The nation today observes Martyred Intellectuals' Day, marking one of the most tragic days in the country's history when the Pakistani army and its local collaborators brutally killed the intellectuals to cripple the nation days before victory in 1971.
The educationists, doctors, journalists and artists – who were a guiding light for the Bengali people – were instrumental in the mass movements against disparity and repressive measures of the Pakistani rulers, thus contributing to the Liberation War.
The intellectuals had all through been targets of the Pakistani rulers, who begun killing them with the army crackdown in Dhaka on the night of March 25 and continued it throughout the nine-month war.
However, planned killing of the intellectuals reached its peak just two days before the Victory Day on December 16. On the night of December 14, over 200 intellectuals were abducted from their homes in Dhaka; the murders were initiated in Dhaka and gradually spread over the country.
The Pakistani army, with their local collaborators – Al-Badr, Al-Shams, and the Razakars – captured the targeted victims from their houses by force, and carried them blindfolded to designated torture cells in Mirpur, Mohammadpur, Nakhalpara, Rajarbagh and other locations, before mercilessly killing them.
Marking the day, President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina issued separate messages yesterday, paying glowing homage to the martyred intellectuals.
They urged all to build a knowledge-based society as well as a poverty-free country, taking inspiration from the spirit of the Liberation War.
The President said the intellectuals had played a very significant role and worked as the conscience of the nation in advancing the Liberation War towards its successful end, but it is unfortunate that they were brutally killed, which was an irreparable loss to the nation.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said the Martyred Intellectuals' Day is a painful occasion in the history of the liberation struggle of the Bengalis.
President Abdul Hamid will place a wreath at Martyred Intellectuals Memorial at Mirpur at 7:05 am today, followed by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at 7:06 am.
Members of martyred intellectuals' and freedom fighters' families will pay their respects at Martyred Intellectuals Memorial at 7:22am and Rayerbazar Killing Ground at 8:30am. Later, people of all walks will place wreaths at Martyred Intellectuals Memorial.
Bangladesh Television and private television channels will broadcast special programmes, while newspapers will run articles highlighting the significance of the day.
Marking the day, Awami League will organise a meeting at Krishibid Institution Bangladesh at 3pm today. University of Dhaka authorities will observe the day by arranging different programmes.
Besides, different political, professional, social and cultural organisations have also chalked out elaborate programmes to observe the day.