Protests against the growing incidents of rape, sexual harassment and violence against women continued for the fifth consecutive day on Friday at Shahbagh in the capital.
The protesters included general people and leaders and activists from different political organisations. They gathered at the Shahbagh intersection at 3:30pm and started demonstrations shouting slogans “hang the rapists”, “break silence, break the chain”, “boycott the rapists”, witnesses said.
Human rights organisation Ain-o-Salish Kendra (ASK) says between January and September this year, nearly 1,000 rape cases were reported, including 208 gang rapes.
The recent gang rape incident at Sylhet MC College and housewife molestation in Begumganj of Noakhali fueled the protests. Amid the protests, there was report of a housewife being gang raped in Chattogram on Friday.
The demonstrators are demanding exemplary punishment and speedy trial of the rapists. They carried placards with writings – “no mercy to rapist”, “please tell me, am I next?” “rape is not apolitical” “women’s clothing is not the problem, it’s your eyes”.
Thousands of protesters, mostly the leader and activists of Bangladesh Chhatra League, left-leaning student bodies including Bangladesh Chhatra Union, Socialists Students Front, Bangladesh Chhatra Federation and other social organisation such as Bangladesh Udichi Shilpigosthi, Save The Women and general people from all walk of life took to the streets protesting against rape incidents.
Some protesters also called for the resignation of Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal over the government’s failure to address the alarming rise in sexual violence against women and girls in the country.
The Law Minister on Thursday said they are proposing amendment to the law at the directive of the prime minister, with death penalty as the highest punishment for rape instead of life imprisonment.