Eastern Times Correspondent, Dhaka, 10 February : Nearly 50 years into the country’s independence, the Bir Uttam gallantry award conferred on late president Ziaur Rahman has been revoked.
The Jatiya Muktijoddhya Council, well known as Jamuka, in its 72nd meeting on Tuesday came up with the decision. The Jatiya Muktijoddha Council or JAMUKA has also decided to suspend the state-awarded titles for self-proclaimed Bangabandhu killers Shariful Haque Dalim, Mosleh Uddin, M Rashed Chowdhury and SHMB Noor Chowdhury, said its Director-General Md Zahurul Islam Rhohel.
“We’ll send our proposal to the Ministry of Liberation War Affairs and they will make the final decision,” he added.
Zia is being stripped of the title for defying the constitution, assisting the self-proclaimed killers of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in fleeing the country and posting them on important state positions, according to an official. ‘Bir Uttam’ is the second highest award for individual gallantry in Bangladesh after ‘Bir Sreshtha’.
Once the titles are revoked, these people and their families will not receive any national benefit for their contribution in the Liberation War.
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The ‘Swadhinata Padak’, or Independence Award for Gen Zia was removed from the National Museum in 2016 after the Cabinet Committee on National Awards withdrew the award posthumously conferred on him.
In 2003, when the BNP-Jamaat coalition was in power, the award was bestowed on the country’s first military ruler.
Protesting the decision to remove their party founder Ziaur Rahman’s Bir Uttam gallantry title, BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir described the move as a “stigma” to the liberation war on Wednesday.
“I think the decision of the Jatiya Muktijoddha Council to repeal the gallantry title [conferred on Zia] has been taken out of political vengeance,” he said.
“They are against independence, the liberation war, and are completely against freedom fighters. The war of independence has been stigmatized with this decision. I strongly condemn and protest such a move,” he added.