Since its inception, Bangla-desh Ansar and VDP has been performing potential roles and activities as the largest force of around 6 million members to ensure human security and development of the people and the country, said Major General Md. Nazim Uddin, psc, Director General of Bangladesh Ansar and VDP, in an exclusive interview with The Guardian.
In this context, the Director General further said that the activities of Ansar-VDP are cost effective and suitable for a country like Bangladesh as it keeps the ability to gather information quickly.
He observed that as a motivated volunteer force, Ansar-VDP is suited to meet any national emergency and the organization can play a vital role to enhance the capacity of the people to face any kind of disaster at any time.
Recalling the glorious past of the organization, the Director General informed us that in 1971 most of the members of this Bahini took part in the War of Liberation and the members of this Bahini presented the historical guard of honour to the first government of Bangladesh during the War of Liberation.
He said that Bangladesh Ansar-VDP is forging ahead, keeping its historic glory untarnished; adding that the nation has witnessed how they have protected 1041 risky points of 17 Rail routes spread over 36 districts across the country in 2013/14.
In this context, he mentioned that 10th National Parliamentary elections could not be possible or even was not possible to organise without the help of Ansar -VDP members as this was another challenging event for the nation. He informed that a total of 220108 Anasr-VDP members were deployed in 18209 polling centres across the country to maintain security and law and order situation.
He also informed that Ansar Bahini made the Upazila elections successful and also ensured the protection of these election offices effectively, adding that thus Ansar and VDP is always committed to serve the nation.
In an exclusive interview, Major General Nazim Uddin, a highly experienced Director General, replied to several questions asked by The Guardian, covering the activities, contributions and different other issues of Bangladesh Ansar-VDP. His deliberations are quite interesting, informative and educative as well. The excerpts of his valuable interview are presented here for The Guardian readers at home and abroad:
The Guardian: Please give us a short introduction to the founding history of the Bangladesh Ansar and Village Defence Party (BA&VDP) through which it has come to its present position?
Director General: In reply to this question, first I would like to highlight the historical background of the term Ansar. It is an Arabic word which denotes one who volunteers his/her service to people. In the early days of Islam, our Prophet Muhammad (SM) had to migrate from Mecca to Medina, being ill treated by the then people of Kuraish Tribe. The people of Medina who voluntarily came forward to rehabilitate him and his companions were known as Ansars.
After the 2nd world war, Indian subcontinent was divided into India and Pakistan. The newly formed East Pakistan was burdened, facing deteriorated law and order situation with huge migrated people. Situation was going beyond control due to the poor law enforcing capacity. In this circumstance, the government of the then Pakistan had to think about community participation for maintaining law and order. They took the concept of Ansar of Medina to raise a community based force (volunteer) for social reconstruction and maintaining law and order.
Ansar Bahini was, thus, raised on 12 February 1948, with Mr. James Buchanon (a British) as Director, to help improve the law and order situation at that time. From 1948 to 1972, Ansar was under the control of National Service Board (NSB), chaired by the Principal Secretary to the government. In the very beginning of Liberation War, many Ansar members actively participated with more than 40,000 rifles in the war.
In 1971 most of the members of this Bahini took part in the War of Liberation. The members of this Bahini presented the historical guard of honour to the first government of Bangladesh during the War of Liberation. As a result, Pakistani rulers disbanded the Ansar organization in 1971. A total of 9 officers and 661 Ansar members sacrificed their lives for our independence. Among them one was awarded the gallantry award Bir Bikram and the two were awarded Bir Protik.
After the Liberation War, this Bahini was re-organized in 1972 and reactivated by the Government of Bangladesh and was brought under the control of the Ministry of Home Affairs. In 1980, Ansar was declared as a separate cadre namely “Bangladesh Civil Service (Enforcement-Ansar)”. In the year 1998, Ansar-VDP was awarded the National Standard by the Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh. The Bahini also earned Independence Award in 2004. Now it has its organization up to union level, which is known as Village Defence Party (VDP). Through the ages, the organization has taken off from voluntarism to professionalism. This is the history of Bangladesh Ansar & VDP in a nutshell.
The Guardian: Would you discuss the basic components of the organization of Ansar & VDP?
Director General: The organization consists of three basic components, run by three separate Acts passed in the Parliament in 1995. They are: 1. The Ansar Bahini (commonly known as Sadharon Ansar or Embodied Ansar when employed), enacted as Ansar Bahini Aain 1995 (Ansars Act 1995, thereby Ansars Act 1948 was repealed), 2. The Battalion Ansar, enacted as Battalion Ansar Aain 1995 (Battalion Ansar Act 1995), 3. The Village Defence Party (VDP), enacted as VDP Act 1995.
The Guardian: Would you reflect on the objectives of the organization of the BA&VDP and say how far the organization has been able to implement objectives in true sense?
Director General: The main objectives of Ansar Bahini as contained in Ansar Bahini Act 1995, Act No. 3 of 1995 are: to assist the government or any organization under the government in matters/works related to public security, to participate in any other works related to public security, to participate in any work related to public welfare for socio- economic development of the country and to assist Bangladesh Army, Navy, Air Force, BGB, Police and Battalion Ansar as and when directed by the government. Of course, Ansar Bahini is playing active role as and when they are deployed for discharging duties. Thus the organization is implementing its objectives.
The Guardian: In this context, would you discuss the role and responsibility of Battalion Ansars?
Director General: Battalion Ansar was raised in the month of August in 1976 to augment the strength of the security forces. At present, there are 36 Male and 02 Female Ansar Battalions, deployed all over the country.
The main responsibilities of Battalion Ansar are: to assist the government or any organization under the government in matters/works related to public security, to participate in any work related to public welfare for development of socio-economic condition of the country, to participate in disaster management, to participate in any other work as directed by the government and to assist the Bangladesh Army, Navy, Air Force, BGB and Police as and when directed by the government.
The Guardian: Please talk about the recent successes of the Ansar force, regarding law and order situation of the country?
Director General: I think you are quite well- known about the role of Bangladesh Ansar -VDP in maintaining law and order situation of the country. The nation has witnessed the success in maintaining Rail security in 2013/14. All kinds of structures of Rail might have been rooted out if eight thousand and five hundred Ansar-VDP members had not been deployed in 1041 risky points of 17 Rail routes spread over 36 districts across the country.
Moreover, the 10th National Parliamentary elections could not be possible even to organise without the help of Ansar -VDP members as this was another challenging event for the nation. A total of 220108 Anasr-VDP members were deployed in 18209 polling centres across the country to maintain security and law and order situation. Not only this, Ansar Bahini made the Upazila elections successful and also ensured the protection of these election offices effectively. Ansar and VDP is always committed to serve the nation.
The Guardian: In this context, would you reflect on the present organogram of the organization of BA&VDP and mention the number of officers and staff currently working with the organization?
Director General: The organization of Ansar & VDP can be best understood from its organogram in tree form as shown here below: