Dhaka, Oct 7 : The recent gang rape incident in Bangladesh’s Noakhali district has exposed the brutal atrocities and crime against women in the country.
Rights body Ain o Salish Kendra (ASK) has said that at least 975 women were raped, including 208 subjected to gangrape, from January to September 30 this year in Bangladesh.
Of the victims, 45 were killed after rape and 12 others ended their lives. Besides, 161 women faced sexual harassment and 12 of them committed suicide during the same period.
The survivor of the gangrape in Noakhali was previously raped multiple times at gunpoint by prime accused Delwar Hossain, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) found after visiting the woman on Monday.
“Whenever the woman protested or resisted, she was threatened with gang rape by his whole team of ‘Delwar Bahini’,” said Al Mahmud Faizul Kabir, Director of investigation at NHRC.
According to ASK, three women and nine men were killed for protesting the sexual harassment harassments. Besides, 627 children were raped and 20 boys molested, while 21 women fell victims to acid attacks.
Former Executive Director of Ain o Salish Kendra, Sheepa Hafiza told IANS: “Rape, sexual harassment and violence against women are gradually increasing mainly for the culture of impunity and the state’s apathy to control it.”
She said the number of such acts has increased as the offenders have got an impression that they will go unpunished.
“I think the state is not considering the rape and sexual harassment as a serious crime. Politicians are not still saying they’re ashamed of such brutality and not assuring the victims of justice. The rapists are not properly punished by the 150-yer-old law,” Hafiza observed.
To address such social menace, she said, the law must be amended and make it a time-befitting one and enforce it properly.
Hafiza said police should change their attitude towards the victims of any rape and sexual harassment, and a women-friendly atmosphere needs to be ensured at police stations.
“Whenever a victim of rape and sexual harassment goes to the police, she is harassed again through various indecent gestures and unwarranted questions. So, many victims don’t get encouraged to go to the police and to seek legal action,” she pointed out.
The human rights activists said political parties always try to avoid their responsibility by expelling rapists from their parties and branding them as infiltrators.
NHRC representative told IANS that notorious Delwar not only sexually abused the victim over the year, but also felt that they were entitled to her body, as if she was property.
Officer-in-Charge Begumganj Model Police Station Harunur Rashid Chowdhury said he was not aware that the victim has been repeatedly raped by the accused.
“She did not tell me, nor did she tell the Magistrate on Monday, after the video footage went viral. I only learnt of this when NHRC told me,” he said.
“Delwar had a gun on him, which is illegal. There are two existing murder charges against him. He will be transferred to Shiddhirganj police station for further interrogation, while his accomplice Badal will be sent to Begumganj Police Station,” said RAB-11 commanding officer Saiful Alam.
Rapid Action Batallion (RAB) -11 officials told that upon interrogating the accused rapists, they found that the video was released through social media because the victim refused for sex.
Meanwhile, more than 24 hours after the High Court instructed Bangladesh Telecom Regulatory Commission (BTRC) to ensure that the video is taken down from websites and social media, the video is still available through a simple search.
BTRC Director General of Systems and Services Division Brigadier General Md Mustafa Kamal said they are actively taking down links as they see them, but more keep cropping up.
“We identified 17 links and reported them to authorities and we are still actively on the lookout for more. If anyone finds any link with the video and refers the link to us, we will take action,” he said.
Among others sharing the video, social media vloggers and online portals actively continued to include the video in their own video content in a misguided approach to raise awareness about rape. Some blurred out the entire video, some blurred out the victim’s body, but kept the face unblurred, some trimmed the video to only keep certain sections and others zoomed out the video to make it less visible — but none of that alters the reality that it is a video of a violent rape.
As the video continues to crop up faster than it can be taken down, the survivor hides to protect herself and her family.
Not only is the survivor hiding away from her village, but so is her family members .Her father use to run a tea-store in the area, and that too has its shutters down.
A leader of Jatiya Sramik League and another man was arrested early Monday for allegedly raping a housewife in Shamimabad area of Sylhet city.
The accused were identified as Dilowar, 40, and Harun Mia, 35, alias Chakku Harun.
Sub-Inspector Rezaul Karim of Kotwali Police Station said Dilowar and his two accomplices went to the victim’s house on Sunday and raped her.The victim filed a case with Kotwali police on Monday morning.