Give Guerrilla Hafiz his due recognition
Freedom fighter Syed Hafizur Rahman, known among his peers as "Guerrilla Hafiz" or "Mine Hafiz" because of his gallantry during the 1971 war, laid down his life for our independence. Fifty years have passed since then, yet the country for which he made the ultimate sacrifice has still not recognised him as a martyred freedom fighter. This is a shameful gesture not only towards the sacrifices he made, but also our glorious history as a nation.
According to a report by this daily, Hafiz's family has submitted a total of eight applications to the state requesting that he be officially recognised as a martyred freedom fighter – as his compatriots were. However, time and again, the state failed to pay him this bare minimum respect. This was despite the fact that his family submitted a copy of the Tk 2,000 cheque awarded to the family by Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in 1972, along with a recommendation letter signed by Crack Platoon guerrilla commander Golam Dastagir Gazi. Moreover, many of his fellow freedom fighters have also authenticated the family's claim that Hafiz had not only participated in our struggle for independence, but had shown supreme courage until his very last breath, even in the face of torture by Pakistani forces – including the gouging out of his eyes for not giving away information about his fellow freedom fighters.
Over the last 50 years, successive governments have failed to protect the history of our glorious Liberation War beyond paying lip service or trying to glorify themselves and their roles in the war for political purposes. We have seen how documents from those days have been neglected, how lists of freedom fighters were tampered with, and new lists were made, which were full of errors. Yet, the largest collection of Liberation War documents, "Bangladesher Swadhinota Juddho: Dolil Potro (Volume 10)", details several operations that Hafiz took part in during the war. Why, then, has the government failed to give him his due recognition? What have the various departments entrusted with preserving our history been doing?
It is disgraceful that the last time Hafiz's family made a submission for his recognition, his younger sister was asked to just "pay [a bribe of] Tk 5-10 lakh at the right place" to get a certificate, instead of running around here and there. It goes to show how low we have come as a nation – particularly the state machinery – from those glorious days when people like Hafiz fought to liberate this nation.
We call on the relevant authorities to immediately grant Hafiz proper posthumous recognition, with an official apology for the delay. His family has been through enough trouble; the state, instead of causing them more inconveniences, should reach out to them of its own volition and rectify a grave mistake.