Today (December 14) is the Martyred Intellectuals’ Day. A scandalous chapter was added to the history of Bangladesh in 1971. On this day 47 years ago, on the eve of the nation's victory, the marauding Pakistan army in collusion with their local quislings - the Al-Badr, Al-Shams and Razakars - killed the most prominent intellectuals of the country in a bid to cripple the newly emerging nation of Bangladesh.
The Pakistani troops and their Bengali-speaking collaborators belonging to Razakar or other auxiliary forces killed a number of intelligentsia throughout the nine-month long Liberation War.
On this day in 1971, the illustrious sons of the soil were brutally killed at the fag end of the Liberation War as the Pakistani occupation army with the help of their local collaborators -- Razakar, Al-Badr and Al- Shams -- abducted intellectuals and professionals sensing their imminent defeat.
The intellectuals were taken blindfolded to torture cells in Mirpur, Mohammadpur, Nakhalpara, Rajarbagh and other locations in different parts of the capital and later executed en masse at different killing grounds, most notably Rayerbazar and Mirpur to cripple the nation intellectually.
They visibly engaged in the infamous Gestapo-like attacks on December 14, 1971, just two days ahead of the final victory, to carry out a systematic campaign to murder the most regarded academics and professionals like doctors, engineers and journalists visibly to expose the newborn nation to a state of brainlessness.
Not only on 14th December, but also we lost many such people from the beginning of the independence movement to the moment before the final victory. Many intellectuals were also killed on the mid night of March 25.
Those who were killed on December 14, 1971 included journalists Serajuddin Hossain, Syed Najmul Haque, ANM Golam Mostafa, Nizam Uddin Ahmed, Selina Parvin, Shahidullah Kaiser, Dhaka University professors Giasuddin Ahmed, Sirajul Haque Khan, Dr Abul Khayer, Dr Faizul Mohiuddin, Rashidul Hasan, Anwar Pasha, Santosh Chandra Bhattacharyya, Munier Chowdhury and Mofazzal Haidar Choudhury, physicians Mohammad Martuza and Fazle Rabbi.
Bangladesh had earned independence at the cost of 30 lakh of lives including the intellectuals and at the sacrifice of honour of thousands of our womenfolk. Due to the 9-month bloody battle, Bangladesh emerged as an independent state in the world’s map. On the Martyred Intellectuals' Day, we remember the great sons with deep sympathy and respect. Those were pioneers in patriotism and great ideology. They were lighthouse of thinking and humanity. We are still feeling the emptiness. Bangladesh faced irreparable damage due to their loss.
War criminals did not escape the trial. Belatedly, several top leaders involved in the killings of the prominent intellectuals in 1971 were executed after they were tried in the special tribunal. But some 1971 killers and their agents on the run are carrying out various conspiracies to foil the trial process. All conspiracies should be foiled immediately completing the trial of all criminal activities committed against humanity during the Liberation War in 1971 including the killings of the intellectuals. The best way to show respect to the martyred intellectuals is to complete the trial of all war criminals. The sacrifice of the martyred intellectuals will be successful and due respect to them will be paid when we will be able to implement their dreams.
risingbd/Dhaka/Dec 14, 2018/Ali Nowsher/Mukul