The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Monday demanded that all those involved in sexual assaults on women during Pahela Baishakh celebrations on the Dhaka University campus be brought to justice immediately.
“The Commission clearly states that the offenders whoever they are must be identified and be brought to justice. No delay is tolerable in this regard,” NHRC chairman Prof Dr Mizanur Rahman told a press briefing at his office in the morning.The sexual harassment of women took place at April 14 Bangla New Year’s Day celebrations near the Dhaka University Tacher-students’ Centre. Criticising the role of law enforcers, he said police played an as usual role during the incidents of sexual assaults on women.
Quoting various sources, Dr Mizan said: “Some students handed over two suspects to police, but they managed to escape due to negligence of the police. This is frustrating …this is simply negligence of duty.”
Identifying fanaticism and patriarchal system behind the incidents of sexual assaults on women, he said militant and fanatic political forces want to take various advantages though misinterpretation of religions.
“The forces can’t tolerate women’s presence and participation in public gatherings. They constantly remain in fear as women of Bangladesh are now a factor of the country’s advancement…using religion they’re trying to make popular explanations that Pahela Baishakh celebration is contrary to the spirit of Islam,” the NHRC chairman said.
He said if Nowruz (Iranian New Year) celebration is not contrary to the spirit of Islam, why Pahela Baishakh celebration could be contrary to Islam in Bangladesh.
“Baishakh celebration is a festival of Bengal related to history, agriculture and farmers. It was also celebrated 350 years ago during Sultani regime. So, did the rulers of Sultani regime separate from Islam?” he questioned.
Dr Mizan urged the Dhaka University authorities to form an independent probe body to investigate the incidents of sexual assaults on women as the incidents took place on the university campus, and make the probe report public to unveil the facts.
He said there will not be a solution to such incidents by only suspending the offenders and making the police personnel closed, but they must be punished through trial.
NHRC full-time member Kazi Reazul Hoque and its honorary member Prof Mahfuza Khanom were present at the press briefing. – UNB