The nation observed the Martyred Intellectuals’ Day paying glowing tributes to the intellectuals who were brutally killed by the Pakistan occupation forces and their local collaborators at the fag-end of the country’s Liberation War in 1971.
Sensing a humiliating defeat, the retreating Pakistani occupation forces and their local collaborators — Rajakars, Al- Badrs and Al-Shams — dragged off the frontline Bangalee intellectuals and worthy professionals from their houses on December 14 and assassinated them with the intention of crippling the newborn nation intellectually.Marking the day, hundreds of people from all walks of life converged at the Martyred Intellectuals’ Mausoleum in Mirpur and the Rayer Bazar killing ground (Baddhobhumi), maintaining the health guidelines, to pay their homage to the worthy sons of the soil.
The programmes of the day included raising of black flag and hoisting of the national flag half mast, placing of wreaths at the martyred intellectuals memorials and graveyards, discussions, lighting of candles in memory of the martyrs, morning marches, painting, general knowledge and hand writing competitions and milad and doa mahfils seeking eternal peace of the departed souls of the martyrs.
President M Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina paid their homage to the martyred intellectuals of 1971.
On behalf of President Hamid, Military Secretary Maj Gen SM Shamim-uz-Zaman paid homage at the Martyred Intellectuals Memorial at 7.10 am on Monday while Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s Military Secretary Maj Gen Naqib Ahmed Chowdhury paid the tribute on her behalf.
A smartly turned out contingent of Bangladesh Armed Forces gave a state salute while the bugle played the last post at that time.
Later, on behalf of Jatiya Sangsad Speaker Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury and Deputy Speaker Fazle Rabbi Miah, Serjeant-at-Arms MM Naim Rahman and on behalf Liberation War Affairs Ministry AKM Mozammel Haque paid homage at the Martyred Intellectuals Memorial.Besides, Awami League General Secretary and Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader along with party’s central leaders paid homage to martyred intellectuals by placing wreaths at the Mirpur Martyred Intellectuals Memorial at 9am.
Different political, professional, social and cultural organisations, including Jatiya Party, BNP, Communist Party, Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal, Awami Jubo League, Bangladesh Chhatra League, Awami Matsyjibi League, Bangladesh Swechchhasebak League, Dhaka University,
Dhaka University Teachers’ Association, Bangabandhu Sainik League, Jatiya Sramik League, Bangladesh Udichi Shilpigosthi, Kendrio Khelaghor Asor, Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education, Dhaka
south and north city corporations, Dhaka city south unit of Awami League, different ward units of Awami League, Bangabandhu Sangskritik Jote, Swadhinata Chikitsak Parishad, Muktijoddha Sanghati Parishad and Dhaka Reporters’ Unity also paid homage to the martyred intellectuals.
Later, Obaidul Quader, on behalf of Awami League, also paid tributes to Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman by laying a wreath at his portrait at Dhanmondi road number 32 in the city at 9.30am.
AL Presidium Members Begum Matia Chowdhury, Dr Md Abdur Razzaque, Jahangir Kabir Nanak, Shajahan Khan and Abdur Rahman, Joint Secretaries Information Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud, Mahbubul-Alam Hanif
and AFM Bahauddin Nasim, Organizing Secretaries Ahmed Hossain, SM Kamal Hossain and Mirza Azam, Relief and Social Welfare Affairs Secretary Sujit Roy Nandi, Cultural Affairs Secretary Asim Kumar Ukil,
Labour Affairs Secretary Habibur Rahman Siraj, Health and Population Affairs Secretary Dr Rokeya Sultana, Science and Technology Affairs Secretary Abdus Sabur, Deputy Office Secretary Sayem Khan, Central
Working Committee Members Dr Mustafa Jalal Mohiuddin, Shahabuddin Farazi and Anisur Rahman were present at that time.
Liberation War Affairs Minister AKM Mozammel Haque at first paid homage to the martyred intellectuals by placing wreaths at the Rayerbazar Killing ground in the morning. Later, different political, professional, social and cultural organisations, including Awami League, Jubo League, Swechchhasebak League, Sramik League and Chhatra League placed wreaths at the Rayerbazar Killing Ground.
Marking the day, Dhaka University authorities organised a virtual discussion at the university’s Abdul Matin Virtual Class Room with Vice Chancellor Prof Md Akhtaruzzaman in the chair.
Earlier, national flag was hoisted half mast and black flag was raised on the campus. Later, a special munajat was offered at the central mosque of the university seeking eternal peace of the departed souls of the most enlightened sons of the soil.
Besides, Islamic Foundation organised Quran Khwani, milad and doa mahfil at Baitul Mukarram National Mosque where special prayers (munajat) and doa were offered for eternal peace of the departed souls of the martyrs.
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 Munir Choudhury.
Most of the December 14 victims were picked up from their residences blindfolded and killed between December 10 and 14 in 1971.