Bangladesh on Tuesday observed the Martyred Intellectuals Day in a befitting manner…writes Sumi Khan
Martyred Intellectuals Day is observed on December 14 to commemorate those intellectuals who were killed by Pakistani forces and their collaborators during the 1971 Liberation War, particularly on March 25 and December 14, 1971.
Speaking on the occasion, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said that terrorist groups unleashed a reign of terror in the country from 2001 to 2006. They also unleashed arson in the country to thwart the national elections of 2014, and some of them are still hatching conspiracies, she added.
The killers tortured free thinkers, teachers, writers, journalists and politicians, she said.
Hasina also called upon every citizen to be imbued with the ideology of the martyred intellectuals and build a non-communal society based on the spirit of the Liberation War.
In her message, Hasina said Martyred Intellectual Day is a shameful chapter in the history of Bangladesh as the Pakistani occupation forces, anti-liberation forces and their local collaborators killed eminent intellectuals at the far end of the Liberation War to turn the nation into a brain-less state.
On the occasion, President M. Abdul Hamid and Hasina paid rich tributes to the martyred intellectuals.
The nation will forever remember the sacrifices made by the martyred intellectuals, Hasina said, as she called upon the people to be united against any terror threat.
In a seperate message, the President and the Prime Minister urged people to come forward and build a non-communal, happy and prosperous ‘Sonar Bangla’.
Hasina mentioned that the anti-liberation forces had assassinated Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and most of his family members on August 15, 1975 and through those heinous killings, the anti-liberation forces started the politics of coup and conspiracy in the country.
“We have brought the killers of the martyred intellectuals under trial and have been executing the verdicts. No conspiracy can divert the nation from this process. Those who wanted to save the heinous war criminals will also be brought to justice one day,” Hasina mentioned.
Just two days ahead of the country’s final victory for Independence, on this day 50 years back, the Pakistani occupation forces with the help of their auxiliary force, Jamat e Islam’s wings Razakar, Al-Badr, and Al-Shams, had killed the most prominent intellectuals of the country, as part of a conspiracy hatched by the Pakistan government.
The then Bangladesh government and the victorious freedom fighters, however, came to know about the brutal massacres only when the Pakistani troops surrendered on December 16, 1971, and their top accomplices mostly belonging to Jamaat-e-Islami and its student wing went into hiding, only to resurface years later.
Those who were exposed to the killers’ wrath on December 14, 1971 included Alim Chowdhury and Fazle Rabbi, journalists Shahidullah Kaisar, Sirajudddin Hossain, Nizamuddin Ahmed, S.A. Mannan, and Selina Parveen, and litterateurs Monier Chowdhury, Govinda Chandra Dev, Jyotirmoy Guha Thakurta, Santosh Chattacharjee, Anwar Pasha, Mofazzal Haider Chowdhury, and Muniruzzaman.
Most of the victims were picked up from their houses and killed between December 10 and December 14, 1971.