In Bangladesh a number of law enforcing agencies are currently working to ensure peace and social security across the country. These are Police, Ansar-VDP, BGB, RAB and Bangladesh Coast Guard. Among these, Bangladesh Ansar and Village Defence Party, popularly known in its abbreviated name ‘Ansar and VDP’, is a force with a difference from those, because of its nature of formation and mandate of operation.
Of course, there remains a significant national cause behind the establishment of Ansar force. After the partition of Indo-Pak subcontinent in 1947, the eastern part of Pakistan, East Pakistan, was facing pressure to stabilize law and order situation effectively by its limited law enforcing capacity, due to burden of huge migration of people from India to East Pakistan. As a result, the government took up the idea of Ansar from the concept of Medina to establish a community based force for social reconstruction and maintaining law and order in the country. On the basis of this concept, finally on the 12th of February 1948, the Ansar force was created.
The Ansar force had to pass over a long traversed way to come to its today’s success and dignified position in Bangladesh. This force is one of the history makers of our independent Bangladesh. They, through the historical guard of honour to the first government of Bangladesh in 1971, has glorified the history of our great independence. This enraged the Pakistani rulers and they at once disbanded the Ansar force in 1971.
This order of Pakistani rulers undid nothing to the undaunted heroes of Ansar force. Rather, most of the members of this force took active part in the Liberation War of 1971 and many of its brave officers and members sacrificed their valuable lives for the sake of our great independence. Among the Ansar heroes of Liberation War, one was awarded the gallantry award BB and the two others were awarded the BP.
After the Liberation War, this force was gradually reorganized and reactivated by the government of new-born Bangladesh. Later in 1988, it was awarded the national standard by the government. And in 1995, necessary laws for Ansar-VDP were enacted by the government that strengthened this force towards progress and development in a systematic way. In 2004, for its outstanding contribution, Bangladesh Ansar and VDP also won the Independence Award, the highest state award of Bangladesh.
It is also relevant to mention here that Bangladesh Army has achieved a high name and fame at home and abroad, especially for its contributions to rescue operations in time of any natural disaster or any other national crisis in Bangladesh and to the UN Peace Keeping Mission abroad. There is no denial of the fact that army officers are well-trained and by nature they are smart and prompt in taking decision and action. So, it is important that the post of the Director General of Bangladesh Ansar and VDP is ornamented by a Major General of high professional quality and capacity. The Major Generals who already discharged the responsibility of Director Genearal, all were the officers of high quality and capacity and played important roles in the development of Ansar-VDP and ensuring services to the nation.
Like his predecessors, present Director General of Bangladesh Ansar and VDP, Major General Md. Nazim Uddin, psc is obviously a General of high professional quality, experience, competence and capacity. As a result, Bangladesh Ansar and VDP, led by Director General Major General Md. Nazim Uddin, has added to its history some new dimensions of success, development and achievement of Ansar-VDP and remarkable services to the nation.
The Director General, accompanied by army officers posted here and officers and members of Ansar-VDP, has successfully managed the challenges rising from political conflict that attacked the country’s entire railway system to destroy in 2013/14. At this time, along side Bangladesh Army and other forces, Ansar and VDP under the able leadership of General Nazim also played one more unprecedented role in holding the 10th Parliamentary election in Bangladesh.
The role was the ensuring of peace and social security of the people across the country that made the 10th Parliamentary election possible. It was an unimanginable challenging situation when the entire nation was in a dangerous panic, thinking about a potential civil war, regarding deep political crisis that influenced the holding of 5th January election uncertain. But, the election was held in due time and the holding of election resolved the crisis. Without the role of Ansar-VDP, this election was impossible. Ansar is a historic name for election in rural Bangladesh. No election, whether national or local government, is possible in Bangladesh without their service.
These are not all. Ansar and VDP is currently involved with different other activities. They are now guarding different important establishments and organizations like airports, seaports, landports, industrial enterprises, public transports, residential areas, power stations, banks, agriculture farms, shopping malls, markets, office premises, maintaining internal security, traffic control, law and order and many others. Thus they are also playing vital roles in socio-economic growth and development of the country.
Importantly, by performing different activities of ensuring security and socail resposibilities, Bangladesh Ansar and VDP has reached the praising state of success and professionalism. Today, it has been able to expand its area of operational activities and services across the country and set its institutional link up to the union level, probably no other institutions of this kind has been able yet to set such a link across the country. Currently, 36 male and 2 female Battalion Ansars are deployed all over the country and 6.5 million members of VDP, along with other members of Embodied Ansar, Hill Ansar, Hill VDP and TDP, remain active in performing duties across the country. So, all these roles and contributions of Ansar-VDP are not a matter of simply praising but also a matter of serious study and evaluation for how they can be given more role to play in future for building a better Bangladesh.
Of course, with the gradual rise of population and developments of the country, the demand of Ansar-VDP services will increase manifold. So, the future of Ansar-VDP is brightening day-by-day. In this context, this institution needs proper attention of the government for setting its future strategies and action-plans. For this, the government should frame a time congenial policy for Ansar-VDP, even the government may rename it as ‘Bangladesh Social Security Force (BSSF)’ to suit the future need and the age, so that it can fulfil the future demand of the country more expectedly.
Aiming to inform the people about the overall state of Ansar-VDP, in this issue, The Guardian contains an exclusive interview of the Director General and a good number of articles of senior officers and experts of Bangladesh Ansar and VDP. All these valuable stories focus on the entire activities, problems, potentials, contributions and achievements of Ansar-VDP. So, we hope these valuable stories will attract the proper attention of our policy makers towards Ansar-VDP and our readers at home and abroad will also get interest in them. Now, let us conclude with the hope that Ansar-VDP must forge its glorious tradition ahead, keep its commitment untarnished for serving the nation the best, for building a better Bangladesh.