During the entire duration of the Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971, a large number of teachers, doctors, engineers, poets and writers were systematically massacred by the Pakistan Army and their local collaborators, most notably the alleged Islamist militia groups Al-Badr and Al-Shams. The largest number of assassinations took place on 14 December 1971, only two days before the surrender of the Pakistan Army to the joint forces of the Indian Army and Mukti Bahini.
On the night of 14 December 1971, over 200 of East Pakistan's intellectuals including professors, journalists, doctors, artists, engineers, and writers were rounded up in Dhaka. They were taken blindfolded to torture cells in Mirpur, Mohammadpur, Nakhalpara, Rajarbagh and other locations in different sections of the city. They were later executed en masse, most notably at Rayerbazar and Mirpur. In memory of the martyred intellectuals, 14 December is mourned in Bangladesh as Shaheed Buddhijibi Dibosh ("Day of the Martyred Intellectuals").
Even after the official ending of the war on 16 December, there were reports of hostile fire from the armed Pakistani soldiers and their collaborators. In one such incident, filmmaker Zahir Raihan was killed on 30 January 1972 in Mirpur, allegedly by the armed Beharis of Mirpur.
The number of intellectuals killed is estimated as: educationist 991, journalist 13, doctor 49, lawyer 42, others (litterateur, artist and engineer) 16.
Intellectuals who were killed between 25 March and 16 December 1971 in different parts of the country included Govinda Chandra Dev (Philosopher, Professor at DU), Munier Chowdhury (Litterateur, dramatist, Professor at DU), Mufazzal Haider Chaudhury (Litterateur, Professor at DU), Anwar Pasha (Litterateur, Professor at DU), Mohammed Fazle Rabbee (cardiologist), Alim Chowdhury (ophthalmologist), Shahidullah Kaisar (journalist), Nizamuddin Ahmed (Reporter), Selina Parvin (reporter), Altaf Mahmud (lyricist and musician), Hobibur Rahman (Professor of Mathematics, RU), Sukhranjan Somaddar (Professor of Sanskrit, RU), Mir Abdul Quaiyum (Professor of Psychology, RU), Dhirendranath Datta (politician), Ranadaprasad Saha (philanthropist), Lt. Col. Moazzem Hossain (ex-soldier), Mamun Mahmood (Police Officer) and many others.