On April 14, it’s the first day of Bengali new year in Bangladesh when hundreds of thousands of people celebrate the day with cultural festivity across the country. The largest congregations take place at Shahbagh and Dhaka University campus in the heart of the capital.
This year’s celebrations were marred by the incidents of sexual harassment of at least 20 women by five-six gangs of unruly youths each having 20-30 members — all took place between 5pm and 8pm that day. In some of the incidents that even remain unnoticed by media, the dress of three-four women were were taken off in public.
According to witnesses, the other gang members were guarding the attackers creating circles and honking vuvuzelas so that no one can hear the victims screaming! The rapists also took photos and filmed the incidents.
Who knows what drugs they were on at that time?
In the whole campus, only three students of a leftist party, Bangladesh Students’ Union, came forward and were able to save two or three women from the rapists.
But it is the on-duty police members who showed utter negligence to protect the women. They even set free some attackers caught red-handed by the rescuers. And when the reporters approached police and asked them about negligence, they said they only noticed one such incident!
On this day, women of different ages wear saree while men are dressed with panjabi. They get colourful and remain in joyous mood.
Many men across the country nowadays go out or while staying outside spend much time to watch women — their dress and body, lifestyle. And when possible, they harass women by hurling abuse or touching the bodies or abduct them for rape.
Recently, the incidents of sexual harassment, violence against women and rape — from as little as two-year-old to elderly — have been rising alarmingly.
The country is going through a hard time at least since 2013 when radical Islamists were up-vocal to force women wearing burqa to protect themselves from being raped. However, it’s not proved that burqa or hijab can save them.
Much earlier, a banned Islamist militant group named Huji bombed the new year celebrations in 2001 terming it anti-Islamic. Ten people were killed and around 50 others injured in that planned attack.
Men cannot justify attacks on women by scandalising them. Rather they should blame themselves for not having the ability to control lust.
For the last two days, it’s condemnation that floods the social media websites including Facebook, Twitter and blogs. They’ve been carrying out processions, rallies and forming human chains to demand the arrest of the culprits.
None of the victims has spoken to the media or filed any complaint with the police.
Meanwhile, Facebook pages like WeMen For WoMen, groups and pro-women individuals are working relentlessly to aware more men to come forward and act humanly. We shall overcome, someday!