British PM extends support for Noor's memorial in London

Noor, a descendant of the Tipu Sultan, the erstwhile ruler of Mysore, went on a dangerous mission for Britain during the Second World War and was captured and killed by the Nazis at Dachau Concentration Camp in occupied France in 1944.

Her memorial would be the first in London dedicated to an Indian woman.
"It is impossible not to be moved deeply by Noor Inayat Khan's bravery in the face of capture, interrogation, and harsh imprisonment, and by her cruel death met with indomitable courage," the Prime Minister said in a message read out at the Noor Inayat Khan Memorial Trust dinner at the House of Commons organised last night.

"The award of the George Cross, our highest civilian decoration, gave recognition to her heroism.

"I am glad to express my support for the initiative of the Noor Inayat Khan Memorial Trust in its project to erect a memorial near to the place in London where she spent part of her childhood.

"This will pay tribute to the inspiring self-sacrifice of a young Muslim woman who fought in British ranks in the world-wide struggle against racism and oppression," the British Prime Minister said in his message.

The programme was organised by Shrabani Basu, founder of the Noor Inayat Khan Memorial Trust and author of Noor's biography 'Spy Princess'.

In his address at the dinner, the Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, described Noor as a "singularly brave person" and said her birth centenary in 2014 should be "toasted in a style that befits her."

"Noor is not a household name and yet her bravery and contribution to her country during World War II stands comparison with some of our most famous war heroes," he said.

Under the codename 'Madeleine' she was the first female radio operator in occupied France in 1943.

Even when all the other radio operators in her network were captured, Noor rejected an offer to return to Britain and instead provided an essential line of communications between London and Paris.

When she was captured and tortured by the Nazis, she remained silent and her last word uttered at Dachau concentration camp was 'Liberte', the Speaker said.
Posthumously, France awarded the Croix de Guerre to Noor.

Basu said the Vice Chancellor of the University of London has given the permission to install the memorial for Noor in Gordon Square.

"I am confident that with your support we will bring Noor back to Gordon Square in 2012," she said.

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