• Sunday, May 16, 2021
  • Last Update : 01:05 am

UP member on the run after ‘raping’ schoolgirl in Bagerhat

  • Published at 12:49 pm May 4th, 2021
STOP RAPE Representational Photo

The girl’s mother reportedly prevented her daughter from committing suicide following the incident Sunday morning

A member of the local union parishad (UP) has been accused in a case filed for raping a sixth-grade schoolgirl in Chitalmari upazila of Bagerhat.

The accused Noni Gopal Biswas, 45, ward 9 member of Charbaniari Union Parishad and general secretary of the ward unit Awami League, has been on the run since the incident.

The girl's mother filed a case with the Chitalmari police station following the incident on Sunday morning.

The girl’s father said: “On Sunday around 10am, UP member Noni came to our house and offered to provide relief items to help during the pandemic-induced tough times. So, I gave him a copy of my NID card and phone number and then my wife and I went out to work.

“An hour later, when my wife returned home, she saw our daughter about to commit suicide by hanging herself from a beam inside the house.

“When her mother stopped her, our daughter said when no one was at home, Noni member came back and raped her. And that she was going to commit suicide in shame.”

Chitalmari police station Officer-in-Charge (OC) Ikram Hossain said: “We have launched an investigation into the incident and have already collected evidence from the scene of the crime.”

Police are looking to arrest the accused Noni member, added the officer.

In this regard, Chitalmari upazila unit Awami League General Secretary Pijush Kanti said: “Police are investigating the rape charge brought against Noni Gopal. If he is found guilty of the crime, he will face legal ramification.”

Meanwhile, when the accused Noni Gopal Biswas was called over the phone for his statement on the issue, his mobile phone was found switched off.

Bangladesh's rape epidemic

Sexual assaults on women continue unabated in Bangladesh, despite the government introducing death penalty for rapes last year. 

Earlier last month, a police headquarters report said that 26,695 rape cases were filed across the country in the past five years. 

Ain o Salish Kendra (ASK) data shows that 1,018 children were raped last year alone, but only 683 police cases had been filed. Also, 116 survivors were six years old or below.

Overall, 1,627 rape cases were reported last year and 53 of the women were killed by the perpetrators while 14 took their own lives, as per the data.

However, ASK's data is just the tip of the iceberg, according to aid agencies, who report that most women are too afraid to report rape.

In October 2020, the country was rocked by protests after a woman was allegedly attacked and raped in Noakhali.

In November last year, Bangladesh introduced capital punishment for rape, following days of protests against sexual violence against women in several cities across the country.

But human rights organisations say the move will not solve the country's rape crisis, as the survivors of the heinous crime are often stigmatised in society.

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