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Anti-rape protests continue to burn

  • Published at 06:07 pm October 10th, 2020
Police initially bar women from carrying out their protest against nationwide rapes in front of the National Partliament building at Manik Mia Avenue of Dhaka on Saturday, October 10, 2020 Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

Anti-rape protests continue in city for fifth day

Leaders and activists of different organizations, including those working on women’s rights, staged demonstrations on the road in front of National Parliament yesterday, protesting the recent spike in rape and violence against women in the country.

Under the banner of Feminists Across Generations – a platform of several women rights groups, including Naripokkho, they started thronging there around 4pm, carrying banners, placards and festoons.

The development comes as the nationwide protests over the rape spree continued for the sixth consecutive day yesterday, with Shahbagh being the centre of demonstration.

The protesters were chanting various slogans condemning the “impunity of rapists” and demanding prompt action to bring the rapists to book.

They were holding placards inscribed with: “Stop protecting rapists”, “Mukti chai, Rokkha Noi.”

Protests against the growing incidents of rape, sexual harassment and violence against women are continuing in different parts of the country.

The protesters included general people and leaders and activists from different organizations.

Waves of anti-rape demonstrations erupted across Bangladesh after video footage of five men gang-raping a housewife, stripping her naked and filming the video of the incident in Noakhali’s Begumganj upazila, went viral on social media on Sunday.

The incident occurred at Joykrishnapur village under Ekhlaspur union of the upazila on September 2.

The recent incident of gang rape at Sylhet MC College and a housewife’s molestation in Begumganj of Noakhali fueled the protests.

Meanwhile, Gonoshasthaya Kendra founder Dr Zafrullah Chowdhury addressing an anti-rape rally in front of the National Press Club said the entire country is outraged over the recent dramatic rise in rapes, violence against women and extrajudicial killings.

“None of us is safe now. The people are robbed of their rights,” he said, joining the rally held under the banner of Bhashani Followers’ Council.

Claiming that a renaissance of the countrymen has been in place, he demanded that the government raise the punishment for rapes to 50 years.

“We must stay united to press home the demand,” he said.

At the same event, Zonayed Saki, chief coordinator of Ganosamhati Andolan, alleged that the recent upward trend in rapes was a result of political impunity.

“Many of the incidents are being backed by the ruling party. The culprits involved are spared and even do not have to stand trial for the heinous crime,” he said.

Saki was further critical of the government for not ensuring justice to some of the major criminal acts that took place in the past few years.

In another development, BNP Standing Committee member Nazrul Islam Khan said the rapist and oppressors of women are no better than the Pakistani occupation forces. 

“Our mothers and sisters had to sacrifice their chastity in the hand of the Pakistani oppressors. And the same is going on these days. So, who do we blame now?” he said.  

Ganosamhati Andolan will hold a rally in front of the Home Ministry at 11am yesterday. A photo exhibition supporting the protests will be held in Dhaka today as well. 

In addition, leaders and supporters of Mass Stance Against Rapes, a platform of several left-leaning student bodies, will submit a memorandum to the Home Ministry today.

Amid the growing protests since Monday, the government on Thursday said it will make death penalty the highest punishment for rape and a proposal in this regard would be tabled in a cabinet meeting scheduled for tomorrow.