Chennai, Jul 30 (PTI) Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin on Friday paid rich tributes to the 1971 war heroes whose supreme sacrifice earned a big victory to India and said it was a "historical coincidence" that the DMK which was in power then, is now participating in the golden jubilee of the victory.

Hailing the sacrifice of the brave officers and soldiers who had fought to liberate then East Pakistan, Stalin said their families too deserved commendation as they had prepared the men to sacrifice for the country.

Participating in the celebrations marking the 50th anniversary of the Indian armed forces' victory (Swarnim Vijay Varsh) here, the chief minister recalled that during the December 1971 war, his father and late Dravidian stalwart M Karunanidhi was the chief minister.

"Now our DMK is in power to celebrate India's victory. It is sheer historical coincidence," Stalin said.

The then chief minister abruptly wound up his official overseas trip and rushed to the state when he heard about the war with Pakistan.

"Kalaignar (as Karunanidhi is addressed) was to have attended a reception hosted for him at Kalaivanar Arangam. But he converted the occasion into a meeting to condemn Pakistan and followed it up by piloting a resolution in the state assembly against Pakistan."

"He then extended full support to the Indira Gandhi government at the Centre," Stalin said.

Apart from providing financial aid and land to the kin of the martyred soldiers from Tamil Nadu, Karunanidhi had raised a war fund of Rs six crore and handed over it to Gandhi in Chennai.

"The net collection throughout the country was only Rs 25 crore but Tamil Nadu alone under the leadership of Kalaignar donated Rs 6 crore..." he added.

Karunanidhi even passed a resolution in the assembly congratulating Bangladesh, Stalin recalled.

About 1,670 officers and soldiers from Tamil Nadu had participated in the war. While 42 of them were martyred 37 were injured.

Lieutenant General Arun, General Officer Commanding, Dakshin Bharat Area and other dignitaries participated. PTI

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