Government to provide allowance to Liberation War veteran Armed Forces members

 

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has announced that the government would provide allowance from January next to the members of different forces who took part in the Liberation War.

"We've taken a decision to give allowance from January 2018 to those who fought for the country's independence from different forces including the armed forces, Police, Ansar-VDP and Border Guard Bangladesh (formerly known as East Pakistan Rifles)," she told a reception on the occasion of the Armed Forces Day 2017.

The prime minister accorded the reception to gallantry award-recipients freedom fighters and their heirs at the Army Multipurpose Hall at Dhaka Cantonment on Tuesday morning.

Sheikh Hasina said those forces members who joined the Liberation War were not given allowance as they were in-service at that time. "All of them went on retirement and their families are now in much miseries ... we will start providing allowance to them from January next Insha Allah," she said.

In this connection, the premier mentioned that the demand is raised every year when she meets everybody on the Armed Forces Day. "So we have decided to give it," she said.

Pointing out that her government did whatever necessary for the valiant freedom fighters, the prime minister said: "Within our limited capacity, we're trying to give dignity to those who took part in the Liberation War and embraced martyrdom."

Principal Staff Officer of the Armed Forces Division (AFD) Lt Gen Md Mahfuzur Rahman delivered the welcome address at the function.

Liberation War Affairs Minister AKM Mozammel Haque, PM's Security Advisor Major General (retd) Tarique Ahmed Siddiq, Chief of Army Staff General Abu Belal Muhammad Shafiul Haque, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Nizamuddin Ahmad and Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Abu Esrar and high civil and military officials were present.

At the reception, Sheikh Hasina presented honorarium cheques and gifts including mobile phones and tabs to the successors of seven Birshreshthos as well as other gallantry award-recipients.

The prime minister also handed over "Shantikalin Padak" (peacetime medals) to 12 armed forces members and "Osamanya Seba Padak" (outstanding service medals) among 14 armed forces officers in recognition to their heroic role in war and peacetime.

Describing the Liberation War as the greatest episode in Bangladesh's history, the premier said Bangladesh got the identity of an independent and sovereign state on the world map for it (war).

"The freedom fighters presented an independent and sovereign country to us by making their life silly and making unique contributions," she said.

Spelling out her government's various steps for the welfare of the freedom fighters, the premier said their monthly honorarium has been enhanced to Tk 10,000 from Tk 900, while the number of allownce-recipients has been increased to two lakh from one lakh.

She said the monthly allowance for Birshreshthos has been increased to Tk 30,000, for Biruttam to Tk 25,000, for Birbikram to Tk 20,000 and Birpratik to Tk 15,000.

Sheikh Hasina said the monthly state honorarium for the war-wounded freedom fighters and the families of martyred FFs has been enhanced to highest Tk 45,000 and the lowest Tk 25,000.

She said the allowance-recipient freedom fighters are being provided with various facilities like education allowance, wedding allowance, festival allowance and medicare facilities at home and abroad.

The premier said under a scheme titled "District Freedom Fighters Building Complex", a complex will be constructed in every district. Such a complex has been finished and handed over in 49 districts, she said.

Sheikh Hasina said the construction work of Muktijoddha Complex began in 470 upazilas in 2013. Under the Tk 1078 crore scheme, she said, the construction work of 251 complexes has been completed.

She said her government is also pledge-bound to preserve the glorious history and tradition of the Liberation War. "It's our national responsibility to remember invaluable contribution of the valiant Freedom Fighters to achieving independence," she said.

At the outset her speech, the prime minister extended her heartiest congratulations to the members of Bangladesh Armed Forces on the occasion of the Armed Forces Day.

On this historic day, she said, responding to the call of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the brave members of the armed forces and the common people of the country launched together a coordinated assault against the Pakistani occupation forces.

"The Indian allied forces joined the war in December and the simultaneous attack by the armed forces, Bangla's freedom-loving people and the allied force sped up our victory and we earned independence," she said.

The prime minister said the great task of safeguarding the country's independence has been reposed on the members of the armed forces.

"Alongside discharging this sacred duty, the members of our patriotic armed forces are maintaining representative participation in development activities, construction of infrastructure, facing natural disasters and maintaining law and order," she said, extending her heartiest thanks to all members of the armed forces.

The prime minister said her government is also pledge-bound for modernisation, infrastructure development and implementation of all kinds of welfare-oriented activities of the armed forces.

She said that now today each and every force and institution of the country has been enjoying the benefits of development and the Bangali nation has now been established as a dignified nation on the world stage.

"We've attained that capacity and strength to face any challenge and we'll have to maintain its continuity," she said adding that the Bangali nation is a victorious Nation and it would not bow down to anyone.

She said the glory of Liberation War was lost after assassination of Bangabandhu in 1975. "But the nation resorted the lost glory and Bangladesh is now moving ahead in light with the spirit of the War of Liberation."

Sheikh Hasina said the spirit of the War of Liberation is that the people of the country would be freed from poverty, the people would get a better life in health and education and they would move ahead keeping their head high.

Mentioning that the country got the hard-earned Independence through the struggle of blood of millions of martyrs, she said this country could never lag behind, this bloodshed could not go in vain.

"We won't let it happen. We'll keep their contribution of the freedom fighters ever shining and build Sonar Bangla as dreamt by the Father of the Nation," she said

Turning to the inclusion of Bangabandhu's historic 7th March speech into the "World Documentary Heritage" by the UNESCO, the Prime Minister said that through such recognition, it has been proved that history can't be erased as history surely make its place. "This has now been proved," she said.

Sheikh Hasina said that through his historic speech, the Father of the Nation showed the Bangali nation the path for freedom. "The Bangali nation has accepted each and every directive of Bangabandhu through that speech which was verbal not written and extempore," she said

She said that Father of the Nation through his speech had given complete directives to the nation and thus inspiring the Bangali nation for taking part in the War of Liberation and joining the guerrilla war.

The Prime Minister alleged that after the assassination of Father of the Nation in 1975, the power grabbers, then tried to distort the history of the country and erase the name of Bangabandhu.

"But, now today the historic 7th March Speech got international recognition, so, those who grabbed power illegally after 1975 lacked farsightedness. They then suffered from meanness, they wanted to destroy the country's independence and eliminate the entire nation," she added.

Photo: Saiful Islam Kallol

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