Women are not allowed to attend funeral prayers in Islam, says a committee member
Authorities in Bangladesh – a country that takes a lot of pride in initiatives that empower women – want to bar female officials from giving guard of honour to dead freedom fighters citing religious restrictions.
As per the rules, when a freedom fighter dies, a team of police performs the ritual in presence of the deputy commissioner or the upazila nirbahi officer on behalf of the state.
In many districts, there are female government officials who lead local administrations, as DCs and UNOs among other roles, and this is what the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Ministry of Liberation War Affairs has a problem with.
At a meeting on Sunday, the committee raised objections regarding this matter and asked the government to look for alternatives. They also suggested organizing the guard of honour at daytime, read a press release of the Parliament Secretariat.
Talking to Dhaka Tribune, Bir Protik Waresat Hussain Belal, a member of the parliamentary panel, said: “There have been a lot of complaints by freedom fighters regarding this issue from the districts and upazilas levels.
“They don’t want female government officials to conduct the guard of honour. This is because women aren’t allowed to attend funeral prayers in Islam. Considering everything, we have recommended that female officers be discouraged from attending the ritual for dead freedom fighters.”
Liberation War Affairs Minister AKM Moazammel Haque said that they had discussed the matter. “A Parliamentary Standing Committee can only make recommendations, as per the rules, but it cannot take a decision,” the minister told Dhaka Tribune.
Meanwhile, the same committee also discussed the revised policy regarding free of cost diagnosis for the freedom fighters at specialized government hospitals across the country.
They suggested raising the amount allotted for the freedom fighters as medicine cost from Tk50,000 to Tk75,000.
They also discussed finding possible sources to constitute the “Muktijoddha Complex Fund” with a view to increasing the benefits of the freedom fighters including rehabilitation of the wounded freedom fighters.
Lawmakers Razi Uddin Ahmed, Major (retd) Rafiqul Islam, Kazi Feroz Rashid and Moslem Uddin Ahmed took part in the meeting, presided over by committee Chairman Shahjahan Khan.