Jamuka cannot revoke Ziaur Rahman’s gallantry title: BNP

BNP leaders Hafizuddin Ahmed and Shahjahan Omar on Thursday questioned the authority of Jamuka to revoke Bir Uttam title conferred on Ziaur Rahman for his role in the Liberation War.

At a press conference, the two gallantry title-holding freedom fighters urged the Jatiya Muktijoddha Council or Jamuka to refrain from taking any move going beyond its jurisdiction.

BNP standing committee members arrange the press conference at the party Chairperson’s Gulshan office.

Major (retd) Hafiz Uddin Ahmed was the recipient of Bir Bikram title while Major (retd) Shahjahan Omar Bir Uttam, after the independence of the country for their contributions to the Liberation War.

“Stripping off anybody’s title is not the responsibility of Jamuka as this boy’s task is to determine the freedom fighters and the eligibility for getting the allowances,” said Hafiz, also a BNP vice chairman.

He also said Jamuka has no jurisdiction to take a decision on removing the Bir Uttam title of Z Force commander, sector commander and former Army Chief Ziaur Rahman.

Hafiz urged the Prime Minister not to implement such a ‘ridiculous move’. “If this initiative is implemented, then you’ll disrespect your father. Don’t forget it.”

Shahjahan Omar, also a BNP vice-chairman, said it is not compressible as to why Jamuka has suddenly taken such an initiative. “What is Jumka? There were three types of freedom fighters– military force, freedom fighter and BLF or Mujib Bahini–during the Liberation War.”

He said the military body, Center Officers’ Records Office, not Jamuka, control the freedom fighters from the military forces. “Jamuka has nothing to do with us…Jumka has no authority to say anything or take any decision about the freedom fighters from the military officers.”

The BNP leader said the decision Jamuka has taken in its meeting about the cancellation of the title of Ziaur Rahman is beyond its jurisdiction. “What the Liberation Affairs Minister said in this regard is also beyond his jurisdiction.”

He said the freedom fighters achieved the titles Bir Shrestha, Bir Uttam, Bir Bikram and Bir Pratik by fighting in the war field and those cannot be taken away as per anybody’s whims.

At the beginning of the press conference, BNP standing committee member Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain condemned Jamuka’s initiative to remove Zia’s title. “Their decision is a politically motivated one. It’s also a disgrace for the Great Liberation War and the freedom fighters. Even, this decision has manifested disrespect to the judgment of the then Prime Minister who gave him the title. ”

He said none of the reasons Jamuka showed to cancel Zia’s Bir Uttam title are logical or realistic. “This move has taken out of political vengeance.”

Meanwhile, the Jatiya Muktijoddha Council (Jamuka) at meeting on Tuesday discussed the ways to revoke the gallantry title of Ziaur Rahman for ‘violating’ the constitution, ‘abetting’ the self-proclaimed killers of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in escaping the country.

The meeting also agreed to repeal then state-given awards to Bangabandhu’s four convicted killers Noor Chowdhury, Shariful Haque Dalim, Mosleh Uddin and Rashed Chowdhury.

Bir Uttam, the second-highest award for individual gallantry in Bangladesh, was conferred on Ziaur Rahman for his contributions to the Liberation War as a sector commander.