This is with my sense of disgust that the molested women and their families must have felt in the Bangla New Year’s day at the Dhaka University campus. I am so frustrated about Bangladesh that I feel like not talking about it at all, like I wish I was not born there.
In the latest major revulsive incident in Bangladesh, gangs of youth attacked at least 30 women to sexually assault them, including taking off the cloth of one and molesting one in front of her husband and child. Thousands of students and citizens alike were celebrating the Bangla new year (April 14 this year) with festivity, and the despicable incident started at about 5:30, when it was still daylight in Dhaka.
I was a student at that university mostly during 1970s and a bit of 1980s. I still remember some of my best professors there, and feel grateful for how they shaped my life. But looking at what is going on there and elsewhere in the country now, I cannot help but feeling alienated.
The crime disgusted me. What disgusts me more is that there seems to be no authority to take actions that would deter this kind of crimes. Following are some facts that were found in Bangladeshi newspapers:
Some students actually caught some of the perpetrators, and handed them over to the police, who actually released them there at that time. Law enforcers did almost nothing during and after the attacks on women.
After five days, a Joint Commissioner of Dhaka Metropolitan Police admitted that women were sexually assaulted, but asserted that no woman was stripped naked and that no woman had filed any complaints. CCTV camera-16 apparently covered the area in which a woman was claimed to have been almost stripped naked. However, footage of that CCTV camera was not released by the police.
Here are some otherwise good ones: DU students threaten movement if the sexual offenders are not brought to book. The teachers and students of Dhaka University form human chain in protest against the assault on women at TSC on Apr 14. Women’s platform protests harassment at Dhaka University during New Year celebrations.
Here is one that I call a joke: High Court asks Inspector General of Police and Dhaka University Vice-Chancellor to report on action against sexual harassment, and asks the authorities to explain why they should not be directed to take actions against the responsible officials for their ‘negligence’ of duties and failure in ensuring safety to the victims.
So, what we have here is typical of Bangladesh.
Police did not do their duty; they did not take actions against the perpetrators. And, of course, as usual, they failed to arrest any of the criminals even when clear pictures were available from the CCTV cameras.
The otherwise helpless ordinary people, students, teachers, women group, etc. have protested. Even if that worked, it would be another example to show that almost nothing happens in Bangladesh against bad people/deeds until some protests take place. In other words, the authority that is getting paid for doing a job does not do it until a protest takes place; until a chaotic movement that costs more to the victims, their sympathizers and the country takes place. Doesn’t it cost the country when, for example, roads are blocked by a victim group?
Bangladesh has turned into a ‘high court country’. I feel sickened every time I see the high court directing an authority to do his duty or to show cause as to why he did not do his duty. (I am using only “his”, as Bangladesh does not have many women in positions of power.) What I see is that someone is getting paid for doing a job, but he is not doing it until getting a push from an authority like the high court.
Let me stop talking about women molestation, and not bring up the murders of humanist authors/bloggers here.
But, here are some other examples of the abject irresponsibility/corruption in everyday life in Bangladesh. Parents of little children need to pay bribe for their children to get admitted to schools. Prospective teachers need to pay bribe to get the jobs they seek. Teachers are negligent in the classroom and make most of their money by requiring their students to be taught privately outside of the classroom. Two groups of students fight on the university campus, and what do the big brain-power university professors that are in the administration do? They close down the university, and waste valuable time from the lives of thousands of ordinary students. I surely wonder what fertile brains decided that the professors, as opposed to the police, are supposed to stop/investigate crimes on the campus.
Doesn’t Bangladesh need some miracles to come out of the frustrating situation that it is in?