At present, 2,01,461 freedom fighters are receiving honoraria
Despite the government’s commitment about publishing the final list of freedom fighters on March 26, Independence Day, the list is not ready yet.
Bangladesh achieved independence in 1971 through the sacrifices and valor of many brave freedom fighters for an independent country.
In spite of 49 years having gone by since, the country has failed to prepare a complete list of freedom fighters.
Liberation War Affairs Minister AKM Mozammel Haque has nevertheless promised that his ministry will publish the final list of freedom fighters on March 26, 2020.
In a press briefing on December 15, 2019, at the liberation war affairs ministry, the minister said: “A final list of freedom fighters will be published on Independence Day, March 26 next year (2020).”
“2,51,285 people have a valid claim to the freedom fighter title among 3,33,856 names which appear in different lists. Some people's names appear on multiple documents. Therefore, it may seem that the number of freedom fighters is high but it is actually not more than 2,10,000," he said.
Initially, the government formed separate committees for each upazila to prepare a primary list of freedom fighters.
The committees would then send the list to Jatio Muktijoddha Council (JMC), which is the body responsible for scrutiny and verification of the freedom fighters list. The liberation war affairs minister is the chairman of the council.
After scrutinizing the list the ministry will publish the final list.
However, the government has so far received the list from 300 upazilas only.
When contacted, Minister Mozammel Haque told Dhaka Tribune, “We are trying to publish the list on time. There is a strong possibility of publishing the list on March 26. The response is satisfactory. We have already received lists from around 300 upazilas.”
The minister is concerned, though, over whether his ministry will be able to publish the list amid the coronavirus pandemic. He has said there is a chance the ministry will not be able to receive lists from 20-50 upazilas on time due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The latest process began in 2017, when 470 district, upazila and city committees were set up to recommend names from 1,40,000 fresh online applications.
82 committees have yet to send their recommendations because either cases were filed with the courts or disputes arose among committee members last year.
There have been over 800 cases filed in this connection countrywide.
At present, 2,01,461 freedom fighters are receiving their stipulated honoraria.
Abdul Mannan Choudhury, deputy commander and active commander for a while of Mujib Bahini (Eastern) said: “It is a complex process. And so much difficult to locate real freedom fighters. Many collaborators were enlisted in the freedom fighters list through money and became high government officials by taking advantage of circumstances.
“Similarly, many real freedom fighters remain outside the list, and some were even incorporated in the razakar list. Our social structure is to be blamed for this mistake,” he said.
Abdul Mannan, who is also one of the founders of Ghatak Dalal Nirmul Committee, said: “But there is a way. If the committees are formed by the freedom fighters all over the country, those who are still alive and have kept the record, good results can be obtained.”