'Anisul talked about amending the law only to quell the intense movement protesting the violence against women and children across the country'
BNP on Sunday said Law Minister Anisul Huq’s remark on making the death sentence the highest punishment for committing rape is merely an eyewash to weaken the countrywide movement against sexual harassment.
“We think the law minister’s statement is nothing but an eyewash and an extreme hoax. He talked about amending the law only to quell the intense movement protesting the violence against women and children across the country,” said BNP Senior Secretary General Ruhul Kabir Rizvi.
The BNP leader made the remarks while speaking at a press briefing at the party’s Naya Paltan central office.
Amid strong protests across the country against the growing number of rape incidents, Law Minister Anisul Huq on Thursday said the government is going to amend the Women and Children Repression Prevention Act 2000 to make the death sentence the highest punishment for rapists.
He said the draft of the proposed amendment to the act will be tabled at the next Cabinet meeting for approval.
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Rizvi claimed enforced disappearances, murders and rapes have turned into epidemics with the "backing of Awami League leaders since the party came to power illegally. Most perpetrators get the government’s patronage. Death row convicts are getting presidential clemency, let alone punishing rapists.”
He said ruling party offenders are encouraged to do whatever they want and indulge in any crimes since they are not brought to justice. “Rape, sexual harassment of women and children and other social crimes are increasing at a geometric rate due to the prevailing culture of impunity.”
The BNP leader also said: "Where the culture of impunity is the ideal of the government, there's a doubt in public mind about the trial of rapists even after the amendment to the law.”
Rizvi said BNP wants the government to ensure exemplary punishment for those who are involved in rape and repression of women. “Violence against women and children has become an epidemic because there's been no exemplary punishment of the offenders and enforcement of the existing law.”