• Thursday, Dec 09, 2021
  • Last Update : 04:03 am

Man demands freedom fighter status 48 years after independence

  • Published at 05:01 pm February 15th, 2019
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Mokbul Hossain Dhaka Tribune

Mokbul Hossain says he was not recognized as a freedom fighter because he did not pay bribes

A former employee of Rajshahi University (RU) has demanded freedom fighter status, 48 years after the independence of Bangladesh.

Mokbul Hossain, hailing from Sarail upazila in Brahmanbaria, claimed despite having the right documents as evidence, he was barred from being recognized as a freedom fighter because he was unable to pay bribes. 

Mokbul claimed this at a press conference held at the university cafeteria on Monday. 

"I was 17, and working in the Rajshahi University cafeteria in 1971," he said at the press conference. "At the same time, I used to cut telephone wires to disrupt communication among the Pakistani army deployed in sector 17."

Gedu, the gardener of the university vice-chancellor's residence, would assist him in his endeavours, Mokbul said. "However, Gedu is now no longer among us," he said.

According to Mokbul, on August 18, 1971, he was captured by the Pakistani army, who took him to the university killing fields alongside several other captured freedom fighters. There, Mokbul luckily evaded death despite having his throat slit.

A certificate provided by the Indian Government to Mokbul Hossain recognizing him as a freedom fighter | Dhaka Tribune

"I was rescued and taken to India, where I received treatment for a long time," he said. "Later, I returned home. The Indian government provided me with a certificate recognizing me as a freedom fighter."

Rajshahi University Statistics department and freedom fighter Abul Bashar Mia gave a written statement vouching for Mokbul. 

"However, when I contacted the affiliated authorities in Brahmanbaria—prepared to show my documents, if needed—they asked for a bribe, which I could not pay," Mokbul further said. "As a result, I was never recognized as a freedom fighter."

After the Liberation War, Mokbul joined the telephone branch of Rajshahi University, and retired in 2003. Currently, he lives in Meherchandi area near the university. He has a tea-stall in front of the Fine Arts department. 

When contacted, retired Rajshahi University Professor and freedom fighter Abul Bashar said: "I know him [Mokbul] personally. He helped the freedom fighters by cutting telephone wires during the Liberation War."

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