Dhaka, December 14
After 49 years of the Liberation War, the Bangladesh government has approved a primary list of 1,222 martyred intellectuals who made sacrifices for the nation in 1971, a Minister announced.
On Sunday, Liberation War Affairs Minister AKM Mozammel Huque said the list will be formally released this month.
Huque's announcement came a day ahead of country observing the Martyred Intellectuals' Day on Monday.
In separate messages on Sunday, President M. Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, paying homage to the martyred intellectuals.
Huque said the list was approved at the first meeting of the committee formed to compile it.
"The list is likely to be approved in the next meeting of the committee. An outline has already been prepared stating who will be considered as martyred intellectuals.
"In 1972, the lists of 1,070 martyred intellectuals were published. Later, the postal department released commemorative postage stamps of 152 martyrs. So, the number of martyred intellectuals we have received is 1,222. We have given approval of the lists," the Minister said.
A memorial erected in the memory of the martyred intellectuals in Dhaka's Mirpur area has been readied as national leaders and people from all walks of life will pay tributes.
The Pakistani Army and their Bengali-speaking collaborators belonging to the Jamaat-e-Islam killed a number of intellectuals from March 25, 1971, throughout the nine-month-long Liberation War.
They visibly engaged the infamous Gestapo like Al-Badr and Al-Shams forces on December 14, 1971 to carry out a systematic campaign to kill the most eminent academics and professionals like doctors, engineers and journalists to make the nation to a state of brainlessness just before the independence of Bangladesh.
The then Bangladesh government and victorious freedom fighters, however, came to know about their last brutal massacre only when the Pakistani troops surrendered on December 16, 1971, to the Indian Army.
The top accomplices of Pakistan Army belonging to Jamaat-e-Islami and its student wing Islami Chhatra Sangstha went into hiding to resurface years later.
Those who were exposed to the killers' wrath on December 14, 1971, included eye specialist Alim Chowdhury and Fazle Rabbi; journalists Shahidullah Kaisar, Sirajudddin Hossain, Selina Parveen; and littÃ©rateur Monier Choudhury.
Most of the victims were picked up from their residences in Dhaka, blindfolded and killed between December 10-14, 1971.
After assuming the state power in 2009, the ruling Awami League has brought the perpetrators of intellectuals killing and the war criminals of 1971 under justice.
Jamat chief (Amir) Matiur Rahman Nizami and Secretary-General Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujahid and Assistant Secretary generals Abdul Qader Mollah and Mohammad Qamaruzzaman have already been executed on war crimes charges.
BNP founder Ziaur Rahman and his wife Khaleda Zia, incumbent chief of the BNP, had appointed the killers as ministers, who had later been convicted guilty of their crimes against humanity like genocide, rape and ethnic cleansing on 1971 by the International Crimes Tribunal (ICT).
"We have held the trial of war criminals and executed the court verdicts. I think it's necessary to equally try those who rewarded the war criminals, gave the national flag to their hands and made them ministers in independent Bangladesh," Hasina has said.
"The war criminals of 1971 carried out the genocide. But Zia and Khaleda, who empowered the killers as minister, lawmaker, ambassadors to enjoy state facilities as a politician are equally guilty." The Prime Minister said the trial of those who had directly been involved in genocide will continue.
"There is no mercy for them. They must be tried. And hatred will also be vented on the patrons." She said no genocide with so severity was committed in any other country across the world where so many people had been killed in a short time.
"There is no newspaper in the world that did not carry the news of this genocide." About Parliament's adoption of a resolution in 2017 to observe March 25 as Genocide Day, Hasina said they took the decision so that the nation and next generations do not forget the misdeeds of the Pakistani occupation forces and their local collaborators, including Razakars, Al-Badr and Al-Shams, who committed the genocide in 1971.
Elaborate programmes, including paying homage to Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman; hoisting the national and black flags at half-mast and placing wreaths at the Martyred Intellectuals Memorial at Mirpur and Rayerbazar Killing Ground at Mohammadpur in the city, will take place on Monday.
The programmes marking the Martyred Intellectuals Day, however, will be observed in accordance with the health and hygiene rules imposed due to the coronavirus pandemic situation. —IANS
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