Human chain demanding punishment of Abdul Rashid for rape of Hajong woman in Sunamganj

Photo: Human chain

Hill Voice, 25 September 2021, Sunamganj: Central Council of the Bangladesh Hajong Student Organization (Bahasas) organized a human chain at a traffic point in Sunamganj to protest the rape of an indigenous Hajong woman in Rajai village of Tahirpur in Sunamganj district and demand immediate maximum punishment for the rapist on 25 September 2021 Saturday at 11:00 am.

Presided by the organisation Jitendra Hajong and facilitated by Joint General Secretary Badal Hajong, the human chain was addressed by Finance Secretary of Bangladesh Indigenous Peoples Forum Andrew Salmer, Sunamganj District President of Bangladesh Communist Party Chittaranjan Talukder, Sunamganj District President of Bangladesh Mahila Parishad Gouri Bhattacharya, Executive Director of SUJAN Nirmal Bhattacharya, General Secretary of Bangladesh Jatiya Hajong Organization Paltan Hajong, Member Secretary of Bangladesh Indigenous Women’s Network Chanchana Chakma, Organizing Secretary of Bangladesh Adivasi Youth Forum Tony Chiran, General Secretary of Bangladesh Adivasi Chhatra Sangram Parishad Alik Mri and Joint Organizing Secretary of Bahasas Antar Hajang. The keynote address was delivered by Chhotan Hajong, the organizing secretary of Bahasa.

Andrew Salmer, finance secretary of the Bangladesh Infigenous Peoples Forum, said, “If the rapist is freed, the helpless victim family and the Hajong community will no longer have confidence in us.”

Gouri Bhattacharya, president of Bangladesh Mahila Parishad, Sunamganj district, said, “Not only the indigenous people, our state and everyone in the state should stand up against the rapist.” We have to ensure the security of a woman in every part of the country and eliminate gender inequality.

Chittaranjan Talukder, president of the Sunamganj district of the Communist Party of Bangladesh, said that the girl who was raped had admitted herself that she was subjected to sexual abuse. Even everyone had raised said statement. For this a chargesheet has to be given so that the rapist gets severe punishment.

Nirmal Bhattacharya, executive director of Sujan Sunamganj, said, “I strongly demand that the rapist should not get bail in any way and his punishment should be made immediately.”

Chanchana Chakma, member secretary of Bangladesh Indigenous Women’s Network, said, “If a woman is a victim of rape, then only a woman in this country has to prove again through various tests that she has been raped, which is very sad!” As a result, there are many conspiracies and opportunities to influence the medical examination.

Alik Mri, general secretary of the Bangladesh Adivasi Chhatra Sangram Parishad, said the persecution of indigenous women and ordinary people continued across the country due to the weakness of the judiciary in Bangladesh.

Tony Matthew Chiran, organizing secretary of the Indigenous Youth Forum, said the rape and assault to Hajong women was an insult not only to Hajong women, but to people across the country. And we will see the culture of injustice! Everyone in the country has the right to justice and security. We all have to take to the streets to establish this right.

A 6-point demand was made to the government from the human chain. These are- (1) speedy justice should be ensured through an impartial and fair investigation into the rape of Hajong women, (2) maximum punishment should be ensured to the accused, (3) any negligence in the medical examination of the indigenous girl victim If so, the person involved to the negligence should be brought to book, (4) provide legal assistance to the helpless, poor victim in handling the case and ensure the safety of the victim and her family, (5) counseling measures to strengthen the emotional state of the victim must be taken and (6) a speedy and just trial of violence against indigenous women across the country must be done.

It may be mentioned that on the morning of 14 August 2021, a young Hajong indigenous girl (23) of Rajai village under Tahirpur police station of Sunamganj district was raped by resident of same village Abdul Rashid, son of Abul Kalam while the victim was taking a bath in the nearby stream. On the same day, a case was filed by the victim’s mother with Tahirpur police station against accused. Case No. 12, dated 14/06/2021 AD, Section 9(1) of the Women and Children Suppression Prevention Act 2000 (Amendment 2003). Tahirpur police sub-inspector Abu Bakar Siddique is in charge of investigating the case.