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Killing of Intellectuals  one of the most brutal and savage carnages in the history of Bangladesh. It was a planned killing of the Bangali intellectuals- educationists, journalists, literateurs, physicians, scientists, lawyers, artists, philosophers and political thinkers - executed by a group of collaborators under the directive and guidance of the Pakistani military rulers during the war of liberation in 1971. The blue print of crippling the intelligentsia is said to have been chalked out by Major General Rao Farman Ali, the military adviser to the governor of East Pakistan. The armed cadres of al-badr, a para-military force, is alleged to have executed the brutal killing having been provided with arms and support by the Pakistan army.

The killing of the intellectuals virtually began with the army crackdown in Dhaka on the night of 25 March, and continued till the surrender of the Pak-army on 16 December 1971.

The act of killing was initiated in Dhaka and gradually spread over the whole of East Pakistan especially in the district and subdivisional towns. The brutality and killing took a serious turn especially in Dhaka during the days preceding the surrender of the Pak army, particularly on 14 December, the day now commemorated as Shaheed Buddhijibi Hatya Dibash (Martyred Intellectuals Day).

A site of mass massacre of Intellectuals, Mirpur
Courtesy: Liberation War Museum, Dhaka

The killers used to abduct and carry away the targetted victims from their houses in gestapo style to particular camps or spots very often covering their face with black cloth. They mostly took advantage of curfew in the city and kidnapped the victims. The victims were physically tortured, brutaly killed mostly by indiscriminate bayonet charges. The main spots of execution in Dhaka city were the marshy land at Rayerbazar near Mohammadpur and another at Mirpur, where a huge number of dead bodies were found scattered in the ditches, plains and inside the heaps of bricks. The dead bodies, eyes covered and hands tied, were found wounded and swelled all over their bodies and bullet shots on the chest, head or back.

The number of intellectuals killed is estimated as follows: educationist 991, journalist 13, physician 49, lawyer 42, others (litterateur, artist and engineer) 16.

[Muazzam Hussain Khan]

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