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Lucy Holt, a forgotten friend of Bangladesh

  • Published at 08:19 pm December 25th, 2017
  • Last updated at 02:38 pm January 7th, 2018
Lucy Holt, a forgotten friend of Bangladesh
Soon after the birth of Bangladesh, people came to know about the heroic and sometimes risky stand taken by foreigners who defied threats from Pakistani forces. These brave individuals wholeheartedly supported the people of Bangladesh and extended their help to the freedom fighters and people who needed medicine, food and shelter during the Liberation War of 1971. But what about a British national who had no previous interaction with people from Bangladesh before? Would such an individual risk her own life to support the people of a country she hardly knew? Most of the time, the likely answer will be in the negative. But for Lucy Holt from the UK, this was not the case. Lucy Helen Francis Holt was honored along with 39 other freedom fighters at a ceremony marking the 47th occasion of Victory Day by Barisal Metropolitan Police. She came to then East Pakistan in 1950, aged just 20, and stayed back due to her love for the people.
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During the Liberation War, she worked in Jessore's Fatema Hospital to treat injured freedom fighters and the common people. Through her letters which she sent to her mother and sister back home, she informed them about the atrocities carried out by the Pakistani army during the war and tried to gather public sympathy for the people of Bangladesh. She also resisted pressure from her family and friends to go back to the UK. In her letters, she also praised Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and his wife. [caption id="attachment_236136" align="aligncenter" width="800"] Lucy Holt was honored along with 39 other freedom fighters at a ceremony marking the 47th occasion of Victory Day by Barisal Metropolitan Police Dhaka Tribune[/caption] She is still in possession of a letter signed by Sheikh Rehana dated August 20, 1973. Lucy did not show the letters which she had in her possession to anyone for 47 years. Her contributions were not recorded officially anywhere. She did not get any award for her efforts either. However, she is facing difficulties to spend Tk38,000 annually to renew her visa. Former deputy commissioner of Barisal Dr Gazi Md Saifuzzaman gave her assurance of solving the visa renewal issue, but no known steps have been taken in this regard as yet. She is carrying out her humanitarian activities throughout the country and hopes to breathe her last here. Talking about Lucy's Bangladeshi citizenship, District Commissioner Md Habibur Rahman told this correspondent that Bangladesh and Britain have an agreement regarding dual citizenship. He too gave assurance to look into the matter. Many newspapers have written about her and a lot of organizations have wanted to honor her contributions. Unfortunately, no steps have been taken to resolve the issue of Lucy getting citizenship of Bangladesh or waiving Tk38,000 she has to spend for visa renewal.
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