Bangladesh is observing the Martyred Intellectuals’ Day in a befitting manner to remember the brightest sons of the country killed by the Pakistani junta.
Two days prior to the country’s victory against occupation forces, on this day 47 years ago, the Pakistan army in collusion with their local collaborators Al-Badr, Al-Shams and Razakars – killed the most prominent intellectuals of the country in a bid to cripple the newly emerging nation.
A memorial erected in memory of the martyred intellectuals at Mirpur in the capital has been readied as national leaders and people from all walks of life will pay tributes by placing wreaths there.
The Pakistani troops and their Bengali-speaking collaborators belonging to Razakar or other auxiliary forces killed a number of intelligentsia throughout the nine-month long Liberation War.
The then Bangladesh government and victorious freedom fighters, however, came to know about their last brutal massacre only when the Pakistani troops surrendered on December 16, 1971 and their top accomplices mostly belonging to Jamaat-e-Islami and its student wing went into hiding to resurface years later.
Those who were exposed to the killers’ wrath on December 14, 1971 included Dr Alim Chowdhury and Dr Fazle Rabbi, Journalists Shahidullah Kaisar, Sirajudddin Hossain, Nizamuddin Ahmed, SA Mannan and Selina Parveen and litterateur Monier Chowdhury.
Most of the December 14 victims were picked up from their houses blindfolded and killed during December 10 to 14 in 1971.
Bangladesh, this year, observes the day with a sense of relief from the stigma of impunity as the top assassins, who managed to make their room in the national politics with the patronage of influential vested quarters emerged after the August 15, 1975 assassination of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, were hanged.
President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina issued separate messages on the eve of the day paying glowing homage to the martyred intellectuals.
In separate messages, they urged the people from all strata to come forward being inspired with the spirit of War of Liberation to build a knowledge-based society as well dreamt by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
The President said the intellectuals had played a very significant role and worked as the conscience of the nation in advancing the Liberation War towards its successful end.
“It is unfortunate that the occupation forces had brutally killed those intellectuals including academicians, physicians, litterateurs, journalists and artists just on the eve of the victory, which was an irreparable loss to the nation,” he added.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said the Martyred Intellectuals’ Day is a painful event in the pages of history.
She said when the country was close to achieve the final victory under the leadership of the greatest Bangalee of all time, Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the intellectuals were killed on December
14 by the occupation forces and their local collaborators like Razakars, Al-Badars and Al-Shams.
President Abdul Hamid will place a wreath at Martyred Intellectuals Memorial at Mirpur at 7:05 am tomorrow while Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at the memorial at 7:06 am.
Members of martyred and freedom fighters will place wreaths at Martyred Intellectuals Memorial at 7:22 am and Rayerbazar Killing Ground at Mohammadpur at 8:30 am.
Later, people of all walks will place wreaths at Martyred Intellectuals Memorial.
Bangladesh Television and private television channels will broadcast special programmes highlighting the significance of the day.
Discussion will be held at district and upazila level across the country.
Marking the day, ruling Awami League and other political parties have chalked out various programmes.
The ruling party will organise a meeting at Krishibid Institution Bangladesh at 3 pm on December 14. Awami League President and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will preside over the meeting.
Dhaka University authorities will observe the day by taking different programmes.
Different political, professional, social and cultural organisations, including Jatiya Press Club, Dhaka Reporters Unity, Bangabandhu Gabeshana Parishad, Jatiya Party, Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal, Communist Party of Bangladesh, Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, Bangla Academy, National Museum, Bangabandhu Parishad, Sammilito Sangskritik Jote, Sector Commanders’ Forum and Liberation War Museum, have also chalked out elaborate programmes to observe the day.