Even 46 years after the Liberation War of Bangladesh, the names of five listed freedom fighters in Pabna are not in the final gazette, depriving them of all government support and privileges.
Mired in poverty and hardship, these brave souls who fought for their country in 1971, have been left to fend for themselves. These freedom fighters are visiting door to door in hopes of getting the acknowledgement they rightfully deserve.
These five people answered the call of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, and participated in the Liberation War of Bangladesh. They snatched victory from the Pakistani Military Junta and even stood witness in the International Crimes Tribunal for crimes against humanity during the 1971 war.
It is a tragedy that these five freedom fighters from Ishwardi -- Abdur Rahman Sardar, Rezaul Karim, Mantu Malitha, Zamal Uddin and Kamal Hossain, are not getting respect and privileges due for their service to the country.
They are also facing allegations of claiming to be fake freedom fighters.
The names of these five people were included in all five freedom fighters’ lists made since the liberation of Bangladesh, but they are yet to be listed in the final gazette.
They stated that a list containing the names of 383 freedom fighters have already been sent to the Ministry of Liberation War Affairs, and many of these people are receiving allowances and other facilities from the government.
However, the names of these fighters are yet to be included in the gazette.
Freedom Fighter Abdur Rahman Sardar is a witness in a crimes against humanity case against Razjakar Maulalan Abdus Subhan, and he is fearing for his security.
“I hope that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will look kindly upon us, and I will be formally recognized as a freedom fighter before my death,” he added.
Commenting on the matter, Assistant Professor Abul Hashem from Basherbada Degree College, said: “Land Minister Shamsur Rahman Sherif is receiving the privileges of a freedom fighter, but these five people who belong to the same list, are being deprived of their right.
Golam Mostafa, former commander of Ishwardi Muktijoddha Sangsad, told the Dhaka Tribune: “These five people are definitely freedom fighters, but I do not know why their names are not on the final gazette.”
On the other hand, Ishwardi Upazila Nirbahi Officer Nasrin Akter said: “If they [the five freedom fighters] appeared in front of the scrutiny committee, their names must have been sent to be included in the gazette.
“If their names are missing from the final gazette for any reason, they can appeal to the Ministry of Liberation War Affairs for inclusion.”
These five brave sons of the soil wake up every morning, hoping that the government will take necessary measures to formally acknowledge them as freedom fighters, and grant them the privileges they need to survive.