“They have endured extreme hardships during the Liberation War to ensure a better future for the future generations of this great nation.
“The present generation and generations to come hereafter are indebted to their contribution,” she said while distributing scholarships among students.
Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal, and GOC in charge of Indian Eastern Command Lt Gen MM Naravane were also present at the ceremony at the chancery in Dhaka on Tuesday.
The Muktijoddha scholarship scheme was started by the Indian government in 2006 for the descendants of the 1971 war veterans.
Each year the Indian government awards scholarship to descendants of freedom fighters to commemorate their contribution towards liberation of Bangladesh.
This year, 2,200 students have been selected for scholarship under both new and old schemes.
Scholarships were awarded to higher secondary and undergraduate level students.
Undergraduate students were awarded Tk 24,000 per year for four years and higher secondary students Tk 10,000 a year for two years.
Under this scheme, 10,936 students have benefited and an amount of Tk 174.2 million has been utilised for this purpose.
The high commissioner said this scholarship scheme is a “small symbolic gesture” of the Indian government to show their “continued solidarity” with them.
To the recipients of the scholarship scheme, Ganguly Das said, “You are the future of Bangladesh. You should be very proud to have been born in the family of Muktijoddhas and have inherited their legacy.”
“It is a unique honour, but carries with itself the onus of carrying forward their legacy and spirit into the future,” she said, adding that they will evolve “to be the goodwill ambassadors between the future generations of both countries”.
Indian Prime Minister Narandra Modi during her counterpart Sheikh Hasina’s recent visit announced three initiatives for the welfare of the freedom fighters.
>> Treatment of 100 Muktijoddha patients free of cost in Indian military hospitals.
>> Five year multiple entry visas for all Muktijoddhas.
>> New Muktijoddha Scholarship scheme.
The high commissioner said all those schemes have been implemented. For the medical scheme, so 85 freedom fighter patients have been treated this year.
Under the old scholarship scheme, which will be concluding this year, scholarships will be awarded to 200 undergraduate students.
Under the new scholarship scheme, a total of 10,000 students will be awarded scholarship over the next five years and Tk 350 million has been earmarked for this purpose.
Every year 2,000 students, 1,000 each from higher secondary and undergraduate levels, will be awarded scholarships.
Students at higher secondary level will get a one-time grant of Tk 20,000 and those at undergraduate level a one-off grant of Tk 50,000.
This scheme has already been implemented from last year and 1,621 students have been awarded the scholarship.
The home minister, who is also a freedom fighter, recalled India’s contribution in 1971 and said: “We have very good relations and it’ll strengthen by the day”.
“We’ll stand beside each other in any crisis,” he said.