The nation is set to observe the Martyred Intellectuals’ Day on Friday in a befitting manner.
Just two days ahead of the country’s victory on this day 47 years ago, the marauding 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 of Bangladesh.
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.
But, they visibly engaged the infamous Gestapo like Al-Badr and Al-Shams forces on December 14, 1971 to carry out a systematic campaign to kill the most eminent academics and professionals like doctors, engineers and journalists to make the newborn nation to a state of brainlessness.
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, 1971 assassination of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, were hanged.
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.