The nation today 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 the country's Liberation War in 1971.
Sensing a humiliating defeat, the retreating Pakistani occupation forces and their local collaborators - Rajakars, 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' Mausoleum in Mirpur and the Rayer Bazar killing ground (Baddhobhumi) to pay their homage to the worthy sons of the soil.
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 departed souls of the martyrs.
President Abdul Hamid and on behalf of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina her Military Secretary Major Gen Mia Md Jainul Abedin placed wreaths at the Martyred Intellectuals Mausoleum at Mirpur in the morning.
Earlier, on his arrival at the mausoleum site, President Abdul Hamid was received by several cabinet members, parliament members, senior Awami League leaders, war-wounded freedom fighters and family members of the martyred intellectuals.
Deputy Speaker Fazle Rabbi Miah, Agriculture Minister Begum Matia Chowdhury, Civil Aviation and Tourism Minister Rashed Khan Menon, Road Transport and Bridge 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 M Shahriar Alam, State Minister for Textile and Jute Mirza Azam, former Foreign Minister Dr Dipu Moni, former Home Minister Advocate Sahara Khatun, former Food Minister Dr 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 war-wounded freedom fighters and family members of the martyred intellectuals there and enquired about their wellbeing.
Later, on behalf of Awami League President Sheikh Hasina, party general secretary Obaidul Quader along with senior leaders paid homage to the martyrs.
Opposition Leader Rawshan Ershad and Deputy Speaker Fazle Rabbi Miah also placed wreaths.
People from all walks of life, central leaders of the 14-party alliance, other social-cultural-professional bodies and war wounded freedom fighters and members of the martyred families placed wreaths at the memorial in a large queue.
Jatiya Party, BNP led by its chairperson Begum Khaleda Zia, Workers Party led by its president Rashed Khan Menon, Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal led by its president Hasanul Haq Inu, Gano Forum led by its convener Dr Kamal Hossain and other political parties placed wreaths at the memorial in observance of the day.
Leaders of Dhaka City AL, 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 placed wreaths paying homage to the martyred intellectuals.
Besides, Awami League paid homage to Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman by placing wreaths at his portrait at Dhanmondi-32 here in the morning.
Islamic Foundation organised Quran Khwani, milad and doa mahfil at Baitul Mukarram National Mosque where special prayers (munajat) and doa were offered for eternal peace of the departed souls of the martyrs.
Jatiya Press Club also organized a discussion to mark the day.
The day was observed in other parts of the country through different programmes.