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Sunday, January 04, 2015, Poush 21, 1421, Robiul Awal 12, 1436 Hijr

No let-up in violence against women
Published : Sunday, 4 January, 2015,  Time : 12:00 AM,  View Count : 16

Banani Mallick
The incident of burning a mother and her three daughters alive at Mirzapur in Tangial on October 8 last year was one of dreadful incidents of violence and repression against women.
The deceased are Hasna Begum, 35, wife of Malaysia expatriate Mozibor Rahman of Dakkhin Sohagpara village under Gorai union and their three daughters Monira Akter, 14, Moli Akter, 6, and Meem Akter, 4.
Saleh Mohammed Tanvir, Superintendent of Police in Tangail informed this correspondent that Zahangir Hossain, 25, son of Bahar Uddin of the same village, also a Singapore expat, was engaged to Monira three years ago.
But later (last year) when Monira refused to marry him , angry Zahangir, along with his accomplices, bought two cans of petrol from a nearby refueling station and set fire to the one-storey house of Monira around 2:00am, and the family died instantly inside the house.
Later police launched drives to arrest Zahangir and other culprits but failed to haul them up.
This is not a single incident, like Monira everyday thousands of girls and women are becoming the victims of violence.
In the beginning of the New Year, the Daily Observer has talked to the representatives of civil society and human rights activists, to know their reactions about the role of government relating to security of women last year.
They said that government's law enforcement agencies have failed to prevent violence against women despite the existing laws such as Women and Children Repression Prevention Act 2002 (amended 2003), Domestic  Violence (Prevention and Protection) Act 2010, Acid Control Act and others.
Maleka Banu, General Secretary of Bangladesh Mahila Parishad (BMP), expressing her views on women's status in the last year, she noted that the magnitude of violence against women was high despite a number of significant number of laws.
When asked what steps by government could prevent such violence against women, she suggested, the criminals must be brought to justice and should be given exemplary punishment for committing any form of crimes against women.
 "Last year, we experienced that women had been raped even by police when they asked for justice," she noted.
According to a report of the Bangladesh Mahila Parishad (BMP), more than 4,500 women and children were subjected to murder, rape, acid attack, physical torture, suicide and other forms of violence across the country.
The data collected from reports of 13 Bangla and English national newspapers between January and December showed that 939 women were raped last year. Of them, 174 were gang-raped and 99 were killed after rape.
Compared with violence against women in 2013, the incidence of rape and suicide went down a little but the cases of murder, physical torture and mysterious death rose, the report says.
In 2013, out of 975 rape cases, 185 were gang-rapes and 94 of the victims were killed after rape.
According to the BMP, 341 women committed suicide in 2014 compared with 386 in 2013.
Last year, 898 women and children were killed, 258 suffered physical torture, and 183 died mysteriously, while 829 were killed, 239 were tortured and 172 died mysteriously in 2013.
The number of women subjected to torture and death because of dowry was 431 and 236 respectively in 2014. In 2013 the figures were 439 and 245 respectively.
The statement also showed that 118 women and children were abducted last year, compared with 131 in 2013.
The incidents of child marriage saw an increase from 64 in 2013 to 93 in 2014.
Reports of police torture also went up with 53 incidents in 2014 compared with 37 in 2013.
Out of the 55 women and children who faced acid attacks last year, four died.
The BMP, in a news release, particularly cited 277 incidents of minority repression including arson and loot.
Advocate Elina Khan, Executive Director of the Bangladesh Society for the Enforcement of Human Rights, said that the government law enforcement agencies have totally failed to ensure security for women in (domestic and out of the house).
"Police failed to submit their final report and charge sheet relating to rape and other incidents of violence on women in the last year."
Referring to the recent incident of death of Jihad, a four-year-old boy on December 27, she said that this incident was enough to prove government's failure to provide security to the mass people of the country.
"Right now, all criminals after committing a crime, can escape the laws due to influence of the politicians, police and rich people. They can buy them," she noted.
However, when asked to make a comment on the overall condition of women last year, Tariq-ul-Islam, Secretary of the Ministry of Women and Child Affairs, declined.

Editor : Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury
Published by the Editor on behalf of the Observer Ltd. from Globe Printers, 24/A, New Eskaton Road, Ramna, Dhaka. Editorial, News and Commercial Offices : Aziz Bhaban (2nd floor), 93, Motijheel C/A, Dhaka-1000. Phone :9586651-58. Fax: 9586659-60, Advertisemnet: 9513663, E-mail: [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]