Bangladesh protest seeks justice for Christian rape victims

Bangladesh protest seeks justice for Christian rape victims

Two teenage girls from the indigenous Garo Catholic community were gang-raped on Dec. 28

Stephan Uttom Rozario Stephen Uttom, Dhaka  Published: January 04, 2022 10:40 AM GMT
Bangladesh protest seeks justice for Christian rape victims
A protest rally is held demanding justice for the Garo Catholic victims of a gang rape in Bangladesh’s Mymensingh district on Jan. 3. (Photo supplied)

Bangladesh’s Garo Catholics have demanded the arrest and trial of suspects involved in the gang rape of two teenage girls from the indigenous community just two days after Christmas.

The aggrieved community members formed a human chain in the Haluaghat area of Mymensingh district on Jan. 3, threatening to intensify protests if authorities failed to take immediate action.

The Garo Catholic girls were reportedly raped by a group of around 10 men while they were on their way home from a family wedding in the early hours of Dec. 28. The incident took place in the Gazirvita area of Mymensingh district.

“We are helpless now. The administration is just giving promises but even after seven days nobody has been arrested,” said the father of one of the victims.

He said his daughter wanted to commit suicide out of shame. “We want maximum punishment for the perpetrators so that such incidents do not happen again in the future,” he added in a choked voice.

Imran Al Hossain, the officer in charge of Haluaghat Police Station, said the father of one victim had filed a case against 10 suspects aged between 20 and 22.

The reason for such crimes being committed against the indigenous people is that they are thought to be poor and weak

“The accused fled immediately after the incident. An operation is underway to arrest them. There are various cases against the accused and the police are making maximum efforts to arrest them,” Hossain told UCA News.

Apurba Mrong, secretary of the Justice and Peace Commission of Mymensingh Diocese, blamed the crime on lack of religious values, moral education and sense of justice.

“The culture of impunity makes this kind of heinous crime possible. The reason for such crimes being committed against the indigenous people is that they are thought to be poor and weak,” Mrong told UCA News while demanding stringent punishment for the perpetrators of the crime.

The Justice and Peace Commission was providing all assistance to the victims’ families, he added.

According to data collected by the Dhaka-based Ain O Salish Kendra (Law and Arbitration Center), Bangladesh reported 1,627 rape crimes in 2020. It reported that 53 victims were murdered while 14 died by suicide afterward. In 2019 and 2018, the number of reported rapes in the country were 1,413 and 732 respectively.

The organization further reported 1,718 cases of child abuse during 2020. Of these, 1,018 children were sexually abused while 279 were victims of sexual advances and harassment.

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