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The liberation war affairs ministry has fixed the definition of martyred intellectual as part of its initiative to prepare a full list of the martyred intellectuals. Every year, Bangladesh commemorates 14 December as the Martyred Intellectuals Day though there is no approved list and definition.

According to the new definition, Bengali litterateurs, philosophers, scientists, artists, teachers, researchers, journalists, lawyers, physicians, engineers, architects, sculptors, public and private employees, politicians, social workers, cultural activists, persons related to filmmaking, theatre and music, playing crucial role through intellectual contribution to the emergence of Bangladesh, and thus had been murdered or abducted by the occupational Pakistani military and their collaborators between 25 March 1971 and 31 January 1972, are martyred intellectuals.

The ministry sources said that the definition was finalised on Wednesday during a committee meeting chaired by the liberation war affairs ministry secretary Tapan Kanti Ghosh. The committee has been formed to verify the list of martyred intellectuals.

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After the meeting, Tapan Kanti Ghosh told Prothom Alo that the ministry would publish first volume of the list by 25 March this year. “We have fixed the definition. Following this, enlistment of the martyred intellectuals will be completed.”

The Wednesday meeting also approved a list of 152 martyred intellectuals who were commemorated in different times by the postal department. Moreover, the committee sought a list of 1,070 martyred intellectuals that was published in 1972. The committee will verify some other lists published at Bangladesh Document, Intellectual Encyclopedia of Bangla Academy, Banglapedia and studies conducted by non-government initiatives.

To prepare a comprehensive list, the liberation war affairs ministry has included liberation war researchers into the committee.

The committee is comprised of Dhaka University’s history teacher professor Muntassir Mamoon, freedom fighter and cultural personality Nasiruddin Yousuf, freedom fighter and research lieutenant colonel (retired) Quazi Sajjad Ali Zahir, Ghatak Dalal Nirmul Committee president Shahriar Kabir, history teacher professor Mesbah Kamal, National Institute of Preventive and Social Medicine director professor Baizid Khoorshid Riaz, Genocide-Torture Archive and Museum trustee Chowdhury Shahid Kader and researcher Gazi Salauddin.

The committee will prepare the list of martyred intellectuals following studies, newspaper and television reports and other sources.

Shahriar Kabir said that a sub-committee led by Quazi Sajjad Ali Zahir will start drafting the list on 22 February.

*This report appeared in Prothom Alo print and online edition, and has been rewritten in English by Sadiqur Rahman

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