The children of freedom fighters in Bangladesh were given scholarships by India at a program jointly organized by Indian High Commission and Bangladesh Muktijodha Academy on Saturday.
The program was inaugurated by Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Harsh Vardhan Shringla. Dr. Mahfujur Rahman, the chairman of Freedom Fighter Research Center, also spoke on the occasion.
While handing over the stipends to the children of the freedom fighters at the theatre institute in the city, Shringla said, "The two premiers of India and Bangladesh, Narendra Modi and Sheikh Hasina have maintained the relationship, the foundation of which was laid by Bangbandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and Indira Gandhi."
India initiated the Muktijodha Scholarship Scheme in 2006 for descendants of the 1971 Freedom Fighters. Up to now, more than 10,000 scholarships worth Taka 150 million have been disbursed.
This year, scholarships have been awarded to 600 undergraduate students. Of them, 48 were from Chittagong, reportedly.
"You have fought shoulder to shoulder with Indian troops in 1971 and continue to be our eternal friends. May Almighty bless you all with good health, prosperity and happiness," Shringla told the freedom fighters gathered at the scholarship award ceremony in Chittagong.
Indian Deputy High Commissioner to Bangladesh Somnath Halder thanked everybody for attending the programme which ended with a cultural performance.
Earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi during Sheikh Hasina's visit to India announced that another 10,000 students will receive scholarships under the new Muktijodha scholarship scheme.
All freedom fighters are now eligible for five years multiple entry Indian visa and 100 of them will be provided free medical treatment in Indian hospitals every year.
The High Commissioner said under the new scheme, students at higher secondary level will get an onetime grant of taka 20,000 (Rs 15,3700) and those at Under graduate level will get taka 50,000 (Rs 38,430). Students are selected on the basis of merit from every district for the scheme.
Shringla also said that the initiatives announced by Modi reflect "our continued solidarity with the valiant Muktijodhas".
Minister for Housing and Public Works Mosharraf Hossain was also present at the ceremony.
(With inputs from PTI)