No let-up in violence against women in Bangladesh in sight

Delay in justice delivery, anti-woman mindset blamed

Tapos Kanti Das | Published: 00:17, Mar 08,2019 | Updated: 23:53, Mar 08,2019


‘We have nowhere to seek justice except from Allah,’ said in despair Md Nazmul Hossain, elder brother of Comilla Victoria College student Shohagi Jahan Tonu who was raped and murdered inside the protected Mainamati Cantonment in Cumilla three years ago.
Nazmul declined to say anything about her dead sister.
After the cold blooded murder on March 20, 2016, the police interrogated over 200 people, including military personnel.
The police says that the probes could not be completed until now.
The police arrested not a single suspect until now.
Investigation officer, assistant superintendent of police Jalal Uddin of the Criminal Investigation Department, said that the probes would be completed ‘as soon as possible’ as he did in the last year.
He said that the CID was DNA profiling and matching to identify perpetrators.
Similar delays occur in most of the cases involving raping, murder of women and other crimes and violence against women.
If the perpetrators are powerful the police even refuse to record cases against them.
There is no respite in violent crimes against women due to the society’s attitude towards women and inordinate delays in getting justice, said rights groups.
Denying justice to women who fall victims of violence is not uncommon, they said.
With violence against women getting more cruel, even four or five-year old girls were brutally murdered after raping, they said .
In January at least 74 incidents of raping women were reported and 10 of the victims were murdered in cold blood and at least two victims of raping committed suicide, Ain o Salish Kendra data shows.
Besides, 14 women were sexually harassed and one of them committed suicide while 17 women who faced domestic violence were killed and seven others were tortured to death for dowry.
ASK data show that 765 women were raped in 2018, 864 in 2017, 679 in 2016, 784 in 2015 and 624 were raped in 2014.
Besides, 70 rape related deaths were reported in 2018, 58 in 2017, 45 in 2016, 62 in 2015 and 81 rape related deaths were reported in 2014, according to the ASK data prepared based on reports published on different dailies.
At least 104 women became victims of dowry related violence in 2018, 148 in 2017, 109 in 2016, 101 in 2015 and 122 in 2014, the data said, adding that reports of 91 dowry related deaths were reported in the previous year, 155 in 2017, 130 in 2016, 197 in 2015 and 174 dowry related deaths were reported in 2014.
Bangladesh Mohila Parishad data shows that 697 women were raped in 2018, 969 in 2017, 840 in 2016, 808 in 2015 and 666 were raped in 2014 and 63 were killed after rape in 2018, 58 in 2017, 44 in 2016, 85 in 2015 and 99 were killed after rape in 2014.
It shows that 102 women were murdered for dowry in 2018, 181 in 2017, 173 in 2016, 202 in 2015 and 236 women were killed for dowry in 2014.
Besides, the Bangladesh Police data posted on its website says that 16,253 cases were lodged across the country for women and child repression in 2018, 17,073 in 2017, 18,446 in 2016, 21,210 in 2015 and 21,291 cases were lodged for women and child repression in 2014.
The number of actual number of incidents of violence against women would be much higher as only a fraction of the victims seek legal action and a small number of the incidents are reported by newspapers, said Bangladesh Mohila Parishad president Ayesha Khanom.
Mindset towards women should change, justice should be provided speedily and the issue of violence against women should be taught to students of schools, colleges and universities, she said.
Even today, a rape victim has to prove that she was raped but the burden should be upon the accused to prove that he did not commit the grave crime of raping, she said.
ASK executive director Sheepa Hafiza said that severity of violence against women was increasing and that there was no respite in violent crimes against women and girls as the state virtually takes no action against these unpardonable crimes.
Besides, she said, violence against women continued as the perpetrators, especially the influential ones, are seldom punished.
‘The situation has improved. Cases related to violence against women are investigated with due importance and the police department tries to bring the culprits to book within the quickest possible time’ police headquarters’ assistant inspector general (media) Md Sohel Rana told New Age.

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