Shafipur (Gazipur): Mentioning that Bangladesh had been a country of militancy, terrorism and corruption under the BNP-Jamaat rule, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday said the soil of Bangladesh will not be allowed to become a playground of militancy and terrorism again by any means.
She directed all the law enforcing agencies including Bangladesh Ansar and VDP and also urged the countrymen to remain alert so that the anti-democratic and communal forces against the spirit of the Liberation War, BNP-Jamaat-Shibir and their cohorts could no longer destabilize the country.
Addressing the 34th National Rally of Ansar and VDP at the Ansar Academy here in the morning, the Prime Minister also asked the Ansar and VDP members to discharge their sacred duty with utmost courage, professional skill, neutrality, transparency and accountability.
“While discharging your duties, please behave decently with the people and also be compassionate to the hapless section of society, especially women, children and the elderly,” she told the Asar & VDP members.
Sheikh Hasina expressed her optimism that the Ansar & VDP members would work more devotedly to ensure welfare of the country and its people.
“Let’s all work to place our motherland in the world arena in a more dignified position,” she said.
Mentioning that the country's people have elected her party to run the government for the third time, the PM said that her government is committed to maintaining the continuity of development for the sake of the country and ensuring welfare of its people.
“We're pledge-bound to uphold the spirit of the War of Liberation, the rule of law and justice,” she added.
Earlier, on her arrival at the Ansar Academy, the Prime Minister was received by State Minister for Home Affairs Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal, Home Secretary CQK Mushtaq Ahmed, Director General of Bangladesh Ansar and VDP Major General Md Nazim Uddin and Commandant of Ansar Academy Dilip Kumar Biswas.
Riding an open jeep, the Prime Minister inspected the parade of a smartly-turned out contingent of Bangladesh Ansar and VDP on the occasion and took salute.
Later, Sheikh Hasina handed over Bangladesh Ansar Medals to four Ansar members; Bangladesh Ansar Medal (posthumously) to one; President's Ansar Medals to seven; Bangladesh VDP Medals to one; President's VDP Medals to four; Bangladesh Ansar Services Medals to five; Bangladesh Ansar Services Medals (posthumously) to nine; and President's Ansar Services Medals to 49 Ansar members.
Ministers, advisers to the Prime Minister, parliament members, diplomats and high civil and military officials were present at the function.
Listing various violent and destructive acts unleashed by what she said militant and terrorist outfits of BNP-Jamaat, the Prime Minister said they carried out unprecedented attacks on individuals and destroyed properties the public and private organizations in the name of movement.
“Train and railway tracks were made their vicious target,” she said, adding that Ansar and VDP played a significant role in resisting acts of sabotage against railway.
In this regard, she noted that two members of Ansar were killed and three others injured while on duty to protect trains and rail tracks.
Sheikh Hasina thanked the Ansar force for the responsible role it played in the January 5 elections and mentioned that one of its members was killed.
Recalling the role of Ansar-VDP since its inception 76 years ago, she said the members of the organization joined the War of Liberation by responding to the call of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Describing various steps taken by her government for the welfare of Ansar and VDP, the Prime Minister said that whenever Awami League formed government, it worked for the welfare of this force.
“During our 1996 government, I gave you the national flag and regularized the job of Ansar members after they completed 15 years,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina said that the duration for becoming permanent in their job gradually came down to nine years from 15 years. The job of 13,097 members of Ansar has been made permanent.
She said there was no provision of providing dearness allowances to the Ansar members. “But such allowance is now provided to all members of Ansars including temporary, female, Hill and merged Ansars.”
Besides, the PM added, the risk allowance at a rate of 30 percent of gross salary is being given to the Ansar members, while Tk 5 lakh is being provided to each Anasar-VDP member as financial grant for death on duty and Tk 1 lakh for critical injury.
She also mentioned giving time scale, two annual increments and raising ration allowance to Tk 80 from Tk 50.
Referring to the formation of new Ansar battalion, Sheikh Hasina said all members of the battalion have been given 7.62 cm automatic rifles and hoped that they would now be able to play their desired role keeping pace with the other forces.
Steps would be taken to further strengthen the command structure of the Ansar-VDP, she added.
The Prime Minister said: "It is our only aim to move forward with all and I hope that the Ansar and VDP force would continue to work with more dedication for the welfare of the country and its people.”
She also expressed her firm resolve to turn Bangladesh into a hunger and poverty free, technology-based middle-income country by 2021.
Later, the Premier addressed the officers of the force at the Officers Mess at the academy.
Sheikh Hasina also enjoyed a colorful cultural function performed by the members of Ansar and VDP.
The Prime Minister also inaugurated an Officers Mess, a multipurpose training shade, and a swimming pool at the Ansar and VDP Academy.
None to be allowed to do militancy in this soil: PM