Press Release: On IWD 2022, HinduPACT calls for Prosecution of Pakistan Army Men Responsible for Rapes in 1971 to Prevent Forced Conversion and Trafficking of Girls in Present Day Pakistan

WASHINGTON, D.C – On the 47th anniversary of International Women’s Day, HinduPACT is calling for the prosecution of Pakistani army men who were responsible for the rapes of women during the 1971 Bangladeshi genocide in order to prevent forced conversions and trafficking of girls in present-day Pakistan.

The Rig Veda, considered the oldest canonical revealed scriptures in the World, includes Ghosha, Lopamudra, Maitreyi, and Gargi as prominent authors. The Rig Veda says: “A scholarly woman, the entire life of society depends upon you. You provide us the right knowledge. May you bring knowledge to all segments of society.” — Rig Veda 2.41.17

“It is important to send a strong message to modern day aggressors like the Mian Mithoo and other Islamist clerics in Pakistan, that even 50 years from now, they will be held accountable for the crimes that are being committed today against underage girls belonging to the Hindu, Sikh and Christian communities. More than a 1000 girls face kidnapping, forced conversion and trafficking with tacit support of the Pakistan Army every year,” said Rakhi Israni, who leads HinduPACT’s Coalition for Hindu Girls Abducted and their Rights (CHINGARI).

Shreya Mishra, an intern for CHINGARI said, “The Chingari project not only represents the fight to eradicate gender-based violence, but was also created to protect, promote, and celebrate the strength of women across the globe, and highlight the ongoing battle that women face in different regions every single day. Today, I encourage folks to reflect on the current state of gender-based violence across the globe and support the Chingari project and other causes which advocate for the rights of women and girls.”

Utsav Chakrabarti, the Executive Director of HinduPACT said, “More than 50 years after the Pakistan Army perpetrated violence and sexual assault on more than 300,000 women, and killed three million people, the war crimes that were committed have not been recognized as genocide. Not only have the crimes not been recognized, but many of the war-criminals went on to become powerful generals and administrators in Pakistan, influencing decision making even today. On International Women’s Day, we call upon the US and the international community to recognize the genocide of Bangladeshis by Pakistan and take immediate steps to bring to trial the 195 current and former members of the Pakistan Army, who were recorded as being responsible for perpetrating the violence. Prominent genocide prevention watchdogs like Genocide Watchand Lemkin Institute have already recognized what occurred in Bangladesh in 1971 as genocide.”

There is a need to address these issues, especially on International Women’s Day and during Women’s History Month.

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