Freedom fighters in Dinajpur's Birganj upazila yesterday urged the upazila's Awami League-backed chairman-elect to issue apologies for terming freedom fighters Razakars during his speech at an Independence Day programme on Tuesday.
During a press conference organised in the afternoon at Dinajpur Press Club, the war heroes also said they would announce a tougher agitation programme unless their demand is met.
On Tuesday afternoon, on the occasion of the country's 48th anniversary of Independence Day, local administration organised a discussion and reception at Birganj Pilot High School playground to heroes of 1971 Liberation War.
As many as 140 freedom fighters attended the programme where Manoranjan Shil Gopal, lawmaker for Dinajpur-1 (Birganj and Kaharol), was present as the chief guest and the upazila chairman-elect, Aminul Islam, was present as the special guest, according to freedom fighters.
Aminul Islam during his speech said, “A group of freedom fighters did not vote for me [in the March 18 upazila parishad election], although I was nominated by Awami League. They are Razakars.”
Addressing the programme later, lawmaker Manoranjan Gopal urged Aminul to withdraw his remark. But the meeting ended without any apology from Aminul.
Offended by Aminul's remark, the freedom fighters organised the press conference yesterday when Kalipada Roy, former commander of Birganj upazila unit of Muktijoddha Sangsad, read out a written statement.
“We demand his [chairman-elect] apology for labelling the freedom fighters as Razakars, who had opposed the country's liberation,” said freedom fighter SMA Khaleque.
After this correspondent reached Aminul Islam on his cellphone for his comments on the matter, he said he did not intend to call all freedom fighters Razakars.
Rather, he wanted to refer to those who did not endorse or extend cooperation to him during the campaigning of the Upazila Parishad election, he added.