958Published on February 19, 2018
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has directed the members of Bangladesh Ansar and VDP to remain ready for holding the next elections in a free and peaceful manner.
"We want the next elections be more peaceful. So every member of the Ansar and VDP will have to stay always ready so that the people can exercise their voting rights, which are their fundamental and constitutional rights," she told the 38th National Rally of Bangladesh Ansar and Village Defence Party (VDP) at its academy on Monday morning.
The premier added: "You (Ansar and VDP members) will have to give attention properly to this end."
On the occasion, the prime minister inspected a spectacular parade of smartly-turned out contingent of Bangladesh Ansar and VDP riding on an open jeep and took salute.
The premier said the Ansar and VDP is a disciplined force. "So you will have to maintain law and order of the country at any cost," she also told the Ansar and VDP members.
Mentioning that the Ansar and VDP is a dependable part of the government, she said members of the force are playing an important role in keeping the youths away from terrorism and militancy.
In this connection, Sheikh Hasina reiterated her call to the cross-section of people including teachers, guardians and religious leaders to remain alert so that their children don't get involved in militancy, terrorism and drug addiction.
"We will keep up the trend of development that we initiated by freeing the country from terrorism and militancy Insha Allah," she said.
Pointing out that the evil forces always try to destabilise the country by resorting to terrorism and militancy and carrying out arson attacks, the premier said there will be no place for terrorism and militancy on the soil of Bangladesh.
In this regard, she thanked the Ansar and VDP members to play a strong role in resisting the rampage and violence of the BNP-Jamaat nexus from 2013 to 2015.
Stating that stable political and economic environment is a pre-requisite to the country's overall development, the prime minister also suggested the Ansar and VDP members to work with honesty, courage and sincerity to defeat the evil forces to maintain law and order.
"Keep in mind that you've taken a holy oath of ensuring security of the people and investment and maintaining a peaceful atmosphere ... you'll have to perform the sacred responsibility properly for ensuring public security that remained reposed on you," she said.
Mentioning that Bangladesh has set a unique example of maintaining world peace, the premier said the government taking all with them is tackling the situation that has arisen following the influx of the Rohingyas into Bangladesh.
"You're an important partner of it as battalion Ansars have been deployed with other government organisations to assist the Rohingyas," she said.
The prime minister said since independence, the Ansar and VDP members have been demonstrating their work skill and success in every field. "Your activities during the national crisis and emergency time have turned the force into a dependable part of the government," she said.
Apart from performing election duty, she said, their role in protecting rail, checking highway sabotage and resisting communalism and militancy is very important.
The prime minister said the Ansar and VDP is the country's biggest disciplined force involved with the people. After its establishment in 1948, she said, the members of the force have been working with sincerity to ensure security of the country and people.
Elaborating her government's initiatives for the development of the force, Sheikh Hasina said her administration did everything from giving national standard, the highest honour, in 1998 to upgradation of the post of the BCS Ansar officials.
She said the issue of making permanent the job subjected to completion of nine to six years service has been completed. For the convenience of the administrative work, she said, class one BCS officers and significant number of battalion Ansars have been appointed.
Later, the prime minister joined a "darbar" of the Ansar officers.
Besides a completely new battalion has been formed and the work on constitution of two guard battalions is underway, she said.
The prime minister said the government is actively considering formation of one battalion each in Cox's Bazar and Faridpur and two battalions on the two sides of the Padma Bridge.
"It is our government which introduced "Seba" and "Sahasikata" medals as recognition to the sincerity and responsibility of the Ansar members to the work," she said.
Sheikh Hasina said the work on developing a database to revive the Ansar and VDP is progressing fast. The database for 32 Ansar and VDP members will be completed by April next, she added.
Earlier, Sheikh Hasina handed over Bangladesh Ansar Medals to six Ansar members, President's Ansar Medals to 20, President's VDP Medals to nine, Bangladesh Ansar Services Medals to 12, President's Ansar Services Medals to 32, Bangladesh VDP Services medals to 10, President's VDP Services Medals to 37 Ansar members.
Earlier on her arrival at the parade ground of the academy, the prime minister was received by Minister for Home Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal, Secretary of the Public Security Division under the Home Ministry Mostafa Kamal Uddin, and Director General of Bangladesh Ansar and VDP Major General Sheikh Pasha Habib Uddin and Commandant of the academy Saifuddin Mohammad Khaled.
Ministers, advisers to the Prime Minister, parliament members, chiefs of the three services, diplomats and high civil and military officials were also present at the function.
Sheikh Hasina later witnessed a colourful cultural programme performed by Ansar and VDP members and joined a "darbar" of Ansar officers and members.
Photo: Yeasin Kabir Joy