The protesters, mostly leaders and activists of leftist student bodies, began their demonstrations by staging plays, reciting poems and singing songs as a way of demanding justice for rape victims and demanding exemplary punishment of rapists
People from various quarters, for the eighth consecutive day, gathered at Shahbagh intersection on Monday to protest the sudden rise in the number of countrywide rapes and incidents of violence against women.
The protesters, mostly leaders and activists of leftist student bodies, began their demonstrations by staging plays, reciting poems and singing songs as a way of demanding justice for rape victims and demanding exemplary punishment of rapists. The protests got underway at around 4:30pm under the banner “Bangladesh Against Rape and Injustice.”
The protesters said that the government lacked the honesty of courage to admit its failure in prosecuting rape cases. They claimed that none of those who had been raped across the country in the last ten years got justice.
This detached government had again proved that they patronized the culture of impunity and the gap in the country’s judiciary system was evident once again, they added.
Chhatra Union General Secretary Anik Roy said: “The crime of rape cannot be stopped by only introducing capital punishment.
“For this reason, we have to change the environment. The government does not have that intent. The administration has made a so-called decision.”
“We demand a clearer definition of rape and reform of the Evidence Act.
“The recent introduction of the death penalty for rape has created confusion in the movement against rape. Our anti-rape movement will continue,” he added.
The cultural protest at Shahbagh started with Bangladesh Udichi Shilpi Goshthi’s mass music presentation as they sang Akash Chakraborty's song, "Scream, girl, let's see how far it goes."
Later, on behalf of the Pragati Writers Association, Mahbubul Haque recited Rudra Mohammad Shahidullah’s poem, “Smell of corpses in the air.”
Anti-rape slogans were chanted during the intervals between the performances.
Expressing solidarity with the program, Dhaka University teacher Samina Luthfa said: “Those who are influential in society are involved in most of the rape cases.
“Due to lengthy trials, the rape victims are deprived of justice.”
Speaking to Dhaka Tribune, Bangladesh Udichi Shilpigoshthi General Secretary Jamshed Anwar Tapan said: “Today's rally is in support of the anti-rape nine-point demand. The government has announced the death penalty for rapists.
“But will this reduce such crimes? Not really. The existing Evidence Law has not been reformed. There are hundreds of thousands of cases pending in the courts without any trial.”
The students taking part in the anti-rape movement at Shahbagh said that people could never move forward without the emancipation of women.
This country had improved in many aspects but people were lagging behind when it came to an awareness of moral values and consciousness, they added.
Meanwhile, students of different educational institutions also took to the streets in Dhanmondi and Mirpur 10 to protest rape and violence against women.