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Martyred Intellectuals Day today

Mohiuddin Alamgir

The nation observes Martyred Intellectuals Day today amid demand of quick execution of Al-Badr bosses Md Ashrafuzzaman Khan alias Nayeb Ali and Chowdhury Mueenuddin, now hiding abroad, for abducting and killing intellectuals at the fag end of the country’s liberation war in 1971.
On November 3, the International Crimes Tribunal 2 sentenced the duo to death for the selective abductions and killings.
The tribunal found that Ashraf was the ‘chief executor’ and Mueen was the ‘operation-in-charge’ of Al-Badr, a killing squad and ‘brainchild’ of Jamaat-e-Islami and the Pakistan marauding military during the liberation war.
Mueen is now living in London and Ashraf in the United States.
They were tried in their absence on 11 counts of crimes against humanity for abducting and killing 18 intellectuals, including nine Dhaka University teachers, six journalists and three physicians.
Sensing imminent defeat as the war was drawing to a close, the marauding forces of Pakistan and their local collaborators took the plan to eliminate the intelligentsia of this heroic land, in a bid to cripple the newly emerging independent Bangladesh.
The first prime minister of Bangladesh, Tajuddin Ahmed, declared December 14 Martyred Intellectuals’ Day as the largest number of abduction and subsequent murder of the intellectuals took place on December 14, 1971, two days before the surrender of the Pakistani marauding forces.
The national flag will be flown at half-mast atop government buildings and educational institutions.
Law enforcement agencies have tightened security in and around the two memorials at Rayerbazar and Mirpur in Dhaka.
Mourners in their thousands would, like every year, visit memorials at Rayerbazar and Mirpur in the city and place their homage commemorating the martyred intellectuals.
Many social and cultural organisations would walk down to the memorials on the daybreak carrying banners to press the demand for speeding up the 1971 war crimes trials.
Different organisations would form human chains and hold discussions on the martyred intellectuals at places in the city.
Documentaries would also be screened by different institutions and organisations to commemorate the brightest sons this land had ever produced.
In separate messages, president Abdul Hamid, prime minister Sheikh Hasina and leader of the opposition Khaleda Zia recalled the contributions of the martyred intellectuals and paid homage to them.
Hasina is scheduled to place wreaths at the Martyred Intellectuals
Memorial at Mirpur in the morning.
Khaleda Zia, along with other Bangladesh Nationalist Party leaders, would also lay wreaths at the Martyred Intellectuals’ Memorial.
Ruling Awami League, opposition BNP and other political parties took up elaborate programmes to observe the day.
Liberation war affairs ministry will hold a discussion in the capital today.
Educational and cultural organisations, Liberation War Museum, Dhaka University, Jagannath University, Bangla Academy and other organisations and institutions will hold programmes, including discussions and painting competitions marking the day.
This year, the day has special significance as Jamaat leader Abdul Quader Molla was executed on Thursday night at Dhaka Central Jail for crimes against humanity committed during the war of independence.
This was the first case of execution of any war crimes convict among the seven. Besides, former Jamaat chief Ghulam Azam has been sentenced for 90 years and former BNP minister Abdul Alim was jailed for life.

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