Item 12.3 - Attachment 1
Report on Dhaka City Corporation
names a Road in Dhaka after A W S Ouderland
DHAKA CITY CORPORATION NAMES
A ROAD IN DHAKA AFTER OUDERLAND, AN AUSTRALIAN WHO
FOUGHT THE LIBERATION WAR IN BANGLADESH
During his recent visit to
Bangladesh Councillor Prabir Maitra of Parramatta City Council and Australian
citizen and resident of Canberra Mr. Kamrul Ahsan Khan who is also the convener
of Ouderland memorial committee met the Mayor of Dhaka City Corporation and
requested him to name a road in Dhaka after Late Ouderland a Dutch-Australian
who fought the liberation war in Bangladesh in 1971.
After the discussion, the City
Mayor immediately ordered staff to arrange a day to name the road in Gulshan
area (diplomatic area) of Dhaka City where the Australian High Commission in Bangladesh is
located after late Ouderland. Councillor Maitra left Bangladesh
on the 6th February.
In the picture: from left Mr. Kamrul Ahsan Khan,
Dhaka City Mayor Mr. Sadeque Hossain Khoka and Councillor Prabir Maitra†
On the 12th of
February, 2010 the Dhaka City Corporation named Road 84, Gulshan adjoining the
Australian High Commission in honour of Late A W S Ouderland, Bir Pratik (is one of the highest
gallantry award in Bangladesh).
Ouderland, a Netherlands born Australian national actively
participated in the Bangladesh
liberation war whilst working as the Managing Director of Bata Shoe Company in Dhaka. A former Second World War veteran, Ouderland took
up arms, trained Mukti bahini (freedom fighters) members and gave shelter to
many freedom fighters in the Bata Shoe factory premises. In recognition of his
extraordinary contribution to the liberation war, Ouderland was awarded one of
the highest gallantry award Bir Pratik, the only foreigner to receive this
Mayor of Dhaka City Corporation,
Sadeque Hossain Khoka unveiled the street signage on 12th February
in presence of the Australian High Commissioner to Bangladesh
Mr Justin Lee and several Australians, members of the civil society and
Bangladeshi born Australians, now living in Dhaka.
The programme was coordinated by Mr Kamrul Ahsan Khan, convenor of the
Ouderland Memorial Committee. Among others present were Dutch High Ambassador
to Bangladesh Alfons Heinekien, Lt General (retd) Harunur Rashid BP, Secretary
General of the Sector Commandersí Forum, Mirza Shamsuzzaman and Barrister
Harunur Rashid, former Ambassadors, Major General (retd) Jamil Hassan, Major
General (retd) Masudur Rahman, Bir PratikMa Hamid, media personality, singer
and cultural personality Dr Chanchal Khan, National sports personality,
Quamrunnahar Dana, and a representative from Bata Shoe Mr Iftikhar Haider.
The speakers lauded the role of
late Ouderland and appreciated the contribution of Australian people during the
liberation war. Ouderland died in 2001 in Perth,
was laid to rest with full national honour given by the Bangladesh government under the arrangement by
the Bangladesh High Commission in Australia.
William AS Ouderland (6 December 1917-18 May 2001) was a Dutch
Australian commando officer. He actively took part in the World War II and the Bangladesh
Liberation War. Later, he was awarded with the fourth highest gallantry award, Bir
Pratik by the government of Bangladesh.
He is the only foreigner to receive this honorary award.
Ouderland came to Dhaka in 1970 as the Production Manager of the Bata Shoe
Company. During the earlier half of 1971, Ouderland was appointed as the
Executive Director of the company in Tongi, Dhaka.
On 25 March 1971, rising political discontent and cultural nationalism in East
Pakistan was met by brutal suppressive force from the ruling elite of the West Pakistan establishment in what came to be termed Operation
Searchlight. He was moved by the killings of the Pakistan Army on 25 March and
took photos which he sent to the international media. A war between the West
Pakistan Army and guerrilla force, the Mukti Bahini, started immediately.
Guerrilla operations, which slacked during the training phase, picked up after
August. Economic and Military targets in Dhaka
were attacked. Ouderland organized the guerrilla warfare in Dhaka.
Inside his office of the Bata
Company in Tongi, Ouderland organized and trained the guerrilla fighters of
Mukti Bahini. He planned and directed a number of guerrilla operations in Dhaka and nearby areas. He provided the fighters with
food and medicine and often gave them shelter.