Vol. 5 Num 967 Sun. February 18, 2007  

Rajshahi observes Zoha Day today

Zoha Day will be observed here today.

Prof Dr Shamsuzzoha was the first martyred intellectual in Bangladesh who was shot dead by Pakistani military junta in front of the main gate of Rajshahi University (RU) on February 18, 1969.

Dr Zoha rushed to the university main gate to protect the students who marched towards the town by breaking Section 144.

His martyrdom accelerated the ongoing mass movement against the Pakistan army demanding withdrawal of Agartala Conspiracy Case.

The agitation started in Rajshahi and elsewhere in the country on February 15, 1969 when Sergeant Zahurul Haque, an accused in the case was killed by Pakistan army personnel after his arrest.

Former vice chancellor and a witness to the incident, Prof Abdul Khaleque told this correspondent that Zoha had been talking with two Pakistani army officers, Captain Hadi and Lt Khadem Shah not to go into action against the students.

At one stage, Lt Khadem ordered Bengali army to shoot him, but they refused to comply with his order. An agitated Shah then grounded Zoha using his own revolver.

A popular teacher, Dr Zoha was the then proctor of the university and a reader at Chemistry Department. His death sparked violent protests across the then East Pakistan leading to the fall of the Ayub regime.

Since then, the day is being observed as Zoha Day. Rajshahi University authorities have chalked out an elaborate programme to mark the day. The programmes include hoisting of black flags at the administrative building and in all departments, placing wreaths at the grave and monument of Zoha.

Different socio-cultural organisations will hold discussions, milad mahfils and will offer prayers for the martyr.

RU Martyrs' Memorial Archive will remain open to public from 7am to 5pm the same day.

Dr Zoha