The government has allocated Tk2,200 crore for the betterment of impoverished freedom fighters, Liberation War Affairs Minister AKM Mozammel Huq said on Monday
The government is going to provide free lifelong healthcare services to the freedom fighters of the 1971 Liberation War from tomorrow, Liberation War Affairs Minister AKM Mozammel Huq announced at an event in Dhaka on Monday.
Speaking as the chief guest, the minister further announced that the government had allocated Tk2,200 crore for the betterment of impoverished freedom fighters in the country.
The event was the launch of a national guideline on ethical recording of testimonies of Biranganas – women who were sexually tortured during the Liberation War.
At the event, four female freedom fighters told the minister of their destitute condition and urged the government to help them.
In response, the minister said: “Our government has taken many initiatives aimed at improving the living conditions of our freedom fighters. The improvement did not happen earlier because anti-liberation forces were in power before.”
He said his ministry had applied to the government to initiate an Independence Day allowance for the freedom fighters similar to the Victory Day and Pohela Boishakh allowances.
The event was jointly organized by Research Initiatives, Bangladesh (RIB) and the department of anthropology of Durham University, UK.
The guideline was prepared based on a book on sexual violence during the war, titled “The Spectral Wound: Sexual Violence, Public Memories and the Bangladesh War of 1971” by Dr Nayanika Mookherjee, published in 2015.
Under the guideline, a number of rules have been set which must be followed when interviewing a Birangana.
The rules include: extensive preparation to be taken with a firm grasp of the topic before the interview; it is ethical to interview someone who volunteers to speak of the war; the interviewee must be given enough time to become comfortable to speak about her experience; proper research is mandatory to understand the mental health condition of the wartime rape victims and to estimate the risk of asking them to recount their experience; and the interviewee reserves the right not to reveal her real identity.
Dr Mookherjee, who was present at the event, urged the government to implement the guideline as soon as possible.