Friday, October 30, 2020 | ePaper

Anti-rape long march attacked in Feni: 21 injured

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Staff Reporter :
A long march by anti-rape protesters from Dhaka to Noakhali came under attack in Feni earlier on Saturday.
The protesters claimed that the attack was carried out by ruling party backed student and youth wings as well as the local law enforcement agencies.
They also claimed at least 21 protesters had been injured and of them three protesters condition serious and they were moved to Dhaka for better treatment. Seriously injured are Rafin, Dipa and Ema.
The protesters started the long march on Friday to realise their nine-point demand amid growing incidents of rape, sexual harassment and violence against women across the country in recent times.
Ruling party wings attacked the march in Feni Shaheed Minar area around 11:30am on Saturday, Rakibul Rony, General Secretary of Chhatra Union, Jahangirnagar University chapter, told The New Nation.
He alleged that police first attacked them when some of the protesters were painting on the wall in the area.
"When we tried to move towards our bus, some Chhatra League and Jubo League workers attacked us."
"They ransacked our bus," he said, adding that some of the protesters and a driver were injured in the attack.
"We were supposed to hold a rally in Dagonbhuiyan upazila. I got information that Jubo League and Chhatra League activists had taken position there. So, we cancelled the rally," he alleged.
"Our rally at Chowmohoni is still uncertain but we will hold a rally in Maizdi," Hriddho said.
Additional Superintendent of Police in Feni, Mainul Islam, said that it was "not an attack".  A just scuffle broke out there after the rally, he claimed.
"There were photos of the local lawmaker. There derogatory comments were made against him. In protest, his followers brought out a procession. Activists from the long march chased followers of the lawmaker and a scuffle ensued," he said.
Around 450 protesters, including left-leaning parties, socio-cultural ogranisations, students, youths and rights activists, started the long march under the banner of "Bangladesh against Rape and Impunity" to press home their nine-point demand, from the capital's Shahbagh area around 10:30am on Friday.
The nine-point demands are:
1. Exemplary punishment for those involved with rapes and violence against women across Bangladesh. The home minister must resign for his "failure" to stop rape and tortures against women.
2. Sexual and social violence against women of ethnic minorities in the hilly areas and other parts of the country by regardless of identity must be arrested.
3. All public and private offices, and educational institutions must form anti-sexual harassment cells in line with the High Court directives. The government must implement the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) fully. It must also abolish laws and practices that help grow gender-based inequality.
4. Hate speech against women must be declared as a punishable offence. Women cannot be presented as a product in literature, drama, cinema, and advertisements. BTCL must play an effective role in controlling pornography. The government will have to sponsor healthy cultural practices.
5. Mental harassment of rape victims during investigations must be stopped. Their legal and social security must be ensured.
6. Crime and gender experts must be included in Women and Children Repression Prevention Tribunals. More tribunals must be set up for quick disposal of cases.
7. DNA evidence related law must be followed in settling rape cases, and the 1872-155(4) provision of the Witness Act must be abolished.    
8. Discriminatory or hateful texts, photos, or words to women in the curriculum must be avoided.     
9. Any attempt to hush up rape incidents by rural arbitration must be treated as a punishable offense.

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