Anti-rape protesters stressed the importance of family values, reform in education system and speedy government action to prevent violence against women as death penalty alone is not sufficient to stop rape.
Bangladesh Against Rape and Impunity, a newly formed platform, said India enforced death plenty against rape, but it could not stop rapes there. A woman is raped every 16 minutes in India.
This is why we should focus on our family values and education system, said protesters at the rally organised by the platform.
People from of all walks of life gathered in front of the National Museum and Parliament in the capital on Saturday to protest against rape.
Moreover, different political, student rights bodies and socio-cultural organisations staged anti-rape demonstrations and rallies across the country.
Protesters at these rallies said they would announce stricter programmes like strikes if the government fails to act.
They blamed the government's inaction, the culture of impunity, involvement of activists of the ruling Awami League and its front organisations in rapes and violence against women.
Demanding speedy trial of rape cases, protesters chanted various slogans and demands, including the resignation of the Home Affairs Minister Asaduzzaman Khan "for his failure" to prevent rapes in the country.
Shahbagh became the hub for anti-rape songs, poetry recitations, street plays, and slogans. Protesters inscribed slogans on their faces, their sarees and clothes and bodies. Besides, people from Dhaka and different districts also joined the protest.
Atiqul Islam, who came to join the protest from Narsingdi district said, "A person named Babul Mia and a local Awami League leader raped my niece. Police did not arrest the accused."
He further said, "I appealed to the Home Minister for justice and sent letters to various departments in the government, but I still have not received justice."
Azizur Rahman, honorary professor at Department of Psychology of Dhaka University, said, "The movement against rape has to continue. But you have to be careful that third parties do not infiltrate the movement and impede its success."
Meanwhile, Muktijoddha Moncho staged a protest by blocking the Shahbagh intersection and presented a four-point list of demands, including the arrest of former DUCSU Vice President VP Nurul Haque in a rape case.
Police see 'vested group' in anti-rape movements
Meanwhile, police said a "vested group" is trying to manipulate the on-going anti-rape movement to further their ill interests.
In a press release on Saturday, the police said they have been working sincerely to dispense justice in all the cases of violence against women, but a vested group is aiming to manipulate the movements.
In the press release, police requested all concerned to avoid anti-state activities in the name of anti-rape movements.
The police's observations came amidst countrywide protests against rapes, repressions and sexual assaults on women. Enraged people, civil society groups and political parties are blaming police inaction for years for the deteriorating situation.
Some protestors have also been asking the government to relinquish power since they have failed to prevent rapes, and incumbent party members are accused in many of the cases.
Police said they are demonstrating professionalism and sincerity to prevent incidents of rape and prosecute the accused, while widespread resentment is boiling over amongst youths and social media after such incidents.
Police are prioritizing all rape allegations. The investigation reports will be submitted to the courts at the earliest, the press release added.
Protests across the country erupted after several recent incidents of rape, including the violation of a housewife in Sylhet MC College and the assault of a woman in Noakhali last month.
In the latter episode on September 2, some local youths and political leaders tortured and assaulted a woman in Noakhali's Begumganj after stripping her naked.
They filmed the incident on their mobile phones and released the video on social media on October 4. After the video clip went viral on the internet, people burst out in protests across the country.