Indian high commissioner in Dhaka Harsh Vardhan Shringla has said that Bangladesh and India shared the historical legacy of fighting and winning the War of Independence together in 1971 wherein armies from both the nations fought and defeated a common enemy.
‘We recognise and honour the contributions and sacrifices of the freedom fighters,’ he said while addressing Muktijoddha Scholarship cheque distribution ceremony at Sher-e-Bangla Medical College in Barisal.
The high commissioner said freedom fighters had been their lasting friends and they appreciate the role freedom fighters play in keeping the Liberation War spirit alive.
‘These are eternal bonds, permanently cemented by the blood and sacrifices of our martyrs. I pay my tributes to the martyrs of both countries who have laid down their lives during the independence struggle,’ Shringla said.
He said the recipients of the scholarship scheme were the future of Bangladesh. ‘You should be very proud to have been born in the family of Muktijoddhas and have inherited their legacy.’
He said it was a unique honour but carries with itself the onus of carrying forward their legacy and spirit into the future. ‘I’m also sure you all will evolve to be the goodwill ambassadors between the future generations of both the countries.’
Barishal city mayor-elect Serniabat Sadiq Abdullah, sector commander (Sector 9 during Liberation War) Captain Mahfuz Alam Beg, chairman, Muktijoddha Academy Trust Abul Azad, members of parliament, senior freedom fighters were present.
The high commissioner said Bangladesh and India shared a common heritage, cultural linkage and have shed blood together on the battlefield.
The Muktijoddha scholarship scheme is one such initiative launched in 2006. Under the scheme, over 12,621 students have already been awarded scholarship and an amount of Tk 21 crore has been utilised.
The Nutan Muktijoddha scholarship scheme was introduced in 2017. Under the scheme, 10,000 students will be awarded scholarships in Undergraduate and Higher Secondary streams over the next five years and an amount of Tk 35 crore will be utilised for the purpose. Once the old and new schemes are combined, a total of Tk 56 crore will be spent by the government of India for the Muktijoddha scholarship programme.
Some 120 students of Barisal division were handed over scholarship cheques. Students in undergraduate category were awarded a lump sum amount of Tk 50,000 and in the Higher Secondary category Tk 20,000 respectively.