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Bangladesh takes home teenage war hero

GUWAHATI, India (Reuters) - The body of a teenage Bangladeshi war hero killed fighting Pakistani forces and buried in India almost four decades ago has been exhumed and taken home for a ceremonial burial, an official said on Monday.

Hamidur Rahman died in 1971 while raiding a Pakistani military post in what was then known as East Pakistan, which months later gained independence and became Bangladesh.

Fellow fighters carried away Rahman’s body and buried it in a village in neighboring India which supported Bangladesh’s war of independence.

On Sunday, the 17-year-old’s remains were dug up from a grave in Hatimarachara village in the northeastern Tripura state and handed over to a Bangladeshi delegation.

“We have come here to take the body ahead of our 37th victory day celebration,” Sajjad Ali Zahir, a delegation member told Reuters, referring to Bangladesh’s independence from Pakistan in 1971.

The young soldier attacked two Pakistani machine-gun posts and destroyed them before falling in a hail of bullets, Zahir said.

Rahman’s coffin was draped in the Bangladeshi flag and handed over with full military honors. The body was received by authorities at a border point southeast of Dhaka and will be buried in the Bangladeshi capital on Tuesday after a military ceremony.

Rahman is the youngest of seven war heroes posthumously conferred Bangladesh’s highest gallantry award for their role in the freedom struggle.

Additional reporting by Azad Majumder in Dhaka