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Saturday, July 25, 2015, Shraban 10, 1422 BS, Shawal 8, 1436 Hijr

Crime Follow-up
DU Baishakh sex offenders remain off the hook
Mamunur Rashid
Published :Saturday, 25 July, 2015,  Time : 12:00 AM  View Count : 26

The police have so far failed to arrest any of the offenders involved in the DU sexual assault incident during the Bengali New Year celebrations on April 14.
Several women who joined the Bengali New Year celebrations were physically harassed by a group of miscreants on the road between TSC of Dhaka University and Western entrance of Suhrawardy Udyan.
Not only the victims of the DU sexual assault incident, many women facing sexual harassment elsewhere prefer not to report to the law enforcement authorities, in most cases, for lack of support mechanism for the victims.
Law enforcement source said political and social influence of the offenders and a lengthy trial process may be the reasons for the non-reporting of the incidents, according to intelligence reports and rights activists.
A senior intelligence official, preferring anonymity, told the Daily Observer that they have recorded some 100 rape incidents over the last six months till June this year, but said the actual incidents are much higher than the recorded ones.
"In many cases, the victims don't disclose the incidents fearing social stigma. Even sometimes, the perpetrators record the rape scenes on their cellphones and threaten to spread the video through the internet," he said.
Even when a victim is brave enough to file a complaint with the police, the investigation and trial gets bogged for various reasons.
Sheikh Nazmul Alam, Deputy Commissioner of the Detective Branch of Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP), said the victims in most cases are found reluctant to cooperate with the investigators.
Sometimes, he said, the perpetrators go unpunished as the victims as well their family members refuse to testify in the court of law against the offenders, he said.
Advocate Fahmida Akter, a case manager of Bangladesh National Women Lawyers' Association (BNWLA), identified the lack of victim and witness protection law as the main reason behind the reluctance of the victims in cooperating with the investigators or making depositions before the court that results in lingering of the trial process.
"Sometimes, the public prosecutors do not produce witnesses for deposition before the court in due time," she said.
Prof Ayesha Mahmuda of Psychology Department of Dhaka University, said, "When a culprit goes unpunished, he thinks there's nothing wrong with it and gets encouraged for more sexual assaults."
"At times, we can see the culprits are somehow having a relation with political high-ups who try to protect the culprits," she said adding, "I think, these days religious practice has also lost influence causing the recurrence of rape incidents," Prof Aysha observed.
Easy access to drugs as well as porno contents can also be held responsible for building up sexually offensive mindset among youths, she added.
Nari Sanghati coordinator Shyamoly Shil said rape and sexual assaults had been there before, but nowadays these things are happening more and more and even in open places, which is a big concern.
According to Bangladesh Mahila Parishad, a total of 492 rapes took place in the country from January to June this year. Earlier in 2014, some 939 rape incidents were recorded across the country. According to Bangladesh National Women Lawyers Association (BNWLA), 23 rape victims died in 2013, while the figure was 20 in 2012 and 16 in 2011.

Editor : Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury
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