SHAFIPUR, Gazipur, Feb 12, 2017 (BSS) - Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today directed the members of Ansar and Village Defense Party (VDP) to play more proactive role against militancy, terrorism and abuse of drug in rural areas.
While addressing the 37th National Rally at Ansar-VDP Academy here, the premier also asked them to be associated with development activities of the government to build Bangladesh as a prosperous and dignified nation.
"As a global phenomenon, Bangladesh is not free from the spate of militancy, terrorism and drug dealers which has emerged as a grave concern. Ansar and VDP members can play a big role in containing the menaces across the country as they live in rural areas," she said.
She expressed her firm optimism that Ansar and VDP members would play a specific role in making people aware about the criminals linked with militancy, terrorism and drug dealing as well as maintaining law and order.
The prime minister said Bangladesh won't bow head and depend on anybody to live.
"We will stand on our own feet and live in the world community keeping our head high," she said, hoping that Ansar and VDP members with their training can help rural people to stand on their feet.
On the occasion, an attractive parade and march past of different contingents of Ansar-VDP was arranged at Platoon Commander Yead Ali Parade Ground of the academy.
Director of the force Fakrul Islam was the parade commander. The prime minister inspected the parade and took salute.
Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan, Home Secretary Dr Kamal Uddin Ahmed, Director General of Ansar and VDP Major General Mizanur Rahman Khan received the premier on her arrival at the academy.
Members of the cabinet, parliament members, chiefs of three services and senior civil and military officials attended the function.
Praising the role of Ansar and VDP in maintaining law and order during national crises, the prime minister said their activities have made the force as a dependable partner of the government.
Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh Ansar and Village Defense Party (VDP) is a dedicated force originated from the country's very deep root and common masses. "They have the ability and necessary training to play a role in motivating the people to engage in country's development work," she said.
The prime minister said said the presence of more than half lakh members of Ansar and VDP in industries, seaports and airports kept the wheel of economy safe and propelling and they are also playing a pivotal role in the Aviation Security (AVSEC) and diplomatic zones.
As the largest and well-disciplined force, Ansar and VDP is playing important role in country's needs since its inception, she said, adding that the force is also an important partner of government's development endevour.
The prime minister said responding to the call of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, members of the force spontaneously took up arms against the enemy during the War of Liberation in 1971 which was written in golden letters in country's history.
Recalling the role of the force in the War of Liberation she said a 12-member team of Ansar presented Guard of Honour to the exile government of Bangladesh at Meherpur on April 17, 1971.
Forty thousand three-not-three (303) rifles of the force were the main strength in the liberation war, she said, remembering the supreme sacrifice of 670 members of the force in the war.
Since independence, the prime minister said, the force has been serving the nation efficiently and successfully in every national sphere particularly during national crisis and emergency.
Apart from rendering their services during polls, the force is playing a praiseworthy role in protecting state property and containing subversive activities.
She lauded them particularly for their role in protecting railway property, preventing subversive activities on highways during BNP-Jamaat sponsored destructive political programme in 2015.
The prime minister handed over Bangladesh Ansar Award, Bangladesh VDP Award and President's Ansar Award to 50 Ansar and VDP members for their outstanding services. This year a total 110 members were given the gallantry awards for their services.
The prime minister said the Awami League government has introduced different gallantry awards for the members of the Ansar and VDP members for their extraordinary and courageous services.
Congratulating the members of Ansar and VDP on the occasion of their national rally, Sheikh Hasina said her government has conferred highest honour 'national flag' on the force in 1998, and steps were taken for confirmation of jobs in Ansar after six year of service instead of nine years.
Pointing out the government initiatives for development of the force, the prime minister said every year the government is increasing the benefits, privileges and welfare activities of the Ansar and VDP in different ways.
Allowances of the temporary Ansar battalion, embedded Ansar, Hill Ansar and VDP leaders were increased substantially recently. The number of VDP male and female leaders was raised to 15,248 from 8,500 to strengthen organizational activities in urban areas, she said.
Sheikh Hasina said everybody now recognize the competence and courage of the Ansar and VDP. Fifteen battalions of Ansar are working with the Bangladesh Army in the operational activities in the CHT to maintain law and order there.
Particularly, two female battalions are serving with the national intelligence agencies and Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) to check subversive activities and smuggling on the frontier, she said.
Lauding the job-oriented and vocational training of the force, the prime minister said their activities are helping creating skilled youth force. "Members of the force are taking quality training keeping pace with the demand of present era and making them prepared for self-employment," she said.
Sheikh Hasina said construction of five model Ansar Battalion Headquarters has already been completed out of 15 declared by the government last year.
Sheikh Hasina urged the members of Ansar and VDP to render their services with honesty, sincerity and courage. "With the efforts of all Bangladesh would get its position amongst world community as a hunger and poverty free nation by 2021 and developed one by 2041," she hoped.
Later the prime minister unveiled the plaques of Ansar Battalion Sadar Daptar Complex in Thakurgaon, Rajshahi, Khulna and Rangamati.
She also enjoyed a colourful cultural programme presented by Ansar and VDP members on the occasion and visited stalls of handicrafts made by Ansar-VDP members.
Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)