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Why violence against women is on the rise?

It is a great challenge for the Sheikh Hasina government to fight this ever increasing crime against women
ABDUL GAFFAR CHOUDHURY
Why violence against women is on the rise?

My recent visit to Bangladesh was not a happy one. When I reached Dhaka the country was full of anger and shock for the merciless killing of Nusrat Rafi, a pretty young girl of Sonagazi Madrassa (Feni).

Another unbearable tragedy was the death of Zayan, the minor grandson of Sheikh Fazlul Karim Selim in the Sri Lankan disaster. The child's father was injured seriously and is still under life-saving treatment. These shocking incidents clouded my Dhaka visit so much that I could not enjoy it. The deaths of Nusrat and Zayan had occupied my mind while staying in Dhaka and has continued to linger in my mind even after I have come back to London. I left the country with a heavy heart and profound sorrow.
Last year when I visited Bangladesh, Dhaka was in turmoil for the road safety movement. There were also two tragic killings by two reckless bus drivers, which has now become an everyday happening. The teenagers and the children of the city came out in the street in thousands to protest against this and made it a historic event in Bangladesh. In spite of these gloomy situations I also observed the emergence of a new Bangladesh in my last two visits. People looked more prosperous, Dhaka city was cleaner and the traffic situation had improved a little. Last year I saw the country was preparing for a general election. Dhaka was full of political activities and gossips.

This year I saw that people were calm, they has accepted the election result calmly and were satisfied with the government's achievement. People expect this time that Hasina government will strike against corruption and social crimes. The Nusrat killing has aroused the whole country against the heinous crimes against women. These crimes are increasing rapidly and has become a big issue for government to tackle. Not only in Bangladesh but in other countries of South Asia, including India, crime against women have increased manifold. India had to introduce death penalty for the criminals to prevent these crimes.

In Bangladesh people are religious and there is a strong Islamic movement under the banner of Tabligh and Hefazat-e-Islam. With the rapid spread of Madrassa education how the number of sexual assault and abuse of women are increasing so much is a puzzle to me. Especially the way a madrassa student Nusrat after being sexually assaulted by the Principal of that madrassa was burnt alive in his order by some madrassa students is a dangerous sign of the declining moral values in the entire society.

Now it is a great challenge for Hasina government to fight this ever increasing crime against women. For the last few months I read the Dhaka dailies with utmost attention and found out that the majority victims of sexual assaults are mainly female students from madrassa and the attackers are in most cases teachers or students of madrassa. In Nusrat's case the perpetrators were a teacher and some students of madrassa. Not only that a local Awami league leader was accused of helping them and the main accused, the principal of the madrassa was himself a Jamaat leader. He is a known criminal and how he got his present job is not a mystery.

It was alleged that Nusrat, the unfortunate girl was a victim of coordinated conspiracy by a local leader of the party in power and also a local police officer. Behind the scene a network of financial corruption was also discovered. I also found women are being raped by criminals who are protected by some local people who are connected by power and money. The police cannot touch them and law cannot punish them. So long this situation remains in the country, the aggression against women and minority communities will not be stopped and the criminals will go unpunished.

After the independence female education is widespread now. Never before in the history of Bangladesh so many women got the opportunity of coming out of home freely and get education. 60 years ago when I was a young man, I saw one junior madrassa and one high school in my village. There was no opportunity or arrangement for women's education. For the girls of rich family there was private teaching. Today that village has one girl's madrassa and one girl's college. The girl's madrassa has 400 students. They come and go to the school with simple hijab not in burkhas.

In another field thousands of women are coming out of their home every day. They work in the garments factories in different places of the country. The number of girl's madrassa has exceeded the number of English-based girl's school long ago.

Now with the changed situation society has to accept the freedom of women, but could not guarantee their safety and security. This is especially true for madrassas dominated by Jamaat. Their many teachers were ex-cadres of Jamaat involved in political violence and killing and raping women like the principal of Sonagazi madrassa. This is may be a possible cause for the rise in the number of raping and gang raping of female madrassa students. There should be strong screening in selecting these teachers and people like the principal of Sonagazi madrassa should be expelled from teaching. Government needs to take control and initiative in this case. After the murder of Nusrat I have read another 5 news of rapes and gang rapes and found out that all the victims were madrassa students while the abusers were madrassa teachers and students. Almost everywhere in school, college and home women are unprotected and helpless. A combination of political, religious and social power are found to be the protector of this heinous social crimes.

Like corruption to prevent this hateful crimes a social mobilisation against this is necessary. Hasina government should mobilise this social power. Only law cannot free society from this evil. In one hand government should declare war against these criminals like their war against terrorism, and on the other the protectors of these heinous crimes should be tried and punished effectively.

They are now escaping punishment with their social and political powers. Government should be merciless against them. I am against death penalty but in the case of rape and abuse of women— the greatest crime against humanity, I definitely support penalty of death.  

London, Thursday 02 May, 2019

SHK

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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