Zia losing ‘Bir Uttam’ award

Staff Correspondent

11 February, 2021 12:00 AM printer

The Jatiya Muktijoddha Council (Jamuka) has decided to cancel the ‘Bir Uttam’ gallantry award of former President Ziaur Rahman.

The Jamuka has also decided to cancel gallantry awards of four killers of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

The killers are retired army officials Shariful Haq Dalim, MA Rashed Chowdhury, SHMB Noor Chowdhury and Mosleh Uddin.

The Jamuka took the decisions in its 72nd meeting on Tuesday, nearly 50 years after the country’s independence.

State facilities for them and their families will be cancelled once the Liberation War Affairs Ministry issues a gazette notification depending on the proposal made by the Jamuka, sources said.

Liberation War Affairs Minister AKM Mozammel Haque said awards and certificates of the killers of Bangabandhu were revoked as per a court directive.

“Names of many people, including Khandaker Mushtaque and Ziaur Rahman, involved in the assassination of Bangabandhu have come up in the meeting with solid evidence,” he said.

Mentioning that the decision was not a political one, Mozammel said there are many instances in the world where gallantry titles have been revoked for their misdeeds.

The minister also hinted that a subcommittee has been formed to place evidence relating to the killing of the Father of the Nation.

“Awards of those accused persons will be revoked later,” he hinted.

The veteran freedom fighter said the meeting also discussed the involvement of Ziaur Rahman in the assassination of Bangabandhu as the military ruler assisted self-proclaimed killers of Bangabandhu in fleeing the country and also promoted them.

“Zia formed cabinet by taking anti-liberation element, including Shah Aziz, Abdul Alim through amending the Constitution,” he said.

Talking to reporters, Law Minister Anisul Huq said probably there is no legal barrier to revoking gallantry award of BNP founder Ziaur Rahman.

“It is natural that a freedom fighter can get an award. Many have ruined the spirit of the War of Liberation in the name of freedom fighters. Does he have any right to avail the title?” he questioned.

‘Bir Uttam’ is the second highest award for individual gallantry in Bangladesh after ‘Bir Sreshtha’.

'Swadhinata Padak', or Independence Award for Ziaur Rahman was removed from the National Museum in 2016 after the Cabinet Committee on National Awards posthumously withdrew the award conferred on him.

When the BNP-Jamaat alliance was in power, the award was bestowed on the military ruler in 2003.