Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today asked Bangladesh Ansar to work for national development alongside their routine duties to ensure public security.
"We expect you [Ansar Bahini] will perform your duties with honesty, utmost sincerity and bravery to ensure public security alongside making efforts to defeat evil forces," she said while addressing the 40th national rally of Bangladesh Ansar and Village Defence Party (VDP) at the Bangladesh Ansar-VDP Academy in Shafipur.
The prime minister also urged the Ansars to play an enhanced role for the country's development as her government has created a scope for all to make contributions to this end.
"The day is not far when Bangladesh will be transformed into a developed and prosperous country free from poverty and hunger if we all work in unison for the noble cause," she said.
On her arrival at the rally venue, the prime minister was received by Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan and Director General of Bangladesh Ansar and VDP Major General Kazi Sharif Kaikobad.
Later, she inspected a parade of Ansar and VDP, and received salutations.
The premier handed over eight types of special medals -- Bangladesh Ansar Medal, President's Ansar Medal, Bangladesh VDP Medal, President's VDP Medal, Bangladesh Ansar Services Medal, President's Ansar Services Medal, Bangladesh VDP Services Medal and President's VDP Services Medal -- to 143 Ansar and VDP members for their bravery and praiseworthy services.
She also handed over a posthumous medal to the wife of the late Golam Mostafa.
She thanked Bangladesh Ansar for undertaking programmes to observe the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
The prime minister said the Ansar Bahini has been playing a significant role in putting the wheels of the economy in motion as they have been working to ensure security at various public and private establishments.
"The Ansar Bahini has been working to ensure security at the airports," she also said, adding that two women battalion and 42 ansar battalions have been working to ensure public security at the grassroots while 16 ansar battalions have been working with Bangladesh Army to maintain the law and order situations in the Hill Tracts.
Recalling the contribution of Bangladesh Ansar, the prime minister said the force has been playing a remarkable role in containing terrorism, militancy and extremism alongside discharging duties during all the elections, including the national polls.
"Besides, the force had played a significant role when the lives of people were at risk due to arson attacks and they performed a huge responsibility in protecting the rail tracks at that time," she also said in this context.
Stating that her government has introduced "service" and "bravery" awards for the force in recognition of their contribution, she said, "We are always sympathetic to your benefits and welfare."