The Swadhinata Padak conferred on BNP founder Ziaur Rahman was removed from the National Museum on Wednesday apparently following a decision of the government to revoke it. Talking to UNB, Dr Swapan Kumar Biswas, keeper of History and Classical Art department of the National Museum, said they removed Zia’s medal and citation of the Swadhinata Padak from the Museum following a directive of the Liberation War Affairs Ministry.
A source at the National Museum wishing anonymity said an official of the Cabinet Division took away the Padak from the museum around 12:35pm. The BNP-led government conferred the Swadhinata Padak on both Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and Ziaur Rahman (posthumously) in 2003.
Awami League had refused the award and strongly opposed awarding Zia at that time. Zias’ award was then kept at the National Museum along with the citation. Swadhinata Padak (Independence Award) is the country’s highest state award in recognition of contributions to the national independence and other areas.
According to media reports, a cabinet committee on national award recently recommended revoking Zia’s Swadhinata Padak. It also proposed that the medal and citation of Zias’ Padakl should be removed from the National Museum.
Earlier at a press conference on August 26, BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said the BNP-led government awarded late Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and Ziaur Rahman with the Swadhinata Padak in 2003, and it is a glorious example of political generosity in Bangladesh history.
“We have somehow come to know that the Cabinet meeting has decided to withdraw Ziaur Rahman’s Swadhinata Padak. It’s a suicidal and unbecoming decision of the Cabinet,” he added.