Two American congressmen have introduced a resolution in the House of Representatives urging the Biden administration to recognize the Pakistan Army’s atrocities against ethnic minorities during the 1971 Liberation War of Bangladesh.
The legislation was brought by Congressmen Ro Khanna and Steve Chabot on October 14, calling on the Pakistan government, among other things, to apologize to the people of Bangladesh for its role in the genocide of ethnic Bengalis and Hindus during the war.
The resolution “condemns the atrocities committed by the Armed Forces of Pakistan against the people of Bangladesh from March 1971 to December 1971; recognizes that such atrocities against ethnic Bengalis and Hindus constitute crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide; calls on the President of the United States to recognize the atrocities committed against ethnic Bengalis and Hindus by the Armed Forces of Pakistan during 1971 as crimes against humanity war crimes, and genocide,” the legislation read.
In a tweet, Chabot, a Republican Party member, confirmed of bringing in such a resolution jointly with another Congressman Khanna, a Democrat and the US Representative from California’s 17th congressional district, to commemorate the 1971 Bengali Genocide.
“We must not let the years erase the memory of the millions who were massacred. Recognizing the genocide strengthens the historical record, educates our fellow Americans, and lets would-be perpetrators know such crimes will not be tolerated or forgotten,” he 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 recognize that the mass atrocities committed against Bengalis and Hindus, in particular, were indeed a genocide,” he said.
The Bangladeshi community welcomed the congressmen’s move, expressing satisfaction at the resolution getting bipartisan support from the Republicans and the Democrats.
Saleem Reza Noor, whose family members were brutally murdered by armed Islamists in 1971, told PTI, “Our genocide is finally getting recognition in the US Congress”.
Priya Saha, executive director of the Human Rights Congress for Bangladesh Minorities (HRCBM), said: “On this 51st anniversary of Bangladesh’s independence, we hope that millions of people in Bangladesh who were systematically exterminated by the Pakistan army and their collaborators in 1971 will be formally memorialized.” (With inputs from agencies)