Committee formed to scrutinise war-injured freedom fighters

Ershad Kamol | Published: 00:00, Nov 16,2019


Bangladesh Muktijoddha Kalyan Trust has formed a committee for scrutinising authenticity of 2,651 war-injured freedom fighters with minor injuries on suspicion of document forgery.

The six-member committee, led by the trust board member Mustafizur Rahman Fizar also a ruling Awami League lawmaker, was formed in the 45th board meeting on November 5, trust managing director Md Iftekharul Islam Khan said.

‘Notices will be served on all of the suspected  2,651 people each of whom receives Tk 25,000 in monthly honorarium, rations and other benefits as war-injured freedom fighters,’ he said.

He said that the committee would first scrutinise whether they were genuine freedom fighters or not. ‘If so, we will identify whether they got the injury during the war of independence or not,’ he added.

Scrutinised freedom fighters would be sent to Dhaka Combined Military Hospital for determining intensity of the injury, Iftekahr said.

At present, 6,174 people, including 5,121 civilians and 1,053 present and former members of army, navy, police, Border Guard Bangladesh and Ansar and VDP are on the list of war-injured freedom fighters.

They get monthly allowance of Tk 25,000-45,000 in four categories depending on the intensity of their injuries.

War injured freedom fighters also get benefits like three bonuses, free treatment at hospitals in Bangladesh and three other countries, free limbs and wheel chairs and recreation tours.

The trust started paying monthly allowance of Tk 75 to each of 499 war-injured freedom fighters in 1973 as per the Bangladesh (Freedom Fighters) Welfare Trust Order 1972.

‘In 2003, BNP-led government decided to include 4,282 people with minor injuries on the list of beneficiaries for a monthly allowance of Tk 6,00 until death,’ Iftekhar said.

They were not entitled to other benefit, he said.

The inclusion was made in violation of a clause of the 1972 order, Iftekhar said.

According to the order, war-injured freedom fighters mean who are incapable of pursuing any normal vocation because of injuries sustained during the war of independence.

The law amended in 1984 stipulated that a person having injury less than 20 per cent of their bodies would not be entitled to the benefit, Iftekhar added.

The newly included 4,282 people had very minor injury as found in CMH tests, he said.

Subsequently, some other people with minor injuries obtained the status obtaining High Court orders, he said.

In 2011, he said, the government withdrew the condition of giving only Tk 600 a month to each of the war-injured with minor injuries.

Like others, he said their benefits also increased in later years.

The Bangladesh Muktijoddha Kalyan Trust Act 2018, which repealed the 1972 order, also excluded the condition of having at least 20 per cent physical injury for being entitled as war-injured, Iftekhar said.

The government had, however, information that many of beneficiaries who obtained status as war-injured after 2003 were not even freedom fighters, he said.

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