Mumbai, March 20: The 1971 India-Pakistan war hero, Captain M.N. Samant of the Indian Navy, who helped set up the foundation of the Bangladesh Navy, passed away here on Wednesday following cardiac arrest, an official said.
Capt. Samant, 89, who breathed his last at the Bharatiya Arogya Nidhi Hospital in Juhu. He is survived by his wife Nirmala and daughters Ujjwala, Natasha and Meghna. His funeral will be held at the Vile Parle Crematorium on Friday with military honours, said a Defence Ministry official.
After the 1971 war, which saw East Pakistan’s birth as a new country Bangladesh, Samant helped the fledgling Bangladesh Navy to expand. Decorated with Mahavir Chakra for his role in the 1971 war, Samant was the Senior Officer of a force comprising vessels which carried out daring and highly successful attacks on the enemy in Mongla and Khulna ports in the erstwhile East Pakistan.
Manoeuvring his brave men in the squadron through an extremely hazardous territory and unfamiliar route, Samant caught the enemy by total surprise in Mongla port and inflicted heavy losses on their forces. He then attacked the enemy forces strongly entrenched on Khulna Port. In the bitter battle that followed, Samant’s forces were subjected to incessant air attacks. Two boats belonging to the Mukti Bahini of Bangladesh, which were operating with the Indian forces, were sunk.
But disregarding his personal safety, Samant managed to rescue a large number of survivors while simultaneously continuing the attack on the enemy.