After around 10 days of the rape incident at MC College campus, another horrific incident of sexual violence against a woman in Noakhali’s Begumanj sparked outcry across the country.
A housewife in Noakhali's Begumganj upazila was allegedly molested by some local miscreants at Ward No. 9 of Eklashpur Union of the upazila last month but the incident came to light after a video of the barbaric incident has gone viral on the internet.
The miscreants tortured the housewife after undressing her and filmed the video of the incident in Begumganj upazila, sending a shock wave throughout the country.
The victim filed two cases, 33 days after the incident accusing nine people on Sunday.
One case was filed under the Women and Children Repression Prevention Act another under the Pornography Control Act.
Demonstrations at Shahbagh
People blocked Shahbagh intersection in the capital on Monday, protesting the incident and demanding the resignation of the home minister for his ‘failure’ to stop the incidents of rape and oppression against women across the country.
Around 300 protesters took positions at Shahbagh intersection carrying posters in the morning.
They blocked the road around 11am and chanted various slogans against growing violence against women.
A group of protesters, mostly left-leaning activists, started demonstrations in front of the National Museum under the banner that reads "Bondi Somoyer Chitkar" around 11:15am.
Later, they moved to Shahbagh intersection, where they were staging a sit-in until filing of this report.
Bangladesh Chhatra Odhikar Parishad held a protest rally from Shabagh to Katabon and blamed the government for the rise in rape incidents across the country.
Former general secretary of Chhatra Union Liton Nandi said, “Rape incidents are happening one after another across the country. The incidents of violence against women at MC College in Sylhet and in Noakhali’s Begumganj are all horrified ones.”
“The recurrence of such incidents is seen because of impunity culture in the country.”
The protesters alleged that ruling party men are mostly involved in most of the cases -- from Sylhet's MC College to Noakhali's Begumganj.
Meanwhile, Chhatra Dal activists and students hailing from Noakhali’s Subarnachar area and studying in Dhaka University (DU) also demonstrated under separate banners at Shahbagh and on the DU campus.
Arrest of accused
Members of Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) arrested two more accused from Dhaka and Narayanganj in connection with the torturing of the housewife.
The arrestees are Delwar Hossain, 26, chief of local Delwar Bahibi and Md Nur Hossain alias Badal, 20, key accused in the cases, said a press release of Rapid Action Battalion (Rab).
A special team of Rab-11 conducted a drive in Shimrail area on Dhaka-Chattogram highway in Siddhirganj around 2:30 am and arrested Delwar along with a pistol, two bullets and a magazine.
Acting on Delwar’s statement, they arrested key accused Nur from the city's Kamrangirchar area around 5:30 am.
Police arrested another accused, Rahim, on Sunday.
After tying up her husband at her father’s house in the upazila, the accused stripped the housewife naked and beat her though she cried seeking mercy.
They reportedly demanded money and offered her to develop an illicit relationship with them. They threatened to spread the video on social media.
The video was uploaded on social media platform Facebook after 3 days as the victim did not accept their proposal.
Delwar Bahini is well known in Begumganj upazila for extortion, drug dealing and other terrorist activities and its leader Delwar is an accused in two murder cases.
The video of the incident came to the notice of District Superintendent of Police (SP) Mohammad Alamgir Hossain and he directed officer-in-charge (OC) of Begumganj Model Police Station Harun Aur Rashid Chowdhury to take action in this regard.
There have been several rape incidents, including the one at MC College in Sylhet that have shocked the country in recent weeks.
A group of youths tied up a man and raped his 19-year-old wife at the MC College dormitory on September 25.
After police rescued the couple, the victim’s husband filed a case with Shahporan Police Station in Sylhet against nine people mentioning the names of six.
Eight of the accused in the case are currently in police custody and all of them confessed to their crimes.
The gang rape of an indigenous girl after robbery in a house in Balpaiya Adam area of Khagrachhari Sadar Upazila on September 27 also sparked protests.
Minister Quader Seeks Social Resistance
Road, Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader on Monday called upon all to forge a united resistance against the incidents of rape and violence against women.
The minister came up with the call at a press conference at his ministry.
Obaidul Quader said there have been reports of rape and violence against women in different parts of the country in recent times. “Rape is undoubtedly a heinous crime and a social disorder. Those who’re involved in such evil deeds are guilty of perverted taste,” he said.
The government is bringing those involved in such crimes to justice and they are being punished. “Yet, this crime is happening at some places. Recently, incidents like rape have grown in neighbouring countries, too.”
Obaidul Quader, also the general secretary of Awami League, said there is no need to politicise all issues. “To prevent such crimes, it’s necessary to build a social resistance.”
The minister urged people to cooperate with the government in bringing criminals under the ambit of law without pampering them.
Sought comments that the names of Awami League leaders and activists, including that of Bangladesh Chhatra League, are coming up in incidents like rape and violence against women, the minister said, “We can’t avoid the responsibility for this. How’ll the government avoid liability when it’s there in power?”
The minister, however, said the government is taking action against those involved in such incidents. “Even if they belong to our party identity, they must be brought to justice. It’s not just there in words, it’s being done in reality,” he added.
Also read: Noakhali housewife molested, one held