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Subarnachar gang-rape survivor demands security for family

  • Published at 12:33 pm November 25th, 2019
subarnachar rape-hunger strike
A day-long symbolic hunger strike at Central Shaheed Minar premises, demanding justice for rapes and sexual harassment victims on Monday, November 25, 2019 Rajib Dhar/Dhaka Tribune

She was gang-raped by a group of miscreants allegedly led by Awami League's Subarnachar unit former publicity secretary Ruhul Amin

The Subarnachar gang-rape survivor has urged the government to provide security for her family, and herself as her eldest daughter's life was threatened while attending a court hearing recently.

“Although the culprits are in jail, they are still threatening me, and my family members. They tried to kill my eldest daughter a few days back when we went to the court to attend a hearing,” she said while addressing a day-long symbolic hunger strike, which began on Central Shaheed Minar premises around 10 am yesterday.

The rape survivor, who was gang-raped by a group of miscreants allegedly led by Awami League's Subarnachar unit former publicity secretary Ruhul Amin on the day following the 11th national election, burst into tears while giving an account of the incident.

“They have bought the case’s witnesses, and threatened the rest of dire consequences,” she furthered.

She talked about the hardship she has been facing since that incident.

“The government assured us a home on a piece of land where we could stay, but that did not happen. So far, no one [from the government] has contacted me to know my circumstances except these rights organizations,” she added.

The survivor, a mother of four at the Madhya Bagya village under Subarnachar's Charjubili union in Noakhali was forcibly dragged from her house at gunpoint, and gang-raped, allegedly by 10 to 15 local Awami League activists. The leader of the group, Ruhul Amin, was expelled from local Awami League in the aftermath.

Justice yet to see light

A family member of Zakia Sultana Rupa, the Dhaka Ideal Law College student raped and murdered brutally on a moving bus in Tangail in 2017, expressed solidarity at the program.

Her brother Hafizur Rahman recalled in tears how his sister had to bear her own education expenses by working at a multinational company.

He hoped that the High Court would uphold the verdict of the lower court that sentenced the four accused in the murder case. “Still the hearing has not commenced at High Court. I don’t know what will happen,” he said.

The program is organized by women's rights organization 'We Can' | Rajib Dhar/Dhaka Tribune

Rupa was on her way to her workplace after taking the teachers' registration test in Bogra on that day. As part of working in the marketing division of Unilever, her area of coverage was Mymensingh Sadar.

Another victim Salma Farhana was killed after being repressed by her in-laws who tried to frame the murder as a suicide. Mahbub Rahman, Salma’s brother claimed he did not want justice for his sister as justice is never met.

“Police are yet to take any action against the perpetrators,” he said.

On April 5 this year, assailants forced Akhi Moni, a first-year intermediate student, and a mother of a two-year-old, in Dinajpur to ingest pesticide after a failed rape attempt on her.

Her father, Asaduzzaman said his daughter was harassed by the culprits several times before her murder.  Akhi was staying at her father’s house in Madhabbati village of Biral Upazila as her husband left for Dhaka the day before.

Asaduzzaman said she was home alone, and one Tozammel Hossain Toza raped her. As neighbours rushed there and caught him red-handed Toza’s brother, Upazila Parishad Chairman Maruf Hossain stormed in, beat up Akhi, and poured pesticide in her month, claimed Asaduzzaman.

Police could not arrest the culprits yet, he said.    

The day-long program demanding justice for rapes and sexual harassment victims continued till 5 pm, organized by women's rights organization "We Can," as well as several other rights organizations.

Addressing the occasion, Sultana Kamal, Chairperson of We Can said: “Of the women who have been sexually harassed in the country, only a few have gathered here today. But look at the statistics for the last 10 years, we have no other way but to get worried.”

“We are not raising our voices as we come to understand that justice is not met according to our demands. On the other hand repression on women is growing as a culture of irrationality has established,” the former advisor to the caretaker government said.

She said that all things should not be dependent on the prime minister, adding: “Things should not be like: if PM wishes then justice will be met if she is not notified or has intervened, justice will not be met.”

1253 women, 767 child rapes recorded between Jan-Oct

A statistical report on rape and harassment prepared by Ain o Salish Kendra (ASK) and Manusher Jonno Foundation was also presented during the program.

The report was prepared by these organizations using information derived from media reports of nine national dailies.

According to the report, at least 1,253 women were raped in the first ten months of 2019 across Bangladesh. Besides, 62 others were murdered after being raped during this time period.

The report stated that 10 more victims committed suicide after they were raped during this time span, adding that some 767 children were also raped during the same time-frame.

A memorandum, which will include this report, addressed to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina along with their nine-point demands will be submitted after their protest program ends.

We Can (Amrai Pari Paribarik Nirjaton Protirodh Jot), executive coordinator Zinat Ara Haque announced the nine-point demands.

9 point demands

●    Woman and children repression tribunal have to upgrade to special tribunal for ensuring quick trial.

●    Initiatives have to be taken for decreasing the case backlog.

●    Witness recording system has to be updated.

●    Government awareness programs have to continue for The Domestic Violence Act 2010.

●    Security, treatment and compensation have to be provided to a victim during trial. 

●    According to High Court directives, the sexual harassment prevention policy has to be formulated and enforced.

●    Zero tolerance policy on all kind of sexual repression.

●    Drive against rapist and assailants as like the ongoing drive against corruption. 

●    Each and every discriminatory law has to be updated which is related to woman and children repression.

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