Bangladesh to offer VIP status to 1971 war veterans



Dhaka: In a gesture to recognise their contribution to the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said that the government has initiated a process to offer 'Very Important Person' (VIP) status to the decorated and wounded war veterans.

"A process is underway to declare all the national award-winning and war-wounded freedom fighters as the VIPs," she told a reception of the 1971 veterans at the Dhaka Cantonment late yesterday as part of the Armed Forces Day celebrations.

The freedom fighters can also avail free journey in buses, trains and ferries as part of the immediate steps by the government to enhance their facilities.

Thirty five decorated ex-service men and 11 civilian gallantry award-wining war veterans and their successors joined the reception where Hasina promised her government will continue efforts to uphold the spirit of the Liberation War.

According to a decision taken during Hasina’s previous tenure from 1996 to 2001, the deceased freedom fighters are buried with state honour with a police contingent offering honour guards and gun salutes as bugles play the last post.

The freedom fighters and their children are also entitled to quotas in government jobs and state-run universities.

Bangladesh won the independence after a nine-month long bloody war against Pakistani forces with crucial Indian support in 1971.

PTI