Vol. 5 Num 200 Tue. December 14, 2004  
Front Page

Martyred Intellectuals Day
Nation recalls their supreme sacrifice today

The nation observes the Martyred Intellectuals Day today paying glowing tributes to the illustrious sons of the soil who made the supreme sacrifice at the fag end of the 1971 Liberation War, with the killers still left unpunished.

Sensing an imminent defeat, the Pakistani occupation army and their local collaborators -- Razakar, Al-Badr and Al-Shams -- abducted frontline Bengali intellectuals and professionals on December 14 and killed them to cripple the nation intellectually.

The killers drag renowned academics, litterateurs, doctors, engineers, journalists and other eminent personalities out of their houses in Dhaka and massacred them at Rayerbazar and other killing fields 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.

The day returns with families of the martyred intellectuals still waiting to see punishment to the perpetrators of the wholesale killing of the best Bengali minds.

Families of many martyred intellectuals had lodged cases since 1972 seeking justice. Until March 1973, a total of 42 cases were filed against the Razakar, Al-Badr and Al-Shams but over the years files of the cases gathered dust only.

On September 24, 1997, Farida Banu, sister of slain intellectual Giasuddin, filed a case and subsequently some police investigations were carried out. But as the old files and police records became untraceable, things did not advance much.

Political, cultural and civil society organisations will commemorate the tragedy that took place only two days before the fall of the Pakistani army on December 16 after the bloody war that left some three million Bengalis killed.

To mark the day, different sociocultural and political organisations have chalked out elaborate programmes, including seminars, discussions and wreath-laying at Mirpur and Rayerbazar monuments in Dhaka.

President Iajuddin Ahmed, Prime Minister Khaleda Zia and Leader of the Opposition in Parliament Sheikh Hasina delivered separate messages on the eve of the Martyred Intellectuals Day.

Terming the killing of the intellectuals a black chapter in history, President Iajuddin said the barbaric killing was conducted just before the victory under a preconceived plan to make the nation brainless.

"The sacrifice of the intellectuals would be meaningful if we all remain active in flourishing education, science and wisdom for building a self- reliant and self-respecting nation," the president said.

Prime Minister Khaleda Zia also said the killing forces massacred the intellectuals on the eve of the nation's independence in a planned way.

She expressed deep sympathy for the bereaved family members of the martyred intellectuals and said, "The martyred intellectuals are the sources of our inspiration in taking Bangladesh to the desired destination through development and enrichment."

"Following their ideals, we should be uncompromising in securing welfare of the nation, independence and sovereignty and democracy," she said.

Opposition leader Sheikh Hasina said, "The defeated forces of independence war had wanted to take revenge for their defeat by killing the great sons of the soil."

She observed that the defeated forces were still "active against Bangladesh and the Bengali nation."

Sheikh Hasina called upon the countrymen to build a united movement for holding the flag of independence high so that "the future generations can live in an open, democratic and non-communal society."

Black flag will be hoisted atop important government offices as a mark of condolences on the Martyred Intellectuals Day.

Bangladesh Betar and TV channels will broadcast special programmes and newspapers will bring out special supplements.

Awami League will hold a discussion on the Bangabandhu Memorial Museum premises tomorrow afternoon while the opposition leader will meet members of some martyred families at her Dhanmondi office this afternoon.

A cultural programme would be held at Liberation War Museum this evening.

Dhaka University will hold a discussion marking the day at Teachers-Students Centre (TSC) at 10:30am.

Protesting the construction of public toilets in close vicinity of Rayerbazar monument, the sons and daughters of the martyred intellectuals will stage a token hunger strike for an hour from 10:00am today.

Bangla Academy will hold a discussion at 11:00am on the life and work of the martyred intellectuals. Shilpakala Academy will also organise a discussion at 10:30am.

TOO MACABRE TO FORGET... Bodies of unknown intellectuals left to rot amidst the rubble of Rayerbazar mass killing field by local collaborators of Pakistan army days before Bangladesh was liberated. PHOTO: Star File Photo