Martyred Intellectuals' Day today
The nation today pays tribute to the martyred intellectuals amid increasing demand for trial of war criminals who systematically killed the country's prominent intellectuals and professionals on this day at the fag end of the 1971 Liberation War.
Sensing imminent defeat, the Pakistani occupation forces and their local collaborators -- Razakar, Al-Badr and Al-Shams -- picked up many eminent personalities including academics, doctors, engineers, journalists and teachers from their houses in Dhaka and killed them just two days before the nation achieved its victory.
Their bodies were dumped at Rayerbazar, Mirpur and a few other places in the city.
The martyred intellectuals include Prof Muneir Chowdhury, Dr Alim Chowdhury, Prof Muniruzzaman, Dr Fazle Rabbi, Sirajuddin Hossain, Shahidullah Kaiser, Prof GC Dev, JC Guha Thakurta, Prof Santosh Bhattacharya, Mofazzal Haider Chowdhury, journalists Khandaker Abu Taleb, Nizamuddin Ahmed, SA Mannan (Ladu Bhai), ANM Golam Mustafa, Syed Nazmul Haq and Selina Parvin.
Thirty-eight years have already passed since the heinous killings but the families of the martyred intellectuals are yet to witness the trial of the perpetrators.
Jamaat Secretary General Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojahid, who was the head of Al-Badr in Dhaka then, led the killings of intellectuals just two days before the country's independence, according to accounts of both victims and collaborators, publications including newspapers and secret documents of Pakistan home department.
Documents and newspapers published during and after the Liberation War said Jamaat Ameer Matiur Rahman Nizami, the then president of Islami Chhatra Shangha, was also the commander-in-chief of Al-Badr.
Jamaat's mouthpiece Dainik Sangram on September 15, 1971 quoted him as saying: "Everyone of us should assume the role of a soldier of an Islamic country. To assist the poor and the oppressed, we must kill those who are engaged in war against Pakistan and Islam."
The national flag along with black flags will be hoisted at half-mast today. The president, the prime minister, the leader of the opposition and leaders from various political parties will place wreaths at Mirpur martyred intellectuals' graveyard in the morning.
President Zillur Rahman, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Opposition Leader Khaleda Zia gave messages on the eve of the Martyred Intellectuals Day.
The president in a message said the martyred intellectuals had always been vocal about establishing social and political rights of people.
The occupation forces had killed the intellectuals to impoverish the newborn nation intellectually, he said.
"The independent nation is grateful to the martyred intellectuals," said the president.
In her message, Hasina said the martyred intellectuals would be remembered forever through their deeds, ideals and patriotism.
"The nation will never forget their sacrifice," she said.
The premier said, "We have to uphold the achievements of the Liberation War and its spirit though combined efforts."
She also urged people to come forward to build a non-communal "Sonar Bangla" dreamt by the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.