This is a day of mourning, a day to shed tears for forced departure of the cream of our intelligentsia whose lives were taken away in the final hours of our struggle for liberty. The patriotic Bangalees – writers, engineers, journalists, teachers were handpicked for summary execution by Pakistani forces and their local collaborators, the death squads operated by the Jamaat-e-Islami, paramilitary forces known as Razakars, al-Badr and al-Shams.
This was done with one diabolical purpose only. To cripple the newly-emerging independent nation of the best Bangalee society possessed and whose contribution would be sorely missed in the rebuilding of a war-torn country. This macabre plan was to concentrate on intellectuals hoping to break the back of the Bangalee nation and on December 14, we lost some of our brightest to this insidious plan of massacre.
Reyerbazar became the infamous “killing grounds” where hapless victims were disposed of by Razakars and other such squads in a demonic fashion. The site has become a place of pilgrimage for millions of Bangalees who pay yearly homage to those who paid the ultimate price in their sacrifice for the birth of a nation.
43 years since independence, Bangladesh has come a long way in delivering justice to the thousands of family members who never saw their loved ones relish the joy of victory. The International Crimes Tribunal has handed down judgment to some of the worst perpetrators of atrocities during wartime and we have confidence that due process of law is being followed. Once again, we bow our heads in gratitude in remembering our martyrs this morning.