Freedom fighters: Allowance of 17000 suspended all of a sudden

The liberation war affairs ministry all of a sudden has suspended the monthly allowance of 17,282 valiant freedom fighters.

They were not apprised of the matter beforehand. They found it when they went to the bank for drawing the allowance of last February.

About the matter liberation war affairs minister AKM Mozammel Haque told Prothom Alo that those who were not proved to be valiant freedom fighters after verification and selection process at the upazila level have been excluded from the list of allowance recipients.

"Some of the certificates and proofs, they had submitted to prove themselves as freedom fighters, are faulty," the minister added.

Mozammel Haque said now they will have to appeal at Jatiyo Muktijoddha Council (Jamuka). However, if anyone can provide exact data or proofs, their allowance will resume without the appeal.

The ministry and Jamuka officials, however, said verification and selection process are underway to prepare an accurate list of the freedom fighters.

People, against whom negative reports were received during the verification, have been temporarily excluded from the list of allowance recipients.

Basically, a portion of people whose names were added to the list of freedom fighters between 2001 and 2009, didn’t receive the allowance of February in their bank accounts.

Notably, BNP and Jamaat-e-Islami government was in power from 2001 to 2006. After that the military backed government took control for about two years.

The verification, selection and preparing list of freedom fighters are done by Jamuka. Although, Jamuka Act was passed in 2002, their activities didn’t start until 2010.

At present, a freedom fighter receives Tk 20,000 as monthly allowance, Tk 10,000 as bonus on both Eids, Tk 5,000 as victory day allowance and Tk 2,000 as Bengali new year allowance. Including all, a freedom fighter gets Tk 2,67,000 thousand (2 lakh 67 thousand) per annum.

Md Alamgir of Cumilla’s Muradnagar is among those, whose names were dropped from the allowance list.

Talking to Prothom Alo he said, “Though my name is in the gazette as well as in the red liberation message, my allowance has been suspended since February. They remove my name, then I appeal against it and they include my name again. This is what has been going on for the last couple of years. After so many years, the selection committee still cannot do the job in an orderly way.”

Allowance of 126 people in Rajshahi city has been suspended since February. NAP leader Ruhul Amin Pramanik is among them. He said to Prothom Alo, “My co-fighters know well whether I fought in the war or not. At the district and upazila levels, the selection committee in many cases has excluded people, whom they dislike.”

Freedom fighters deprived of allowance have been crowding the Jamuka office for the last one week. Most of them alleged Jamuka officials are not informing them clearly, exactly why their allowance was suddenly suspended.

Gopalganj sadar’s late freedom fighter Layeb Ali Molla’s son Rabiul Islam talked to Jamuka office on last Wednesday. Rabiul is working at the fire service under freedom fighter quota. He told Prothom Alo, “Despite being no issue in the verification, my father’s allowance is suspended. Even I’ll have to face problems at my job, if his name is not there in the list now. I have been to Jamuka 17 times. My uncle Shahidul Islam is also a freedom fighter. His allowance has been stopped too. This happened due to the negligence of some people.”

As per the data of liberation war affairs ministry, the number of freedom fighters in the country is about 2,33,000 (2 lakh 33 thousand). In last January, allowance was sent in the names of 204,013 people. For being excluded in the verification, that number tumbled down to 186,731 in February.

Earlier, allowance were sent in freedom fighters’ names, based on a list provided by each of the deputy commissioner’s office in the country. But, since October 2019 allowance is being sent directly through banks according to the list of Management Information System (MIS). The government has added complete information of the freedom fighters to a software named MIS.

An administrative officer of the liberation war affairs ministry believes that all the names among those 17,282 people might not have been excluded during verification. Many could have been removed due to technical issues as well.

For including someone’s name in the gazette as a freedom fighter, 33 different types of proof are essential. Jamuka’s recommendation is a notable one of them. Among those who didn’t get February’s allowance in their bank accounts, there were 76 people from Nandail upazila of Mymensingh. They didn’t have Jamuka’s reference. Nonetheless, 63 of them were recommended to be added as regular freedom fighters in the gazette after verification last year.

Shahriar kabir, president, Ekattorer Ghatak Dalal Nirmul Committee told Prothom Alo, list of the freedom fighters cannot be finalised by selection committees. Freedom fighters are being insulted by the perpetual removal and adding of their names in the list.

If those, whose allowance has been suspended, can provide logical documents, their appeals have to be reviewed. However, for those without Jamuka’s reference, allowance has to be stooped only after they have failed to pass the verification. The nation hopes to have an flawless list of the freedom fighters, he added.