After a long wait the nation on Monday, for the first time, observed the Martyred Intellectuals' Day with the convicted war criminal Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed, chief of Al-Badr, an auxiliary force of the Pakistani army, executed for leading a brutal assassination spree of the greatest sons of the soil on December 14 of 1971.
Thousands of people from all walks of life flooded the Martyred Intellectuals' Memorial at Mirpur in the capital to pay tributes to the those killed systematically by the Pakistan occupation army and their local collaborators at the fag-end of the country's Liberation War in 1971. Renowned academics, doctors, engineers, journalists, teachers and other eminent personalities were dragged out of their homes, blindfolded and taken to unknown places and then brutally tortured and slaughtered on the day in 1971. Their bodies were later dumped at Rayerbazar, Mirpur and some other killing fields in the capital.
Among the martyred intellectuals are Muneir Chowdhury, Alim Chowdhury, Muniruzzaman, Fazle Rabbi, Sirajuddin Hossain, Shahidullah Kaiser, GC Dev, JC Guha Thakurata, Santosh Bhattacharya, Mofazzal Haider Chowdhury, journalists Khandaker Abu Taleb, Nizamuddin Ahmed, SA Mannan (Ladu Bhai), ANM Golam Mustafa, Syed Nazmul Haq and Selina Parvin.
President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina paid tributes to the martyred intellectuals by placing wreaths at the Martyred Intellectuals` Mausoleum in the morning.
The President and PM placed wreath at the Martyred Intellectuals Memorial one after another between 8:01am and 8:03am.
Later, they stood in solemn silence for some time to show respect to the memories of the intellectuals when Army bugle played the last post.
Flanked by central leaders of the party, Sheikh Hasina, also the president of Bangladesh Awami League, laid another wreath at the Martyred Intellectuals' Memorial as party chief.
Cabinet members, MPs, the three chiefs of the army, navy and air force, and top leaders of the Awami League-led 14-party alliance were present.
Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) chairperson Khaleda Zia along with party leaders placed wreaths at the memorial around at 10:30am while Jatiya Party Chairman HM Ershad paid tributes around 8:30am.
Different socio-cultural and political organisations have chalked out elaborate programmes that include seminars, discussions and wreath-laying at Mirpur Martyred Intellectuals' Graveyard and Intellectuals` Memorial at Rayerbazar.
Earlier on the eve of the Martyred Intellectuals' Day, President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and leader of the Opposition Rowshan Ershad in separate messages commemorated the intellectual martyrs and prayed for their departed souls.
"It's the misfortune of the nation that the Pakistan army had killed many meritorious people, including educationists, doctors, writers, journalists and artists, only two days ahead of the nation's Victory," President Abdul Hamid said in his message.
In her message, the Prime Minister said Jamaat and some fanatic political parties assisted the Pakistani army through forming Al-Badr, Al-Shams and Razakar forces and perpetrated crimes like murder, rape, arson and looting during the War of Liberation.
She also urged all irrespective of party affiliations and opinions to get united to foil all conspiracies of the war criminals of Jamaat and their allies.