In Muslim-majority Bangladesh, homosexuality is a criminal offence and punishable by life imprisonment
Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) has detained 28 people from what it calls “a homosexual party” at a community centre in Dhaka’s Keraniganj.
“Homosexuals from 20 districts gathered there. They usually get together once every two months,” RAB 10 Commanding Officer Jahangir Hossain Matubbar told reporters on Friday.
He said they raided the place at Keraniganj’s Ati Bazar around 3am and also recovered 45 contraband yaba tablets and 250 grams of marijuana from their possession.
Most of the detainees, all under the age of 30, are students. They used to keep in touch with each other on social media, the RAB officer claimed.
The RAB 10 CO also said locals have complained about this particular group for a long time. The detainees admitted to having gathered there to engage in homosexual activities. “They used to gather here every two months for the last two-and-a-half years.”
The detainees were handed over to Keraniganj police in the afternoon.
However, in a bizarre twist of events, a narcotics case has been lodged against the detainees.
The Dhaka Tribune cannot confirm the authenticity of the claims independently.
Homosexuality is a criminal offence in Muslim-majority Bangladesh, where the highest punishment for “unnatural intercourse” is life imprisonment.
LGBT rights campaigners and their supporters have long been subjected to mockery and assault, sometimes fatal, by radical Islamists.
Xulhaz Mannan, editor of Bangladesh’s only LGBT magazine Roopbaan, was hacked to death at his Dhaka home along with his friend Khandaker Mahbub Rabbi Tonoy, also a theatre activist, at the former’s house on April 25, last year in an attack later claimed by militant group al-Qaeda’s Bangladesh wing Ansar al-Islam.
Investigators have so far failed to make any apparent progress in cracking the case.
Less than two weeks before the murders, Roopbaan supporters were barred by the police from carrying out a procession during the Pohela Boishakh celebrations at Shahbagh.