Protests continue as fury spreads over rape incidents


Dhaka, Oct 06: Protests against the growing incidents of rape, sexual harassment and violence against women continued for the second consecutive day on Tuesday.

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

People took to the streets and social networking sites to register their strong protests. Women blacked out their FB profile photos condemning the incidents of violence against women. Some male FB users also joined the protest programme.

“It’s a movement to show what the world might be without women. Your profile photo should just be a black square so that men wonder where women are. Pass it only to women. It’s for a protest against woman abuse,” stated a viral message that is prevalent in FB messenger in the country.

Protesting the incidents, a cross-section of people, including students, across the country staged demonstrations, demanding punishment of the rapists.

In the capital, people joined a mass gathering protesting the horrific incident of Noakhali housewife’s molestation that has gone viral on social media.

Nearly a hundred protesters, mainly leaders and activists of left-leaning student organisations, including Chhatra Union, Socialist Student Front and citizens, took positions at Shahbagh intersection under the banner of “Bangladesh for Anti-Rapists” carrying posters and chanting slogans demanding exemplary punishment for the rapists.

Meanwhile, Sommilito Sangskritik Jote urged the government to ensure an exemplary trial of the rapists.

In Rajshahi, students staged demonstrations blocking roads in the city protesting the rape incidents and demanding punishment of the rapists.

A group of students gathered at G-point in Sahebbazar area around 11am and formed a human chain.

Later, they blocked the road for some time. General people also joined the protest programme.

Protesters sought speedy trial of the rape cases and demanded the toughest punishment of the rapists.

In Sylhet, students of Shahjalal University of Science and Technology (SUST) formed a human chain in front of its main gate around 11am.

The students also demanded the highest punishment of the rapists.

In Chuadanga, general people, including students, teachers, journalists and civil society members, formed a human chain in front of Shaheed Minar of Chuadanga Government College in the morning protesting the rising rape incidents across the country.

In Satkhira, a human chain was formed at Shaheed Alauddin Chattar in the district town around 10:30am demanding punishment of the rapists.

Professor Md Anisur Rahman, convener of Zila Nagorik Committee, presided over the human-chain programme and the protest rally.

Meanwhile, protest programmes were also held in Shyamnagar and Kaliganj upazila.

A housewife of Noakhali’s Begumganj upazila was molested by some local miscreants at Ward No. 9 of Eklashpur Union of the upazila last month and a video of the barbaric incident went viral on the internet on Sunday.

The incident sparked widespread outrage across the country.

What did Home Minister say?

Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan on Tuesday said legal action will be taken soon against the criminals involved in torturing and sexually humiliating a woman in Noakhali.

“The criminals await immediate legal action,” said the minister while talking to reporters at the Bangladesh Secretariat.

Describing the incident as a heinous act, he said, “We’ve swung into action as soon as we received the information. Almost all the culprits have already been arrested.”

The minister said all the culprits behind the rape incident at MC College in Sylhet have been arrested by law enforcement agencies.

Flawless investigation reports will be submitted both in the Noakhali and MC College cases so that the accused get the toughest punishment, said Asaduzzaman.