Prime minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday asked the Ansar force to work for the national development alongside discharging their routine duties to ensure public security being the country’s biggest law enforcement agency in terms of their number.
‘We expect you will perform your duties with honesty, utmost sincerity and bravery to ensure public security alongside making efforts to defeat the evil forces,’ she said while addressing the 40th national rally of Bangladesh Ansar and Village Defence Party at Bangladesh Ansar-VDP Academy at Shafipur in Gazipur.
The prime minister simultaneously requested the Ansars to play enhanced role for the country’s development as her government created a scope for all to make contribution to this end.
‘You will perform the duties vested upon you accordingly as the country’s largest force,’ she added.
Sheikh Hasina said, ‘The day is not far away when Bangladesh will be transformed into a developed and prosperous country free from poverty and hunger if we all work in unison for the noble cause.’ On her arrival at the rally venue, the prime minister was received by home minister Asaduzzaman Khan and director general of Bangladesh Ansar and VDP Major General Kazi Sharif Kaikobad.
Later, she inspected a parade of Ansar and VDP riding an open jeep and received salute.
The prime minister handed over eight types of special medals — Bangladesh Ansar Medal, President’s Ansar Medal, Bangladesh VDP Medal, President VDP Medal, Bangladesh Ansar Services Medal, President’s Ansar Services Medal, Bangladesh VDP Services Medal and President’s VDP Services Medal — to 143 Ansar and VDP members for their bravery and praiseworthy services.
Besides, she also handed over the posthumous medal to wife of late Golam Mostafa.
Sheikh Hasina later witnessed a cultural programme performed by Ansar and VDP members, joined a ‘darbar’ of Ansar officers and members, and cut a cake marking the occasion.
Noting that her government had been working for socio-economic development of Bangladesh when it came to power after 21 years, the prime minister said, ‘We have been carrying out huge works for development of all the sectors such as education, health and communications.’
She went on saying, ‘We have graduated Bangladesh to a developed country from the least developed one and have been able to bring down the poverty rate to 20.5 per cent while the per capita income has also been increased.’
The prime minister also said that her government had already made Bangladesh a digital one and launched Bangabandhu Satellite-1, adding, ‘Now, we are achieving the quality to cope up with the world.’
She, however, thanked Ansar Bahini for taking programmes to observe the birth centenary of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
In this regard, she said, ‘We have already started countdown to observe the ‘Mujib Year’ marking the birth centenary of the Father of the Nation from March 17, 2020 to March 17, 2021. The golden jubilee of the independence will also be observed on March 26 next year.’
The prime minister said, ‘We’ll make Bangladesh a developed and prosperous country free from poverty and hunger as envisioned by Father of the Nation.’
Recalling the contribution of the Ansar Bahini, Sheikh Hasina said that the force had been playing remarkable role in containing terrorism and extremism alongside discharging duties during all the elections including the national polls.
‘Besides, the force had played a significant role when the lives of people became risky due to arson attacks and they performed huge responsibility in protecting the rail tracks at that time,’ she also said in this context.
The prime minister recalled the Ansar members who sacrificed their lives in the arson attacks — carried out by the BNP-Jamaat alliance — and prayed for salvation of the departed souls and expressed sympathy to the bereaved family members.
Stating that the honesty and efficiency of the force was now recognised by all, Sheikh Hasina said that the Ansar Bahini had been playing significant role to make active the wheel of economy as they had been working to ensure security at various public and private establishments.
‘The Ansar Bahini has been working to ensure security at the airports,’ she also said, adding that two women battalion and 42 Ansar battalions had been working to ensure public security at the grassroots while 16 Ansar battalions working with Bangladesh Army to maintain the law and order in the hill tracts.
Besides, the newly formed Ansar Guard Battalion had been working to ensure security of diplomats, country’s important personalities alongside safeguarding the diplomatic enclaves, she continued.
Recalling the contribution of the Ansar Bahini in the War of Independence and the Language Movement, Sheikh Hasina said that as many as 1,229 members of the force gave guard of honour to the first government of Bangladesh on April 17, 1971 during its oath taking ceremony.
The government was formed on April 10, 1971 at the directives of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, she added.
Highlighting various programmes taken for overall development of the Ansar Bahini, she said, ‘We have been implementing various programmes for the development of Ansar Bahini as our government is always sincere to resolve problems of the forces.’
In this context, she recalled the contribution of Sheikh Mujib as he wanted to develop all the forces including the Ansar Bahini after the War of Independence.
Noting that Ansar Bahini was awarded with the highest state honour ‘Swadhinata Padak’ in 1998 for its special contribution to the field of sports, she said, ‘We first gave the national flag to the Ansar Bahini.’
‘The players of the force have achieved 68 out of 142 medals in the recently concluded SA Games,’ the prime minister said, adding that the Ansar Bahini had brightened Bangladesh’s image in the international arena in sports and culture alongside discharging their regular duties.
She said that her government had already formed a guard battalion and four Ansar battalions while formation of two more Ansar battalions was at final stage for safeguarding the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant, Mujibnagar Liberation War Memorial Complex and the mango orchard.
Sheikh Hasina said that the manpower of the force had been increased to reorganise the organisational structure, adding, ‘Rank badges have been harmonised from the post of deputy director general to director.’
The prime minister said that as many as six posts for deputy director general and 17 for director had been created in 2019 while 966 members of the force had been promoted in previous year.
Noting that her government had formed Ansar and VDP Bank, she said, ‘The bank will help the Ansar Bahini to become self-reliant.’
‘The process of enacting the ‘Ansar Battalion Act’ is underway,’ she also said, adding that her government had introduced the risk allowances for the force members.
Stating that her government had introduced ‘service’ and ‘bravery’ awards for the force in recognition to their contribution, she said, ‘We are always sympathised to your benefits and welfare.’
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