Liberation War Affairs Minister AKM Mozammel Huq on Monday told Parliament that fake freedom fighters are still enjoying allowance due to the court order.
“It is shameful for our nation that fake freedom fighters are still getting allowance. It is true.Because when we tried to drop their names from the list, the court stayed the scrutiny of freedom fighter lists before completion of the scrutiny process,” he said.
The court also ordered to continue the allowance of fake freedom fighters even though the government stopped the allowance initially after finding fake names in the scrutiny process, he said, replying to a supplementary question from Jatiya Party MP Nurul Islam Milon (Comilla-8).
“So we’re obliged to provide the allowance, it is unfortunate and we continue the legal fight in the court to review and withdraw such order,” the minister said.
He said cases are being filed with the court on grounds of violation of fundamental rights as the court considered recognition as freedom fighter a fundamental right. “But it is not a fundamental right. Those who fought in the liberation war and took part with arms will be freedom fighters. It is not an equal right to all citizens.”
“We’re in trouble due to misinterpretation of law. I would like to draw attention of the court from the House that becoming freedom fighter is not a fundamental right of any citizen. Only those who took part in the liberation war will be freedom fighters,” Mozammel said.
At this stage, Speaker Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury suggested the minister to give instructions to his lawyers to raise the argument properly in the court in this regard.
In reply to another supplementary question from Jatiya Party MP Kazi Firoz Rashid (Dhaka-6), the Liberation War Affairs Minister said the court ordered him to include even a man, who had been only four years old in 1971, in the list of freedom fighters.
“We’ve asked the court how we can make a 4-year-old child as a freedom fighter? The court even ordered to provide him with the arrears of 23 years,” he said.
He hoped that they do not face such embarrassing situation in the future as they continue their best efforts contesting the legal battle.
Responding to a supplementary question from Jatiya Party MP Mohammad Noman (Laxmipur-2), the minister said the BNP-Jamaat government included some 33,000 men in the list of freedom fighters as per their whim, though most of them did not take part in the liberation war.
He said when the government tried to drop the fake freedom fighters from the list, a total of 116 cases were filed with the court challenging the government’s move.
The government is yet to drop fake freedom fighters from the list due to the court order. But the government is contesting the cases in the court and will be able to finalise Thana-based list of freedom fighters whenever the court’s stay orders are withdrawn.
Answering a supplementary question from Awami League MP Mokbul Hossain, the minister said the government has yet to prepare 12 thana-level lists of freedom fighters. “But we’ll be able to publish all lists on the website within the next three days.”
If any authentic freedom fighter is dropped from the lists, s/he can apply to be included as freedom fighter. The government will include his or her name in the list following investigation, the minister said.