Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday said that the government would ensure equal security measures for both the city and rural areas to combat terrorism and militancy.
"All members of the 50 lakh-strong Ansar-VDP battalion have to play their due role in an integrated manner to identify the militants and terrorists in their respective areas," she said.
Sheikh Hasina made this assurance while addressing a Parade and Darbar of the Bangladesh Ansar and Village Defence Party (VDP), marking its 36th National Rally of the force at Ansar-VDP Academy at Shafipur in Gazipur.
The Prime Minister also asked the members of Ansar and VDP to discharge their duties with utmost sincerity and courage to protect public life and property.
Sheikh Hasina also said, "The government would take steps for involving members of Ansar and VDP more actively with local representatives and police to maintain law and order and combat militancy and terrorism."
"The members of Ansar battalion have been assisting in maintaining law and order through curbing terrorism in the country's southwestern region while the officers of Ansar are working with reputation at RAB and Special Security Force (SSF)," she added.
They would continue to play the role with sincerity, honesty and devotion to render their services to the people, she hoped.
Later, the Prime Minister handed over Bangladesh Ansar Medal (Bravery) to three Ansar personnel, President Ansar Medal (Bravery) to seven, Bangladesh VDP Medal (Bravery) posthumously to one, Bangladesh Ansar Medal (Services) to six, Bangladesh VDP Medal (Services) to six VDP members, President Ansar Medal (Services) to 37 Ansar personnel,
President VDP Medal (Services) to 19 VDP members.
She also gave 17 gold, 25 silver and 21 bronze medals to the members of Ansar for their special contribution to maintain law and order situation and recovering arms. Besides, special awards were given to 40 Ansar personnel for making special contributions towards maintaining law and order and arms recovery.
Later, she witnessed a cultural programme from the umbrella shade and a show of the handicrafts produced by the Ansar and VDP members. Congratulating the members of Ansar and VDP marking their national conference, the Prime Minister said every member of the force has played an important role at different stages of the Bangalee's struggle for freedom.
Responding to the call of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, she said many Ansar members joined the War of Liberation in 1971. A total of 670 members of this force embraced martyrdom in the War of Liberation, she said adding that the force distributed their 40,000 arms among the freedom fighters.
A 12-member team of Ansar presented a Guard of Honour to the government in exile of Bangladesh at Meherpur on April 17, 1971, she recalled. The force is also playing an active role in maintaining law and order in the Chittagong Hill Tracts and south-western part of the country. She also praised the contribution of Ansar-VDP in sports arena particularly for becoming champions for the fourth times in Bangladesh Games.
Highlighting the successes of her government, the prime minister hoped that Bangladesh with the help of all would get its position amongst world community as a hunger and poverty free nation by 2021 and developed one by 2041.
Later, addressing a Darbar of Ansar and VDP, the Prime Minister announced her government's plan to recruit members in the Ansar battalion directly. In view of this, she said, the existing laws are being amended, she said.
Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan, Home Secretary Dr M Mozammel Haq Khan and Director General of Ansar and VDP Major General Nazim Uddin were, among others, present.