The freedom fighter certificates of another 31 government officials, including a joint secretary, an executive director of Bangladesh Bank and three engineers, have been cancelled as these were issued on the basis of false information and misinterpretation. It has also been decided to bring criminal charges against them. With this, the Ministry for Liberation War Affairs will have cancelled the freedom fighter certification of 181 government officers and employees.
Sources in the ministry say that another 100 or so officers of various ministries have applied for freedom fighter certification. Their applications have been rejected.
It has been decided to form upazila-level committees to scrutinise the one lac two thousand 501 applications for freedom fighter certificates, pending on the National Freedom Fighters Council website.
The avalanche of applications for these certificates followed the decision to increase the term of government service for freedom fighters. A total of 11 thousand 150 persons in government and private service have taken freedom fighter certificates over the last five years. These include at least four secretaries, including the Secretary of Liberation War Affairs; a joint secretary and a former secretary. The certificates of these senior level government officers haven’t been cancelled.
The ministry has said that primary investigations have revealed that many of these persons have taken the certificates on the basis of false information, but no decision could be taken against them as they were under investigation of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC). The secretaries who took freedom fighter certifications in this period are Secretary for Liberation War Affairs KH Masud Siddiqui; Health Secretary Niaz Uddin Miah; Science and Technology Secretary AKM Amir Hossain (present Secretary, PSC); former Secretary of the Prime Minister’s Office, Wahiduzzaman; Expatriate Welfare and Overseas Employment Secretary Khandakar Shawkat Hossain; and Joint Secretary of the Ministry of Liberation War Affairs (OSD) Abul Kasem Talukdar.
There is no documentary evidence of any of these 31 having taken part in the Liberation War. Most of them took the certificates between 2011 and 2013.
Definition of a freedom fighter: In view of the false claims for certificates, a sub-committee headed by former State Minister for Primary and Mass Education Motahar Hossain, has been formed to determine the definition of a freedom fighter.