India has given scholarships to children of freedom fighters in Bangladesh under its Muktijodha Scholarship Scheme, reported India Today. The scheme was started in 2006 for descendants of the 1971 freedom fighters. This year, as many as 600 undergraduate students have received the benefits of the scheme at a program jointly organised by Indian High Commission and Bangladesh Muktijodha Academy. The event was organised within a month of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement, made during Sheikh Hasina’s visit to India, to provide scholarships to another 10,000 students under the new Muktijodha scholarship scheme.
The event was inaugurated by the Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Harsh Vardhan Shringla. While handing over the stipends to the children, Shingla praised the freedom fighters for fighting “shoulder to shoulder with Indian troops in 1971”. He said the Prime Ministers of India and Bangladesh, Narendra Modi and Sheikh Hasina, are maintaining the relationship whose foundation was laid by that country’s first prime minister Bangbandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and then prime minister of India Indira Gandhi, adding that the initiatives announced by PM Modi reflect “our continued solidarity with the valiant Muktijodhas”.
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Initiated in 2006, more than 10,000 scholarships worth Tk 150 million have been disbursed. Moreover, India will give Rs 350 million to children of freedom fighters in Bangladesh in the next five years under the new ‘Muktijodha scholarship’ scheme, Shingla had reportedly announced. He further said that under the new scheme, students at the higher secondary level will get a one-time grant of Tk 20,000 and those at the undergraduate level will get Tk 50,000. Besides, all freedom fighters are now eligible for five years multiple entry Indian visa and 100 of them will be provided free medical treatment in Indian hospitals every year.
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Speaking at the scholarship award event, Shingla appreciated the efforts of freedom fighters, saying they had fought shoulder to shoulder with Indian troops in 1971 and continue to be the eternal friends of the country. Minister for Housing and Public Works Mosharraf Hossain also graced the ceremony.