DHAKA, - Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today said calculation of the number of 1971 martyrs or people who were killed during the Liberation War could not be done largely because of high number casualties in a short span of time.
"We try to calculate mathematically how many people embraced death for independence. But, I think, it is not possible to gauge the figure numerically," she told a Martyred Intellectuals Day discussion.
The premier added that there were very few countries like Bangladesh where so many people embraced martyrdom in such a short span of time for freedom.
Bangladesh Awami League organised the discussion at the Krishibid Institution Auditorium this afternoon.
"We cannot calculate how many mothers, sisters, brothers have shed blood. It was genocide," Sheikh Hasina said.
She said millions of people were brutally killed by the Pakistani troops and their collaborators in a short span of time as they aspired for liberation defying the wishes of the military dictators.
The premier said people still shiver with fear when they remember the brutality on intellectuals by the Pakistani army and their local collaborators.
"It was not possible on the part of the Pakistani army alone to pick up our best sons unless local betrayers assisted them in doing so," she said.
The premier urged everybody to work for building the country with the ideals of the Liberation War saying "bloods of the martyrs and intellectuals would never go in vein".
"We want to build next generation in such a way so that they can know the real history of the nation and would love and respect the martyrs and deceased intellectuals, follow their ideology and be patriotic," she said.
Renowned journalist and writer Abdul Gaffar Chowdhury, also the author of the immortal song on Ekushey Fenruary 'Amar Bhaiyer Rokte Rangano Ekushey February", Shahin Reza Nur, son of martyred intellectual journalist Sirajuddin Hossain and Dr Nuzhat Chowdhury Shampa, daughter of martyred intellectual Dr Aleem Chowdhury, took part in the discussion.
Awami League General Secretary and Road Transport Minister Obaidul Kader gave introductory speech while the party's Publicity Secretary Dr Hasan Mahmud and Deputy Publicity Secretary Aminul Islam conducted the programme.
Paying her rich tributes to the martyred intellectuals, Sheikh Hasina said the collaborators carried out the genocide thinking Bangladesh would never be freed from subjugation, and their masters, from 1200 miles away, would continue to rule the country.
Sheikh Hasina said it was a misfortune for the people of Bangladesh as they were barred from knowing the real history of the country for long time after the brutal killing of Bangabandhu in 1975.
The premier said the killers of Bangabandhu and martyred intellectuals belonged to the identical group and ideology and they were so cruel that they did not hesitate killing the worthiest sons of the soil and Bangabandhu, who immensely loved his people and considered the murderers as his son.
Sheikh Hasina said the anti-liberation forces did not abandon their plot after 1971 as they could not forget the miseries of their defeat and therefore they took the revenge in 1975.
"Their conspiracy became clearer when they started propagating a false history (about the Liberation War and independence straggle)," she said.
The Prime Minister said several post independence generations grew up without knowledge of the actual history and a section of intellectuals joined hand with the killers pushing the country to further devastation. "How a nation will go ahead if its people don't know the country's history'? she said.
But, she said, a freedom fighter who really nourished the Liberation War spirit could never give upper hand to any collaborator and make them ministers, in an oblique reference to the past BNP-led four-party coalition government with anti-liberation Jamaat being its crucial partner.
Expressing her firm resolve to continue the trial of the war criminals the Prime Minister said their trial is crucial to keep the country safe from any future disaster like 1975.
To secure country's future, she said, the patrons of the war criminals should be tried as well.
"Those who made the Razakar and Pakistani collaborators country's Prime Minister, ministers and worked for their social, political and economic rehabilitation are equally responsible," she added.
The premier sought peoples support to keep the country on the present track of development and spirit of the War of Liberation saying, which became visible as Awami League was elected to power for two subsequent tenures. Bangladesh would be able to achieve its desired goal of independence if the pro-liberation forces remain in power, she said.
Awami League has liberated the country and it is the responsibility of the party to take the country towards prosperousness, she said.
Sheikh Hasina said attempts on her life may come in many ways and forms but she has the courage and strength to face any difficult situation. "Awami League and leaders and workers of the front organizations of the party are her main source of strengthen," Sheikh Hasina said.
Abdul Gaffar Chowdhury said the anti-liberation force and killers of Bangabandhu snatched the victory of the Bengalis for 21 years and during that time they left no stone unturned to destroy the spirit of rule of law, ideology of Bangabandhu, social justice and secularism. But, he said, they could not do this as two daughters of Bangabandhu remain alive.
Chowdhury said people of Bangladesh have got opportunity to get the taste of freedom and celebrate Independence Day afresh this year due to courage and leadership of Sheikh Hasina. "It's my great comfort that I will not see Matiur Rahman Nizami at Shahid Minar or National Memorial while celebrating the Independence Day and pay wreath to martyrs of language movement," she said.
Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)