- Protesters have declared a long march towards Noakhali on October 16-17
- Law Minister will propose an amendment at the cabinet meeting on October 12
- A leftist student organization - Bangladesh Against Rape - called for a grand rally on October 9
- A nine-point demand was raised at the anti-rape grand rally
- Local and international human rights groups condemned the recent incidents.
- The maximum punishment for committing rape is life term imprisonment
- Women and Children Repression Prevention Tribunals have 180 days to dispose a case
- Lack of proper medical tests, fear of ignominy and influential interference delay justice
- 4,541 rape cases have been reported in the past 16 years
- Around 889 women have been raped and 192 others faced sexual harassment in Bangladesh between January-August' 2020
- Nine victims committed suicide in 2020 (till August)
Thousands of people from different walks of life attended anti-rape rallies held in the capital city of Dhaka on Friday. They protested against rape and the oppression of women across the country, as well as the impunity of accused rapists.
Bangladesh Against Rape, a platform of a leftist student organisation, called for a "grand rally." It accused the ruling party of "inaction" in stopping rape and the oppression of women.
In the capital's Shahbagh, the rally started at 4.15pm and protesters holding placards with slogans participated. Shahbagh became the location of: anti-rape songs, poetry recitations, street plays, and slogans. They also protested by writing slogans on their faces and bodies. Besides people from Dhaka, people from different districts also joined the rally.
Meanwhile, the Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) central committee also held a procession against rape at Raju Sculpture Chattar, on the Dhaka University premises, and claimed that they will expel rapists from the country if law enforcement does not do so.
"We can arrest them within five minutes if law enforcement allows us," a leader said.
BCL president Al Nahian Khan Joy also criticised those who blame solely the ruling party student organisation.
Earlier in the morning on Friday, hundreds of protesters, including Jatiyatabadi Mohila Dal, took to the street in front of the National Press Club and demanded the highest punishment of the death penalty for rapists.
Bangladesh Nationalist Party secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said the country has turned into a completely uncivilised society.
"Horrific incidents, one after another, are taking place in the country. There is no morality, no rule of law and no justice in the society. Anarchy has been created all over the country. And, the Awami League government is responsible for this," he said.
Further, some Islamic organisations held a rally in front of the Baitul Mukarram National Mosque on Friday. The protesters held banners and placards demanding that the genitals of rapists be cut off and claimed "the existing law is not capable enough of punishing rapists."
Meanwhile, the female student of Dhaka University, who filed a rape case against six people including Nurul Haque Nur, vice president of Dhaka University Central Students' Union (Ducsu), has vowed to continue her hunger strike until the accused are arrested. She started the hunger strike on Thursday.
"I am on a hunger strike to get justice. Students from different departments of my university have expressed solidarity with me. I will not step back until the criminals are punished," she told The Business Standard on Friday.
She filed a rape case on 20 September at Lalbagh Police Station accusing Hassan Al Mamun, suspended convener of Bangladesh Sadharan Chhatra Odhikar Sangrakkhan Parishad, as the main accused. Nur was mentioned as an accomplice.
On September 21, she filed another case against the six with Kotwali Police Station on allegation of kidnapping, raping and abetting rape under the Digital Security Act and Women and Children Repression Act.
Noakhali case hand over to PBI
The investigation of two separate cases, filed by the victim in Noakhali's Begumganj, has been handed over to the Police Bureau of Investigation (PBI).
The female victim filed both cases under the Women and Children Repression Prevention Act and Pornography Control Act on 4 October at Begumganj Police Station.
Superintendent of Police of Noakhali Md Alamgir Hossain said they handed over the investigation to PBI according to Police Headquarters instructions.
Meanwhile, two arrestees – Moazzem Hossain Sohagh, Ekhlaspur union Parishad member and Abdur Rahim – gave confessional statements before the court on Thursday. Senior Judicial Magistrate Mashfiqul Haque recorded the statement under section 164 of Code of Criminal Procedure.
Since 4 October, 11 persons from different parts of the country have been arrested for crimes including attempted rape, torture and recording a video of a victim being stripped of her clothes. Among them, eight people have been put on remand.