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Recognise 1971 Pak atrocities as genocide

2 US lawmakers move resolution

Published : 15 Oct 2022 10:45 PM | Updated : 16 Oct 2022 07:21 PM

In a significant move, two US lawmakers from two parites - Republican and Democratic party - joined forces to introduce a historic resolution in the the House of Representatives, urging President Joe Biden to recognise the atrocities committed against ethnic Bengalis and Hindus by the Pakistani armed forces in 1971 as a "genocide".

Congressman Steve Chabot from Republican Party and Indian-American Congressman Ro Khanna from Democratic party introduced the resolution in the US House of Representatives on Friday, calling on Pakistan to offer apologies to the people of Bangladesh for its role in such a genocide.

In the face of overwhelming evidence, the resolution calls on the government of Pakistan "to offer acknowledgement of its role in such genocide, offer formal apologies to the government and people of Bangladesh, and prosecute, in accordance with international law, any perpetrators who are still living". 

"We must not let the years erase the memory of the millions who were massacred. Recognising the genocide strengthens the historical record, educates our fellow Americans, and lets would-be perpetrators know such crimes will not be tolerated or forgotten," Chabot, after introducing the resolution, tweeted. 

"The Bangladesh Genocide of 1971 must not be forgotten. With help from my Hindu constituents in Ohio's First District, Ro Khanna and I introduced legislation to recognise that the mass atrocities committed against Bengalis and Hindus, in particular, were indeed a genocide," Chabot said.

 Khanna, a Democrat and the US Representative from California's 17th congressional district, tweeted that he along with Chabot introduced the first resolution commemorating the 1971 Bengali Genocide in which millions of ethnic Bengalis and Hindus were killed or displaced in one of the most forgotten genocides of "our" time.

 "There was a genocide. Millions of people were killed (in 1971) in what is now Bangladesh, and what was then East Pakistan. About 80 percent of those millions that were killed were Hindus," Chabot, US Representative for Ohio's 1st congressional district, said.

 "And it was, in my opinion, a genocide just like other genocides – like the Holocaust – happened. And there were others that have occurred, and this was one that, thus far, hasn't really been declared by definition. And we are working on this now," he said, reports PTI.

 The resolution has been welcomed by the Bangladeshi community. Saleem Reza Noor, whose family members were brutally murdered by armed Islamists in 1971, expressed relief after 51 years of despair. "Our genocide is finally getting recognition in the US Congress," Noor said, reports PTI.

 He expressed satisfaction as both Republicans and Democrats joined forces to introduce a historic resolution that has the potential to reshape the geopolitics of South Asia, Central Asia, and the Indo-Pacific.

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