Published:  02:06 AM, 13 January 2021

Final list of Freedom Fighters in March

The government is far away from finalising a list of genuine freedom fighters by securitizingnew freedom fighters because of multiple barriers though Bangladesh is going to celebrate the golden jubilee of its independence this year.The government has so far processed 123,000 new applications for inclusion in the latest list of freedom fighters from across the country. The authorities are also scrutinizing another list of 43,000 people, who are acknowledged in civilian freedom fighter gazettes without any other verifiable records, National Freedom Fighters Council sources said.

Earlier the government formed 470 recruiting committees in order to make a list of new freedom fighters with people who are supposed to be freedom fighters. As the scrutinizing procedure is covered with anomalies, the whole process is facing multiple barriers- charges, counter charges, questions of legality and cases lodged with the apex court and other relevant issues, freedom fighters told The Asian Age.

In response to a query in respect of the issue from The Asian Age,  Liberation War Minister A K M Mozammel Haque said the new list of freedom fighters will be concluded by March 26 in 2021. All concerned are directed to do their jobs in order to reach the timetable. During the timeframe the new list of freedom fighters must be done. Later issues regarding scrutinization freedom fighters will be resolved.

National Freedom Fighters Council Director General Md. Jahurul Islam Rohel told The Asian Age that they are trying desperately to present a complete list of freedom fighters by paying careful attention to solve all problems according to the timeframe on March 26 in 2021.Rathindra Nath Datta, deputy secretary (Gazette) to the ministry said, "The actual number can't be determined at the moment as the verification process of 43,500 new applicants is ongoing.

It may take time to find out the real number even after the process is completed."The government is providing allowances to 172,000 freedom fighters and 11,000 martyrs, wounded and state-title winners. Each of them receives an annual sum of Tk 171,000 from the government, Ministry of Liberation War source said.

"As many as 192,000 freedom fighters used to receive allowances earlier. But now, 172,000 get it after the government adopted the management information system (MIS) for distribution," said Sufi Abdullahil Maruf, senior information officer at the Ministry of Liberation War Affairs."The allowances for 20,000 individuals remain suspended for different reasons, including the fact that their names don't match with the national identity cards or lack uniformity with other papers of the gazette," he said.

Each freedom fighter has been receiving Tk 12,000 a month since July 2019, according to another ministry official.The allowances include Tk 10,000 as a bonus on every Eid, Tk 5,000 for Victory Day and Tk 2,000 during the Bengali New Year celebrations, taking the total to Tk 171,000 each year.

The list of freedom fighters has been revised six times in the last 49 years since independence, with changes to definitions, criteria and age limit to qualify as a freedom fighter,ministry officials have said.The ministry also has nullified gazettes of several secretaries, hundreds of government officials and certificate holders during this period.

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