South Asia

State facilities for Bangladesh war rape victims

The rape victims of the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971 will get their long overdue recognition as freedom fighters as the national Parliament passed a historic proposal 43 years after the country’s independence from Pakistan.

Under the proposal, passed unanimously, the rape victims who are identified as biraganas — war heroines — and their children will get state facilities.

Liberation War Affairs Minister A.K.M. Mozammel Haque told Parliament on Thursday that the government had begun finalising the list of biranganas, which is expected to be completed in next two months. The nation has not forgotten the agonies of the women who were subjected to sexual violence by the Pakistan army and their local cohorts, the Minister said.

The list being prepared by the Liberation War Ministry will carry the names of the war heroines who wished to make their identities public.

During the liberation war, Pakistani military personnel and their local cohorts, raped between 2,00,000 and 4,00,000 women in a systematic campaign of genocidal rape. These rapes caused thousands of pregnancies, births of war babies, abortions and even suicides.

Most Bangladesh estimates suggest that the Pakistan army and their local Islamist collaborators caused the deaths of up to 3 million people in a span of 9 months.

The unprecedented terror created up to 10 million refugees who fled to the bordering Indian provinces for safety. The nine month-long military atrocities displaced a further 30 million within the territory, which now constitutes Bangladesh.

The post-independent government of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the nation’s founding father, had declared the rape victims as biranganas and taken measures to rehabilitate them.

The state patronization was, however, was abruptly stopped after the assassination of Mujib in 1975 and capture of power by the military junta.

While pronouncing a judgment in a war crime case in December 2014, a war crimes tribunal has emphasised the need to “recognise, honour, compensate and rehabilitate the biranganas who had sacrificed their supreme self-worth for the cause of the country’s independence”.

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Printable version | Dec 5, 2021 1:05:03 PM |

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