Seventy people from Dhaka’s Dohar area, who did not fight for the country’s independence in 1971, have been enlisted to give them status of freedom fighters, finds an investigation.
Political manipulation, nepotism and bribery have been blamed for such listing.
Those who are on the list of freedom fighters include a bodyguard of the chairman of the ‘peace committee’ that collaborated with the Pakistan forces and a class VI student of that point in time, according to the report prepared by an intelligence agency.
Food minister Qamrul Islam is allegedly involved in recommending such names to be enlisted as freedom fighters.
Qamrul, who chaired the scrutiny committee that made the recommendation, has, however, blamed others, for any irregularities in making the list.
The general secretary of Dohar upazilla Awami League, a vice-president of local Krishak League, a Union Parishad chairman and a brother of the local commander of freedom fighters – none freedom fighters themselves – are included on the list.
After 46 years since the liberation war, such listing has created controversy.
About the allegations, local upazila nirbahi officer KM Al-Amin told Prothom Alo, “I have done my duty as a member secretary”.
The minister, Qamrul Islam, too, said only signed the final list.
Liberation war affairs minister AKM Mozammel Haque maintained that the committee chairman could not deny his responsibility in preparing the list even though other members might have been involved in including the names of fake freedom fighters.
“I’ve received the detailed report. It has been sent to the Anti-Corruption Commission for necessary action,” he added.
*This report, originally published in Prothom Alo print edition, has been rewritten in English by Farjana Liakat.