakistani occupation army launched the Operation Searchlight, Dutta wasn't initially aware of the widespread repression and torture. At that time he attended a meeting of the political leaders at the house of his neighbour Colonel Abdur Rab.[3] Following the meeting, Dutta decided to fight for the independence of Bangladesh. During the Bangladesh Liberation War, Dutta became the sector commander of Sector 4, which covered the whole of the present Sylhet Division and some of adjoining areas.[4] After the war, in 1972, Dutta was appointed as brigade commander in Rangpur.[2] In 1973, formed the Bangladesh Rifles. He became the first Director General of Bangladesh Rifles.[2]

Rights advocacy

The liberation war of Bangladesh was fought on the principles of Bengali nationalism. The 1972 Constitution of Bangladesh included the principles of the democracy, secularism, socialism and Bengali nationalism at the four pillars of the nation. After the assassination of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, successive military regimes gradually removed the founding principles by Islamic principles. On 9 June 1988, Islam was declared as the state religion of Bangladesh. Major General (Retd.) Chitta Ranjan Dutta along with minority leaders from other communities founded the Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council.

Since the foundation, Dutta served as the President of the organization in uninterrupted manner. As the president Dutta fought tirelessly for the rights of the minorities. Dutta campaigned for the return of the properties confiscated using the Vested Property Act to their rightful owners.[5] Dutta was also vocal on removal of Islam as the state religion of Bangladesh and supported the restoration of 1972 Constitution of Bangladesh.[6]


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