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Rapists on the prowl beyond the severe penalty

News Desk || shiningbd

Published: 10:07, 23 November 2020  
Rapists on the prowl beyond the severe penalty

Photo: Symbolic

Although the government has toughened the punishment for rape, the incidents of rape, gang rape and molestation are going on across the country.

Sexual harassment has turned out to be the most dangerous menace in the country in recent days due to various reasons, including a culture of impunity and moral degradation.

According to Ain o Salish Kendra (ASK), a rights body, 975 women were raped, including 208 subjected to gang rape, from January to September 30 this year.

Of them, 45 were killed after rape and 12 others killed themselves.

Besides, it said, 161 women were subjected to sexual harassment and 12 of them took their own lives during the period.

ASK also said three women and nine men were killed for protesting the incidents of sexual harassment.

Besides, 627 children were raped and 20 boys were molested while 21 women fell victims to acid attacks.

Death for rape

The much-talked-about 'Women and Children Repression Prevention (Amendment) Bill, 2020' was passed in Parliament on November 17  for ensuring death penalty as the highest punishment for the heinous crime of rape.

The bill was amended to incorporate the death penalty as the maximum punishment in rape cases.

In the proposed law, the punishment for rape is death penalty or life imprisonment. According to Article 9 (1) of the existing Women and Children Repression Prevention Act-2000, the punishment for rape is life imprisonment.

This was earlier promulgated through an ordinance on October 13 as Parliament was not in session, in the face of populist demands to ensure death penalty for rapists.

As per the legal obligation the ordinance was placed in Parliament for its approval by Law Minister Anisul Huq.

The ordinance was issued following waves of anti-rape demonstrations across Bangladesh after a serious of heinous rapes, most notably the gang rape of a housewife in Noakhali’s Begumganj upazila, which was videoed by the perpetrators and later the video turned up on the internet, which went viral.

The incident occurred at Joykrishnapur village under Eklashpur union of the upazila on September 2.

UN Concern

Expressing serious concerns over the increasing violence against women in Bangladesh, the United Nations has recommended an urgent reform of the criminal justice system in the country to extend support and protect victims and witnesses.

"United Nations (UN) expresses serious concerns over the increasing violence against women in Bangladesh. These are heinous crimes and grave violations of human rights. One rape is one too many," said the UN in a statement on October 7.