Justice remains elusive
Some time back, in the face of senseless destruction of places of worship, scholars and leaders of different faiths sat at one stage to plead to the faithful.
Their views were of peaceful coexistence eschewed by all faiths known to man, notwithstanding the gruesome acts in the name of religion centuries ago.
Most of these occurred out of a lack of knowledge and appreciation of what the preachings were, and the messages they were trying to communicate.
What they all hold in common is a disciplined form of life that, unfortunately, has been lost to a great extent in translation.
The basic good and bad have lost out in the rat race of worldly pleasure with the race for wealth taking centre stage. The inability to resist the beckoning of the worldly has led to corruption seeping into all religions.
The hitherto peaceful Buddhists have resorted to assisting the atrocities on the Rohingyas, and Islamic extremism is today plaguing the world, with disastrous consequences on the faithful.
Combined, these have led to a breakdown in social systems that have defied psychologists and psychiatrists alike. Sociologists have been left tearing their hair, as the menaces of drug and rape continue unbridled.
The carrot and stick approach has been applied without much success. Sex education is still a bit of a taboo, especially in religious schools and public schools -- they haven’t driven the agenda hard enough.
Rape is often difficult to prove, and depends on the version provided by the victim, provided he or she is alive. In nine cases out of 10, these victims can be incoherent, given the trauma they go through.
Forensic evidence backed by DNA and thumbprint identification do help, but their availability all over the country is sparse. The most recent case of a Dhaka University student has spread fear and consternation among girl students.
Unless the place of occurrence is covered through CCTV identification of the perpetrator, victims will have to depend on police illustrators in coming up with a recognizable face.
Given the outrage, that too because of Dhaka being a city, progress, however slow, will likely be made. Unfortunately, in the remote areas, that becomes more difficult unless the police really go out of their way.
Too many recent incidents of misuse of both girls and boys, especially in madrasas, now demand that the Islamic religious community leaders come out, not just in condemnation, but in ostracizing the perpetrators.
More diligence is required, and back-checks need to be done in selecting these teachers, and proper facilities should be in place to protect and counsel the girls and boys studying in schools and madrasas.
The explosion of the “MeToo” movement has to gain a foothold in Bangladesh, and the example of the anti-paedophile stance of the Roman Catholic Church is one to emulate. Then again, one can question whether the other forms of the church are doing as much.
When it comes to the “stick,” a lengthy court process that seeks to ensure justice is trying people’s patience. With cases being filed a dime and dozen, the chief justice has promised to work towards a rapid resolution of backlog cases.
In the meantime, the quick justice tribunals need to be further beefed up, and deliver accordingly.
Mahmudur Rahman is a writer, columnist, broadcaster, and communications specialist.