The nation observed the Martyred Intellectuals Day on Tuesday with due solemnity to recall the intellectuals who were killed by the Pakistani occupation forces and their local collaborators on this day in 1971.
Like in the past two years, the day was observed on a limited scale owing to Covid-19.
President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina paid rich tributes to the martyred intellectuals by placing wreaths at the Martyred Intellectuals Memorial at Mirpur, marking the day.
People from all walks of life and all professions also placed wreaths at the memorial at Mirpur in the morning.
On behalf of the president, his military secretary Major General SM Salah Uddin Islam placed a wreath at the monument to pay tributes to those who lost lives days before Bangladesh's final victory in the War of Liberation in 1971.
Besides, on behalf of the premier, her Military Secretary Major General Naqib Ahmed Chowdhury placed a wreath around to pay homage to the great heroes of the country.
President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina issued separate messages on this occasion.
President Hamid in a message said, "Their sacrifice will be fruitful if we could build a happy and prosperous 'Sonar Bangla' imbued with the Liberation War spirit following the ideology and path of the martyred intellectuals."
He also prayed for the departed souls of the martyrs.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, in her message, said the nation will always remember their sacrifices with deep respect.
She urged all to perform duty from their respective positions to continue the country's development spree by resisting all conspiracies against the state and democracy.
Paying his tribute to the martyred intellectuals by placing a wreath, Liberation War Affairs Minister AKM Mozammel Haque said the government will release the final list of martyred intellectuals of the country by 26 March.
"The ministry has published the list of intellectuals it approved after proper verification but there are many more applications left that are waiting to be verified from upazilas concerned," he added.
After paying tribute to the martyred intellectuals at the Martyred Intellectuals Memorial, Information and Broadcasting Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud said some recent incidents have proved that the international powers, that opposed the liberation war of Bangladesh, are now carrying out various conspiracies on the golden jubilee of the independence.
At the Martyred Intellectuals Memorial, BNP General Secretary Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said, "The main purpose behind the sacrifices of our intellectuals in 1971 was to establish a democratic state that the country has yet to achieve."
"Sacrifices of the martyred intellectuals will not be valued until democracy is re-established in the country," Mirza Fakhrul added.
Fakhrul also claimed BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia to be the first female freedom fighter of the country, while urging the government to allow her to go abroad for better medical treatment.
Jatiya Party Chairman Ghulam Mohammad Quader said the dream with which the great Liberation War was organised, the purpose for which the heroic martyrs gave their lives, has not been realised yet.
On this day in 1971, the country's renowned academicians, doctors, engineers, journalists, artists, teachers and other eminent personalities were dragged out of their homes, blindfolded and taken to unknown places and then brutally tortured and murdered.
Their bodies were later dumped at Rayerbazar, Mirpur and some other killing fields in the capital.