The nation observes with due solemnity the Martyred Intellectuals Day today to recall the countless intellectuals who embraced martyrdom in the hands of the Pakistani occupation forces and their local collaborators’ killing squads on this day in 1971.
The occupation forces and their collaborators at the fag end of the Independence War, sensing their imminent defeat, systematically killed prominent Bangladeshi intellectuals and professionals on this day in 1971, only two days before the victory of the nation, aiming to cripple the emerging nation.
The national flag will be hoisted at half-mast along with black flags today across the country.
Different political and socio-cultural organisations and people from all walks of life and ages would place wreaths at the memorials for the martyred intellectuals at Mirpur and Rayerbazar in the capital as well as elsewhere in the country in the morning.
President Abdul Hamid, prime minister Sheikh Hasina, opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party secretary-general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir in separate messages on the eve of the day recalled the contributions of the slain intellectuals.
President Abdul Hamid, in his message, said the intellectuals had played a very significant role with their sharp writings and intellect-based spirit to create public opinion in favour of the Liberation War, provide suggestions to the war-time Mujibnagar government in advancing the war towards its successful end.
But it is unfortunate that the occupation forces and their local collaborators had brutally killed the country’s eminent intellectuals, including academicians, physicians, litterateurs, journalists and artists just on the eve of the victory, an irreparable loss to the nation, he added.
In her message, prime minister Sheikh Hasina said at the fag end of the Liberation War, the Pakistani occupation forces, anti-liberation forces and their local collaborators had hatched conspiracies to turn the nation into a brain-empty state.
Sheikh Hasina also said the anti-liberation forces assassinated Bangabandhu and most of his family members on August 15 in 1975.
‘We have brought the killers of the martyred intellectuals under trial. No conspiracy can divert the nation from this process. Those who wanted to save the heinous war criminals will also be brought to justice one day,’ she said.
She said the country and the nation will be freed from the stigma through implementation of all verdicts of war crime cases.
Fakhrul, in his statement, said that the immortal martyred intellectuals wanted to see a nation with its head held high and a just and democratic country, but the dream was yet to be realised.
He urged all to work unitedly to fulfil their dream and uphold democracy, the universal right of the people.
The Pakistani military and their local collaborators Razakar, Al-Badr and Al-Shams, just two days before their surrender, abducted members of the Bengali intelligentsia blindfolded with their hands tied from their houses to army camps or other places.
They never returned.
They took away writers, scientists, artistes, singers, teachers from universities to primary schools, researchers, journalists, lawyers, physicians, engineers, architects, sculptors, people involved in film making and theatre, and cultural activists.
The decomposed bodies of many of them were later found in ditches, water bodies and at other places in Dhaka and its suburbs and also in the killing fields across the country.
The discovery of the blindfolded, mutilated bodies of many of the martyred intellectuals shocked the nation as well as the world.
Immediately after independence, December 14 was declared as the Martyred Intellectuals Day by Tajuddin Ahmed, the country’s first prime minister.
To mark the day, different socio-cultural and political organisations have chalked out elaborate programmes, including seminars, discussions in addition to placing wreaths at the memorials at Mirpur and Rayerbazar.
To observe the day, ruling Awami League would keep the national flag along with the party flag at half-mast and hoist black flag on the day and organise a meeting at the Krishibid Institution, Bangladesh at 3:00pm while party president and prime minister Sheikh Hasina will be in the chair.
Opposition BNP would hoist the national flag along with the party flag at half-mast and black flag at its central office at Naya Paltan in Dhaka and all the party offices across the country on the day and organise a meeting at the Supreme Court Bar Association auditorium tomorrow.
Dhaka University has also planned programmes to pay respect to the martyred intellectuals, many of whom belonged to this university.
Black flags will be hoisted at the vice-chancellor’s residence, other buildings and all the dormitories of the university in the morning. The university is also scheduled to hold a discussion at the TSC on the campus marking the day.
Almost all the political parties and socio-cultural and professional organisations of the country have chalked out programmes to observe the day.