New York [US], September 24 (ANI) Protesters representing ethnic and religious minorities on Friday protested outside the United Nations in New York, demanding recognition of the genocide committed by the Pakistani Army in 1971 in Bangladesh.
Led by activist Priya Saha, the group estimated that nearly three million people were killed in a span of nine months at that time.
On March 25, 1971, Pakistan Army launched 'Operation Searchlight', wherein a planned military operation was carried out by the Pakistani Army and its military deliberately harmed hundreds of thousands of Bangladeshi citizens.
According to the rights groups, the horrors of 1971 are considered one of the worst mass atrocities in history.
Protesters were also carrying placards "calling for help" for women from Hindu, Christian and Sikh communities in Pakistan.
Religious minority women and girls are abducted, forcibly converted, forcibly married and abused, and their families are unsuccessful in their attempts to challenge these crimes using legal avenues.
A 2015 report by the South Asia Partnership-Pakistan in collaboration with Aurat Foundation found that at least 1,000 girls are forcibly converted to Islam in Pakistan every year. In a recent case in September 2022, Bhagwanti, a Hindu teenage flood victim girl from Shahadapur, Sanghar, Sindh, was raped for two days while she went out to get a paltry ration, reported IFFRAS.
While the abductions, forced conversions, forced marriages and abuse are perpetrated by individuals, the fate of religious minority women and girls is often sealed as the existing laws or handling of such cases deem any legal recourse unavailable or ineffective.
Human rights groups have documented the plight of Pakistan's religious minorities for years, but it is only recently that these minorities have become the focus of popular discourse because of revelations on social media regarding their treatment, reported IFFRAS. (ANI)