Dhaka, October 1, (NIA): The Bangladeshi Human Rights group, Ain o Salish Kendra (ASK), says that at least 512 incidents of rape were reported in the media between January and September this year. Of the victims, 26 were killed after rape. The number of gang-rape was 152, in which 64 victims were aged between 13 and 18.
More than half of the rape victims were children. Of the 341 children raped, 37 were aged below six; 121 were aged 7 to 12; and 183 were between 13 and 18 years.
On the other hand, at least six men and five women were killed for protesting against sexual harassment, while six women committed suicide on account of this since January.
Another 94 women and 17 men were subjected to torture and assault for resisting stalkers, while 61 men who came forward to help the victims were injured in clashes with the stalkers. Four girls stopped going to school after facing sexual harassment during this time.
Violence Against Women
Although Bangladesh has been ruled alternately by two women, Shieikh Hasina and Khaled Zia, women have been suffering much abuse in society which is essentially male dominated.
At least 89 women and seven children were killed from January to September while three others committed suicide due to torture for dowry by their in-laws. The number of women injured due to torture for dowry was 93.
ASK reports at least 28 incidents of acid attacks on women and children in the first nine months. Four of the victims were children while one of the victims attacked for dowry died while undergoing treatment. Only nine cases were filed over the 28 incidents.
At least eight women were subjected to torture through a fatwa or village arbitration across the country during the nine months. Four of them were banished from their village. Legal action was sought in only two of the incidents.
At least 58 women were killed by their husbands and in-laws while 10 by their own families during the time. The dead include 18 children.
Only 135 cases were filed in the 305 incidents of domestic violence occurred during the period, ASK says
Twenty-six cases were filed over the deaths of 30 domestic servants. There were three suicide, 14 torture and two rape incidents across the country. Of the victims, 30 were children.
Attacks On Religious Minorities
Between January and September, at least seven Hindu priests and followers were killed by militants across the country ASK says. Two Christians and two Buddhists were also killed by Islamic zealots.
ASK documentation also reports death threats to a number of Hindu priests and followers, 79 incidents of vandalism and arson attacks on Hindu temples and 58 incidents of attacks on houses. At least five Hindu houses were grabbed by criminals during the time when at least 27 people sustained injuries across the country.
150 people were extra-judicially killed by different law enforcement agencies in the last nine months.
The dead include the 19 Islamic militants killed after the deadly “Gulshan” terror attack in which 20 Bangladeshi and foreign diners were slaughtered at a posh restaurant in the up-market Gulshan area of Dhaka on July 1. The attackers and plotters were killed in Dhaka and Narayangunj.
Of those killed extra-judicially, 83 had died in police custody and 34 in Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) custody.
Other forces accused of extra-judicial killings are Detective and Criminal Intelligence Branch police (DB) -12 deaths; Special Weapons and Tactics police (SWAT )- 12 deaths; Joint Forces – six deaths; Border Guards Bangladesh (BGB) – 2 deaths) and Ansar/Railway police – 1.
Meanwhile, family members and witnesses alleged that at least 75 others were picked up by plainclothes police during the same time. Only three of the victims returned to their families alive and eight as dead, while 18 others were shown arrested in different cases.
However, the police have refuted allegations of detaining these persons.
Killings In Cross-Fire/Encounter Killings
The ASK report says at least 90 people were killed in cross-fire or gunfights with the police, RAB, DB police and BGB-police before their arrest while 20 others were killed after being held by police and RAB.
Of the dead, five people died due to torture after arrest and four before their arrest. Four others died during treatment in custody while two faced mysterious deaths, ASK says.
Thirty four people detained in lockups and 23 prisoners had died or were killed during the first nine months of the current year.
Depredations Of The Indian Border Police
The Border Security Force (BSF) of India shot dead 21 Bangladeshis and tortured to death six others along the border since January, ASK says. The reason behind another death could not be ascertained.
At least 28 others were injured in attacks by BSF personnel and 19 were abducted. All but one were returned to the BGB.
The rights body also reports that at least 168 people were killed in 855 incidents of political violence across the country.
Of these, 142 people were killed in the Union Parishad elections, four during the municipality polls, while 13 others killed in clashes between rival groups of the ruling Awami League.
The number of people injured in political violence during this period is 10,863. At least 34 people were killed in mob attacks across the country, including 11 each in Dhaka and Chittagong.
In the last nine months, ASK and nine dailies reported attacks on and harassment of at least 95 journalists across the country. Of them, 32 came under terrorist attack, 19 were tortured or threatened by ruling Awami League men, while 18 others were sued for their reports.