Prime minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday urged all including the members of Bangladesh Ansar and VDP to stay alert to check militancy, terrorism and drugs in the country alongside working together to build a developed and prosperous Bangladesh.
“We’ll have to remain ever alert to prevent militancy, terrorism and drugs in the country,” she told the 39th National Rally of Bangladesh Ansar and Village Defence Party (VDP) at its academy in Shafipur of Gazipur Tuesday morning.
The premier also directed Bangladesh Ansar and VDP personnel to work together with hard work and honesty to keep up the country’s development spree.
“As the biggest force of the country, you’ll have to work unitedly with hard work to continue advancement of our development … you will also have to discharge your duties with utmost honesty, courage and sincerity,” she said.
Reminding the Ansar and VDP members that peaceful and stable environment is a precondition for the country’s overall development, the prime minister said they are an important partner for maintaining this atmosphere.
On the occasion, the prime minister inspected a spectacular parade of smartly-turned out contingent of Bangladesh Ansar and VDP riding on an open jeep and took salute.
Earlier on her arrival at the parade ground of the academy, the prime minister was received by home minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal, secretary of the public security division under the home ministry Mostafa Kamal Uddin, and director general of Bangladesh Ansar and VDP major general Kazi Sharif Kaikobad and the commandant of the academy.
Ministers, the deputy speaker of the Jatiya Sangsad, advisers to the prime minister, parliament members, chiefs of the three services, diplomats and high civil and military officials were also present at the function.
Highlighting her government’s various strides for development of the country and changing the lot of the people, the prime minister said her government has taken up the “Ekti Bari Ekti Khamar” programme so that rural people become economically solvent and no land remains fallow.
She said this programme has been renamed as “Amar Bari Amar Khamar” asking the Ansar and VDP members to play a stronger role in this regard.
“As you have training in this regard, you can play an important role in the project. I have already asked the authorities to involve you in it as you can achieve economic solvency through this,” she said.
In this connection, the prime minister said her government has taken massive programmes for socioeconomic development of the country and improving the living standard of the people.
“We’re implementing various social safety net programmes to eliminate poverty from the country,” she said.
Urging all to work with utmost sincerity to retain Bangladesh’s achievements in different sectors, Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh has graduated to a developing country from the least developed one because of various pragmatic initiatives of her government.
“We want to develop Bangladesh further and for this, all will have to work with utmost sincerity,” she said.
Praising the role of Ansar and VDP members in maintaining law and order in the country, the prime minister said they have been demonstrating their work skill and success during crises and emergencies of the nation.
“You’re working with utmost sincerity in maintaining law and order in different national and social functions and religious festivals as well as checking militancy and narcotics,” she added.
Sheikh Hasina mentioned that 55,000 male and female members of the force are performing their duties in different government and private establishments to save public property and ensure security.
She said the Ansar and VDP members played an important role in holding the last general election in a peaceful manner.
She also said 5.5 million Ansar members, risking their life, presented a free and fair election to the people of the country by guarding over 40,000 polling centres and ensuring security of the voters.
“Five Ansar members died while performing their election duty and I pray for the eternal peace of their departed souls,” she said.
The prime minister also recalled the role of the Ansar and VDP members in resisting the mayhem and violence of the BNP-Jamaat nexus from 2013 to 2015.
“They played a special role in thwarting BNP-Jamaat’s ‘fire terrorism’, especially ensuring railway security. We were able to ensure security of life and property of the people due to their significant role,” she said.
Elaborating her government’s initiatives for the development of the force, Sheikh Hasina said her government is always sincere and sympathetic in solving their problems.
Earlier, Sheikh Hasina handed over Bangladesh Ansar awards, President’s Ansar awards, President’s VDP awards, Bangladesh Ansar Services awards, President’s Ansar Services awards, Bangladesh VDP Services awards and President’s VDP Services awards among Ansar and VDP members for their courageous role in maintaining law and order as well as their service-oriented activities.
Sheikh Hasina later enjoyed a cultural programme performed by Ansar and VDP members and joined a “darbar” of Ansar officers and members.
Speaking after the spectacular cultural programme at the picturesque Ansar and VDP Academy, the prime minister thanked the Ansar and VDP members and their children for presenting the beautiful cultural function.
The prime minister pointed out her government’s initiatives for turning every village into a town. “Our aim is that the rural people will get all urban facilities … they will get developed life and will live beautifully,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina said: “We want the future of today’s children to be brighter and more beautiful as well as technologically advanced.”
The prime minister sought cooperation of all to build a more developed and prosperous Bangladesh.
She said the father of the nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman liberated the country with a goal of establishing a hunger and poverty-free Sonar Bangla.
“Our commitment is to materialise his dream. We have removed hunger and bring down the poverty rate significantly and the rate of poverty will have to be cut further. Bangladesh will have to be made more developed and prosperous and for this I seek cooperation of all,” she said.
The prime minister said she has firm belief that the Ansar and VDP members could change every village.
“Bangladesh is a beautiful country and all will have to work to build our motherland in such a way so that we can keep our heads high, not begging from others. We will establish ourselves by standing on our own feet and using our own resources,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina became emotional when seeing two children dancing on a boat during the cultural function of the Ansar members at Ansar and VDP lake, saying that it brought back her childhood memories.
“I remember my childhood whenever I see a boat. When I will retire, I will stay at my village. I will stay in Tungipara, my ancestral home,” she said.