The nation yesterday observed the Martyred Intellectuals' Day paying glowing tributes to the intellectuals who were brutally killed by the Pakistan occupation forces and their local collaborators at the fag-end of Bangladesh’s Liberation War in 1971.
Sensing a humiliating defeat, the retreating Pakistani forces and their collaborators - Razakars, Al-Badrs and Al-Shams - dragged off the frontline Bangalee intellectuals and worthy professionals from their houses on December 14 and assassinated them with the intention of crippling the newborn nation intellectually.
Marking the day, hundreds of people from all walks of life converged at the Martyred Intellectuals' Memorial in Mirpur and the Rayerbazar killing grounds to pay their homage to the martyrs.
The programmes of the day included raising of black flags and hoisting of the national flag half mast, placing of wreaths at the martyred intellectuals memorials and graveyards, discussions, lighting of candles in memory of the martyrs, morning marches, painting, general knowledge and hand writing competitions and milad and doa mahfils seeking eternal peace of the souls of the martyrs.
President Md Abdul Hamid and on behalf of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina her Military Secretary Maj Gen Mia Md Jainul Abedin placed wreaths at the Martyred Intellectuals Memorial at Mirpur yesterday morning.
Earlier, on his arrival at the mausoleum site, Hamid was received by several members of Cabinet and parliament, senior Awami League leaders, war-wounded freedom fighters and family members of the martyred intellectuals.
Deputy Speaker Fazle Rabbi Miah, Agriculture Minister Matia Chowdhury, Civil Aviation and Tourism Minister Rashed Khan Menon, Road Transport and Bridges Minister and Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader, Liberation War Affairs Minister AKM Mozammel Haque, Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu, Shipping Minister Shajahan Khan, Chief Whip ASM Feroz, State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam, State Minister for Textile and Jute Mirza Azam, former foreign minister Dipu Moni, former home minister Sahara Khatun, former food minister Abur Razzak, barrister Sheikh Fazle Noor Taposh, chiefs of the three services and senior civil and military officials, among others, were present on the occasion.
After placing the wreath, the president talked to the freedom fighters and family members of the martyrs there and enquired about their wellbeing.
Later, on behalf of Awami League President Hasina, the ruling party’s general secretary along with other senior leaders paid homage to the martyrs.
Opposition Leader Rawshan Ershad and the deputy speaker also placed wreaths.
People from all walks of life, central leaders of the 14-party alliance, other social-cultural-professional organisations and freedom fighters and members of the martyrs’ families placed wreaths at the memorial in a large queue.
BNP, led by its Chairperson Khaleda Zia, Jatiya Party, Workers Party, Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal, Gano Forum and other political parties also paid tributes at the memorial in observance of the day.
Dhaka City Awami League, Awami Juba League, Awami Swechchasebak League, Krishak League, Jatiya Sramik League, Mahila AL, Chhatra League, Juba Mahila League, Tanti League, Mukitijoddha Sangsad, Dhaka University, Amra Muktijoddhar Santan, Bangabandhu Sangskritik Jote, Shishu Academy, Bangabandhu Parishad, Bangabandhu Gabeshana Parishad, National Museum, Shilpakala Academy, Bangladesher Samajtantrik Dal, Biplobi Workers Party, National Awami Party, Chhatra Union, Dhaka Reporters Unity, universities and other educational institutions and socio-cultural-professional bodies also paid respect to the martyred intellectuals throughout yesterday.
Besides, Awami League paid homage to Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman by placing wreaths at his portrait at Dhanmondi 32 in Dhaka yesterday morning.
Islamic Foundation had organised Quran Khwani, milad and doa mahfil at Baitul Mukarram National Mosque where special prayers were offered for eternal peace of the souls of the martyrs.
National Press Club also held a discussion to mark the day, which was also observed in other parts of the country through different programmes.