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Nation pays homage to martyred intellectuals

  • Published at 09:50 pm December 13th, 2018
MARTYRED-INTELLECTUALS-DAY
File photo of the memorial erected in the memory of the 1971 martyred intellectuals at Rayerbazar in Dhaka's Mohammadpur Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

As the last blow to a newly born Bangladesh, Pakistani occupation forces detained and killed a number of Bangali intellectuals on December 14, 1971 – just two days before Bangladesh’s victory in the Liberation War

The nation is observing the Martyred Intellectuals Day on Friday in a befitting manner.

On this day 47 years ago, the marauding Pakistan army, in collusion with their local collaborators al-Badr, al-Shams and razakars, killed prominent intellectuals of Bangladesh with an aim of crippling a newly emerging nation.

The memorial constructed in Mirpur, Dhaka in memory of the martyred intellectuals was prepared and decorated as the nation’s leaders as well as the citizens pay a visit to pay their tributes to the martyrs, reports BSS.

President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina paid homage to martyred intellectuals by placing wreaths at the memorial in Mirpur on Friday morning.

Family members of the Liberation War martyrs and freedom fighters also paid their respects. 

Special programs are being broadcast by the state-run Bangladesh Television and private TV channels on the occasion, while the national dailies have brought out special supplements. 

To mark the day, different political and sociocultural organizations have also chalked out elaborate plans for various programs. 

What happened on December 14, 1971?

The Pakistani troops and their Bangla-speaking collaborators, collectively called razakars, killed a number of intelligentsia throughout the nine-month Liberation War in 1971.

However, on December 14, 1971 – two days before Bangladesh achieved victory in the war – the Pakistan army visibly engaged the infamous Gestapo-like al-Badr and al-Shams forces to carry out a systematic campaign to kill Bangladesh’s most eminent academics and professionals like doctors, engineers and journalists to push a newborn nation to a state of frenzy and darkness.

The then Bangladesh government and freedom fighters, however, learnt about the brutal massacre only when the Pakistani troops surrendered on December 16, 1971. Their top accomplices in Bangladesh, mostly belonging to Jamaat-e-Islami and its student wing, went into hiding – only to resurface years later.

The martyred intellectuals include Dr Alim Chowdhury, Dr Fazle Rabbi, journalists Shahidullah Kaisar, Sirajudddin Hossain, Nizamuddin Ahmed, SA Mannan and Selina Parveen, and litterateur Munier Chowdhury.

Most of these victims were picked up from their houses blindfolded and were killed between December 10 and 14 in 1971.