Lately, women’s security and Bangladesh seem to be in two opposing camps. Every day when you open the pages of the newspaper, there are so many kidnappings of women, stripping of women, various physical tortures, rapes, post-rape murders in Bangladesh that it is as if they are common to everyone. So the language of protest is also extremely limited—resistance efforts are apparently non-existent. I am talking about social protest and resistance. We always hear about the huge development of Bangladesh. Development is happening. The huge mega project Padma Bridge was built with own funds and its official inauguration just a month and a half ago is an undeniable example of the development of the country. Apart from the Padma Bridge, many more projects have been implemented – many projects are under construction. Thatched houses are no longer found in Bangladesh. Tin houses are visible in thousands of villages. Many buildings have come up – eye-catching markets, multi-storied buildings, flats and so on have come up. Individually owned private cars are not less in number than numerous vehicles engaged in business and commerce. Many more such points can be made. But there remains another aspect of development about which it is a crime to remain silent. Along with such eye-catching development, there is a growing record of corruption. Wealth is not owned by the nation – it is being concentrated in the hands of very few individuals. During the Pakistan era, 22 families were millionaires and there was a massive mass movement against it. Today the number of millionaires in Bangladesh is more than thousand and this number is increasing.
Bank after bank is being robbed. Thousands of crores of rupees are being laundered in foreign banks. Sometimes there is a talk of bringing back the smuggled money, but no real basis can be found for it. The long history of the matter proves beyond doubt that the talk of bringing it back is just a slogan. The number of defaulters in other banks and other financial institutions has increased alarmingly. Growing at a steady pace but with no sign of paying off – not even the slightest initiative. On the other hand, the defaulters are not responding to the government’s lure of various facilities for defaulters – on the contrary, the amount of defaulted loans is increasing by leaps and bounds every year at an unstoppable pace. On the other hand, even though defaulting or defaulting on the loan is a punishable crime, no special case is filed by the bank against the borrowers, because it is likely that those who are defaulting on the loan are some of the government. Therefore, the bank does not have the ability to lay hands on them – maybe not even the law. As a result, the level of crisis in the troubled national economy is getting deeper. Along with the mega projects that have been completed including the Padma Bridge, the number of defaulters, the number of money launderers abroad and the number of criminals in other crimes are also increasing exponentially. Other crimes such as illegal smuggling of thousands, lakhs of crores of rupees abroad, looting, communal violence etc. are also going on freely. No criminal goes unpunished. So all the criminals fearlessly continue committing one crime after another tirelessly. In the face of this, sexual crimes have emerged in various levels of society in Bangladesh today with the most terrible form. The female body today has become a target of unlimited greed for a class of men.
Since that Pakistan period, the establishment of equality and equal rights of men and women has been established as one of the main demands of the democratic movement of our country. As the women’s organizations protested with this demand, it was one of the main demands of all democracy and human rights groups and organizations. This demand has been gradually strengthened since the days of Pakistan. In the great liberation war of 1971, our women’s society also took rifles and actively fought on various fronts against the Pakistani army and their native soldiers. As a result of these things, the women’s society has also gained many rights compared to the past. As in the case of job-goats. Now women are getting appointed to High Court, Supreme Court judges, various high administrative posts like- Secretary, Additional Secretary, Deputy Commissioner, UNO, Superintendent of Police, various responsible positions of banks. However, although the number of recognized positions of women in the job is 30 percent, women have not yet been appointed up to that point due to administrative and various challenges. However, a good number of women continue to work as lawyers and their assistants in the lower to the highest courts of the country, and in various levels of clerkships in various offices and courts. Apart from this, quite a number of women are also working as jhabshang ertas in the markets.
Thus, thousands of working women who have performed duties in various fields of our social life – 95 percent or more of them walk or take rickshaws or scooters or buses to commute to their respective places of work every day. No husband, brother or father lives with them – it is not even possible. After finishing their work in their office, many of them have to return in the evening or night. As a result, they have to face serious insecurity during the return journey. The driver, helper and a class of male passengers can be seen lustfully looking at the bus, touching any sensitive parts of women’s body if they get a chance or stripping them naked and raping and gang-raping them if they get a chance to do so. The news creates panic. Newspaper readers are often confronted with much more dire news. For example, a madrasa teacher is raping his minor student, a college-university student is raping his classmate, a teacher is raping his student by showing various temptations. There are even stories of some teachers calling their students at home and forcing them to engage in sexual activity in various ways.
Besides, the stories of women working in office-courts being raped by their male colleagues or their superiors are not few. In these cases, however, almost 98 percent of the cases are victims due to the fear of job security, social stigmatization. As a result, the punishment of the criminals or their trial also remains behind everything. But as a result the victimized women are forced to face multiple complex problems. For example, those sexually lustful executives or male colleagues may often indulge in physical pleasure – but risk losing their job or financial security without keeping things a secret. What can also be more serious is that, and sometimes, the affected woman can become pregnant. In the latter case, unmarried women may be forced to leave home and family, losing the confidence of their husbands and others in the case of marriage and becoming passengers of an unknown future. If you have children, the problem becomes more acute in this case.
Therefore, the issue of women’s life security is complex on the one hand, and on the other hand, appropriate initiatives have not been taken for it so far. Although the attitude of the court is strict, many victimized girls have to be harassed during the course of the case as the judicial process is complicated and time-consuming. In order to help the courts to play a more effective role in preventing them, making the judicial process women-friendly by bringing the necessary amendments to the CRPC, on the other hand, it is essential to take special measures for the moral education of the drivers of rickshaws, scooters, buses, etc. in our families, schools, workplaces, etc. It is necessary to remember that until we can ensure the safety of women in all spheres of life, we will not be able to claim world status as a civilized nation.
Ranesh Maitra: Politician and columnist.
Source: Bhorer Kagoj by www.bhorerkagoj.com.
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