Bir Protik Taramon Bibi, one of the only two women who received the “Bir Protik” award for gallantry in the 1971 Liberation War, was transferred to Dhaka CMH (Combined Military Hospital) from Rangpur CMH yesterday afternoon.
A military helicopter medevacked the valiant freedom fighter around 2:30pm with deteriorating respiratory complications, her son Abu Taher said over cellphone.
Haripado Sarkar, assistant professor of cardiology at Rangpur Medical College Hospital, who visited the elderly patient at the Rangpur CMH earlier yesterday morning, said she was being treated for respiratory complications including COPD (Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and dyspnoea.
“No major cardiac [heart-related] problems were found after conducting several medical tests on her,” he said.
However, she has a history of TB (Tuberculosis) in her lungs and she had been advised during her previous hospitalisation to have surgery done on her lungs.
“The medical board here [at Rangpur CMH] has referred her to Dhaka CMH as the lung surgery might be conducted this time,” Dr Haripado added.
COPD is a chronic lung disease including chronic bronchitis and emphysema that makes it hard to breathe. Dyspnoea is sudden shortness of breath or breathing difficulty.
On August 3 late night, family members of Taramon Bibi admitted her to Rajibpur Upazila Health and Family Planning Clinic in Kurigram with acute respiratory illnesses. The doctor-on-duty, Delwar Hossain, advised them to admit her at the Rangpur CMH.
The next day, around 11:00am, the Kurigram district administration took her to the Rangpur CMH.
Bir Protik Taramon Bibi, aged 13 or 14 in 1971, took part in the Liberation War against Pakistan occupation forces in her village home in Shankar Madhabpur in Kurigram. She fought in Sector 11 under the leadership of Sector commander Abu Taher, Bir Uttam. Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's Government honoured her with the Bir Protik title in 1973 for her courageous role through armed resistance against the Pakistan occupation forces.
A researcher came to know about her whereabouts in 1995, 24 years after the country won the war, and on December 19 the same year, then Prime Minister Khaleda Zia handed Taramon Bibi the Bir Protik award in a ceremony.
Freedom fighter Shawkat Ali Sarkar, Bir Bikram, also upazila parishad chairman of Chilmari in Kurigram, said Taramon Bibi participated in operations of freedom fighters against Pakistan army in areas under the then Roumari thana, presently Roumari and Rajibpur upazilas.
“She also used to cook for freedom fighters in a camp, look after their arms and ammunitions and gather information about the occupation forces stationed in the area,” the war veteran also said.