Nation observes Martyred Intellectuals Day today
The nation observes with due solemnity Martyred Intellectuals Day today to recall the intellectuals who fell victim to targeted killings by the Pakistani forces and their local collaborators on this day in 1971.
This year, the programme will be held on a limited scale considering the COVID-19 situation while the home ministry has already requested the ministries and organisations concerned not to hold any outdoor programmes in the month of victory.
The Pakistani forces and their collaborators at the end of the War of Independence, sensing their imminent defeat, systematically killed prominent Bangladeshi intellectuals and professionals on this day in 1971, two days before independence, 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 would place wreaths at the memorials of 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 Md Abdul Hamid, in his message, said the intellectuals, as the conscience of the nation, had played a very significant role through their sharp writings and intellectual energy creating public opinion in favour of the liberation war, besides providing suggestions to the war-time Mujibnagar government in advancing the war towards its successful end.
It is unfortunate that the Pakistani forces and their local collaborators had brutally killed the country’s eminent intellectuals, including academics, physicians, litterateurs, journalists and artists just on the eve of victory, causing an irreparable loss to the nation, he added.
The president called upon all to be inspired by the ideology of the martyred intellectuals and build a non-partisan society based on the spirit of the liberation war.
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 country into an intellectually empty nation.
She said that when the country was close to the final victory under the leadership of the greatest Bangalee of all times, the country’s founding president Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the intellectuals were killed by the occupation forces and their local cohorts such as Al-Badars, Al-Shams and Razakars.
‘The anti-liberation forces assassinated Bangabandhu and most of his family members on August 15 in 1975,’ she said, adding that they carried out repression and tortures on free thinkers, teachers, writers, journalists and politicians, she added.
BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul in his statement said that martyred intellectuals wanted to see a nation where people would hold their heads high as they envisaged a just society and a democratic country, but the dream was yet to be realised.
He urged all to work unitedly to fulfil the martyrs’ dream and uphold democracy and the universal rights of the people.
Two days before their surrender, the Pakistani military and their local collaborators Razakar, Al-Badr and Al-Shams, abducted members of the Bengali intelligentsia, led them to army camps or other places with their hands tied up and blindfolded.
They never returned.
They took away writers, scientists, singers, teachers of universities and primary schools, researchers, journalists, lawyers, physicians, engineers, architects, artists, filmmakers and theatre and cultural activists.
The decomposed bodies of many of them were later found in ditches, water bodies and on the outskirts of Dhaka and also in mass graves 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 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 place wreaths at the memorials for the martyred intellectuals at Mirpur, Rayerbazar and at the portrait of country’s founding president Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in front of Bangabandhu Bhaban at Dhanmondi in the capital.
The party would also keep the national flag along with the party flag at half-mast and hoist black flag on the day, said a press release.
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.
It would also place wreaths at the memorials for the martyred intellectuals at Mirpur and Rayerbazar in Dhaka.
Dhaka University has also planned programmes to pay respect to the martyred intellectuals, many of whom had belonged to the university.
Black flags will be hoisted at the vice-chancellor’s residence, other buildings and all the dormitories of the university in the morning.
A virtual discussion will be held at Abdul Matin virtual classroom adjacent to VC’s office with vice-chancellor Akhtaruzzaman in the chair.
Besides, special prayers will be offered at the Central Mosque and other mosques in residential halls after Johr prayers seeking eternal peace of the departed souls of the martyred, a press release said.