AHM Lutful Kabir, officer-in-charge of Darshana police station, said the accused was handed over to cops by locals and a rape case was filed against him on a complaint from the father of the girl.

According to the complaint, Kibria raped the child, a third grade student of the same madrasah, repeatedly over a period of time in a rented house in the vicinity.

Ahmed Ali Bishwash, investigating officer in the case, said medical tests of the student have been conducted and she also recorded her statement before a judicial magistrate.

The accused was produced in a local court and remanded in police custody for further interrogation, he said.

Bangladesh’s rape epidemic

Sexual assaults on women, including children, continue unabated in Bangladesh, despite the government introducing death penalty for rape in 2020.

Ain o Salish Kendra (ASK) data shows that 1,018 children were raped in 2020 alone, but only 683 police cases had been filed. Also, 116 survivors were six years old or below.

Overall, 1,627 rape cases were reported in 2020 and 53 of the women were killed by the perpetrators while 14 took their own lives, as per the data.

However, ASK’s data is just the tip of the iceberg, according to aid agencies, who report that most women are too afraid to report rape.

In October 2020, the country was rocked by protests after a woman was allegedly attacked and raped in Noakhali.

In November, 2020, Bangladesh introduced capital punishment for rape, following days of protests against sexual violence against women in several cities across the country.

But human rights organisations say the move will not solve the country’s rape crisis, as the survivors of the heinous crime are often stigmatised in the society.

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