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Zia to be stripped off gallantry award

Published : 10 Feb 2021 10:59 PM | Updated : 11 Feb 2021 12:47 AM

The Jatiya Muktijoddha Council (Jamuka) has decided to revoke the gallantry titles awarded by the state to the late President Ziaur Rahman, also the founder of BNP, and four fugitive killers of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. 

The Jamuka, the national platform of the Freedom Fighters under the Ministry of Liberation War Affairs, made the decision at its 72nd meeting on Tuesday. The decision came at a time when the country is set to celebrate the golden jubilee of the Liberation War this year. 

According to sources, Jamuka decided to cancel the gallantry title awarded to Ziaur Rahman for his anti- Constitution role and for harbouring and rehabilitating the killers of the Father of the Nation in various positions. 

Besides, the gallantry titles awarded to Bangabandhu’s four fugitive killers – Shariful Haque Dalim, Nur Chowdhury, Rashed Chowdhury and Mosleh Uddin--will be revoked for killing Bangabandhu and most of his family members on August 15, 1975.  

Ziaur Rahman had been awarded the gallantry title ‘BirUttom’, the second highest award in Bangladesh for individual gallantry. 

According to the Liberation War Affairs ministry website, Shariful Haque is a Bir Uttom, Nur Chowdhury a Bir Bikrom, Rashed Chowdhury and Mosleh Uddin are Bir Protik.

The Jamuka has further decided that the families of Ziaur Rahman and those four self-acknowledged fugitive killers of the  Bangabandhu would not get any of the state facilities given to the Freedom Fighters for their contributions in the Liberation War.

Though the highest leadership of ruling Bangladesh Awami League has been alleging the involvement of Ziaur Rahman in the killing of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, he was not made an accused in the case filed for the gruesome murder.

Liberation war affairs ministry sources said the revoking of gallantry titles awarded to four self-acknowledged killers  of the Bangabandhu , who have been sentenced to death, was proposed at the Jamuka meeting. 

Jamuka member Shajahan Khan, MP, asked why the gallantry award of Ziaur Rahman will not be revoked if the awards of four self-acknowledged killers of Bangabandhu are revoked? The chair of Jamuka meeting, liberation affairs minister and other members reached a consensus over the matter.

Liberation War Affairs Minister, AKM Mozammel Haque said Ziaur Rahman violated the Constitution, the main principles of the Constitution. Despite being a Freedom Fighter he formed a cabinet with people who cherished anti-liberation sentiments. Ziaur Rahman had sheltered the self-acknowledged killers of Bangabandhu and awarded them important posts and helped them leave the country.

In reply to a question on why suddenly this decision was made, the minister said, “The rule is nothing could be done against the people who passed away. That’s why no decision was made against Ziaur Rahman, Khandaker Mushtaque Ahmad and Mahbubul Alam Chashi. 

“The people like them also came under discussion at the Jamuka meeting at length. Awards and facilities of all of them will be revoked. Currently, the decision has been made in principle regarding Ziaur Rahman, Khondaker Mushtaque Ahmad and Mahbubul Alam Chashi”, said the minister. 

The minister also said, “Many people’s Nobel Prize, doctorate degrees are revoked globally. Maybe, their Freedom Fighter status cannot be revoked, but their gallantry awards will be revoked, they will get the punishment for their crimes.”

Jamuka meeting sources said that Jamuka member Shahiduzzaman MP proposed to take the opinion of the law ministry before making the decision. But, most of the Freedom Fighters along with injured Freedom Fighter Rashidul Alam said it would take a long time if it is sent to the law ministry. If necessary, the liberation war ministry will talk to the law ministry later and would settle legal complications, if there is any.

The Jamuka meeting also discussed how the names of people who worked against the Liberation War and the people identified as the plotters of Bangabandhu murder are still in the ‘Lal  MuktiBarta,’ the book regarded as the most authentic list of Freedom Fighters. Later, it was decided that a committee, led by Shajahan Khan will work to exclude the names of those persons. The committee would make a list of such controversial people and present it in the next meeting. The committee would also work on whether the Swadhinata Padak (Independence Award) of Ziaur Rahman could be revoked.