Dhaka, Bangladesh
Listing martyred intellectuals: a welcome move

Listing martyred intellectuals: a welcome move

That the Ministry of Liberation War Affairs has formed a verification and selection committee to prepare a list of martyred intellectuals is a welcome move. As different media reported on Tuesday, a notification was issued on November 19 on the committee that comprises researchers, freedom fighters and ministry officials. From the ministry, Secretary Tapan Kanti Ghosh was made chairman of the committee while Additional Secretary Md Shahidul Haque Bhuiyan made a member and Deputy Secretary Rathindra Nath Dutt member- secretary, The research members of the committee include Dhaka University Professor Muntasir Mamun, Ghatak Dalal Nirmul Committee President Shahriar Kabir, Dhaka University Professor Mezbah Kamal, National Institute of Preventive and Social Medicine (NIPSOM) Director Dr Bayazid Khurshid Riaz, Genocide-Torture Archives and Museum Trustee Dr Chowdhury Shahid Quader and researcher Gazi Salauddin. Filmmaker and cultural personality Nasir Uddin Yusuf Bachchu and researcher Bir Pratik Lt Col Kazi Sajjad Zaheer are the freedom fighters included in the committee. The panel will work to provide the names, father's names and addresses of the martyred intellectuals, among other opinions. It will determine the definition of who among the martyrs of the liberation war will be included as martyred intellectuals. Moreover, the committee will prepare the list by sorting out information obtained from various research books, magazine cuttings, TV reports, and other sources. Also, the committee will screen the applications of individuals from various ministries, divisions, agencies, districts, upazilas and other sources and recommend their inclusion in the list of martyred intellectuals. During the nine months of the Liberation War that began on March 26 in 1971 against the Pakistani neo-colonial regime and ended on December 16 that year giving birth to a new nation, the occupation army unleashed a systematic genocide here killing hundreds of thousands of people, including different sorts of professionals. Besides, sensing imminent defeat, Pakistani forces and their local collaborators— Shanti committee, Razakars, Al-Badr and Al-Shams— had abducted and killed front-line Bengali intellectuals and professionals in order to cripple the new nation intellectually in the days before they surrendered on December 16. Academics, intellectuals, doctors, engineers, journalists, and other eminent personalities were dragged out of their houses, blindfolded, and killed in Dhaka and elsewhere. In memory of those martyred intellectuals and professionals, the nation has observed 14th December as Shaheed Buddhijibi Dibosh since 1972 with great respect. Additionally, there are two memorials constructed in memory of the martyred intellectuals at Mirpur and Rayer Bazar- two killing fields where bodies of many intellectuals were found after December 14, 1971. There people lay floral wreaths on every return of December 14th. Also, there are many such memorials in other parts of the country. But what is regrettable is that despite huge public demand for preparing a list of the martyred intellectuals since 1972, no effective initiatives on part of the government in particular had been there until recently. Hence, the formation of the committee in question has reason to raise hope among the people who think that finding out the identities of the intellectuals and professionals who embraced martyrdom in the lead-up to the birth of the nation is important for the nation to show due respect to the martyrs and extend all-out cooperation to their families on the one hand and describe the history of the sacrifices they made for the country before the newer generations on the other. It is expected that the list of the martyred intellectuals will be prepared without any bias in the stipulated time.

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