Today, the Hindu American Foundation called on the Biden Administration to condemn the escalating violence against Hindus in Bangladesh and Pakistan. Over the last six months, violence targeting the Hindu religious minority communities in Bangladesh and Pakistan has escalated significantly.
“The fate of religious minorities in Bangladesh and Pakistan has been growing dangerously perilous over the last decade, and with the COVID-19 pandemic it has reached a new low point where state and non-state actors can commit violence against Hindus, Christians, Buddhists, and others with even greater impunity,” stated HAF Managing Director Samir Kalra, Esq.
“We call on the Biden Administration to swiftly condemn this violence before there is further bloodshed, and to relay to the Bangladeshi authorities that radical Islamist groups like Hefazat e-Islami (HeI) must be shut down,” Kalra added.
Last November, HAF alerted the US State Department after a 3,000 person strong mob of HeI radicals attacked a Hindu village destroying over a dozen homes and four Hindu temples. Then, days before the world commemorated March 25th as the 50th anniversary of the 1971 Bengali Hindu Genocide, a second wave of anti-Hindu violence led by the same Islamist group attacked another Hindu village destroying 70-80 homes and a temple.
In Pakistan’s Sindh province the lives of Hindu and Christian girls are in daily jeopardy as nearly 1,000 girls are kidnapped, converted to Islam, and married off as child brides to their much older male kidnappers every year, all with the approval of the government of Pakisan.
“A 13-year-old Hindu girl named Kavita Bai was allegedly kidnapped by a man of Bahalkani tribe, forcibly converted to Islam by Barelvi cleric Mian Mithoo, and then married off to her abductor. A video of the conversion ceremony has also gone viral on social media,” India Today reported on March 11, 2021.
One week later, on March 18, 2021, Ajay Lalwani, a Hindu journalist from Sindh who had reported on the rampant corruption and female kidnappings, was murdered while waiting in line to get a haircut.
HAF shared these and other concerns of the Hindu American community, as well as the latest reports of anti-Hindu violence in Bangladesh and Pakistan, directly in meetings with State Department officials last week. Days after HAF met with the US State Department, a third wave of anti-Hindu mass violence erupted in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
“USCIRF condemns the attacks on Hindu temples in #Bangladesh. USCIRF urges the government to protect houses of worship and ensure that religious minorities feel safe to practice their faith,” the US Commission on International Religious Freedom tweeted on March 29, 2021.
“The rampant violence and targeting of Hindus without consequence over the years, especially since the COVID lockdown, has fueled an atmosphere of intolerance and bigotry in Bangladesh that today is manifested by wave after wave of mass religious violence reminiscent of 1971,” Kalra added.
“We urge the US State Department to designate Bangladesh as a “Country of Particular Concern” under the International Religious Freedom Act in its upcoming 2021 report,” he said.