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Police early Saturday arrested an official of Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives (LGRD) office in Jashore as he allegedly tried to rape an 8-year-old child on the roof of Abhaynagar LGRD office on 30 December, reports UNB.

The arrested was identified as Jahidul Islam, office assistant (MLSS) of Abhaynagar LGRD office.

Victim’s mother filed a case with Abhaynagar police station over the matter on Friday, said Abhaynagar police station officer-in-charge Tajul Islam.

According to the case statement, Jahidul took the child at the roof of his office on 30 December luring her to provide sweets. The victim started to scream when he tried to rape the girl.

Locals rushed to the spot after hearing the screams but Jahidul fled the spot.

Meanwhile, Jahidul was abruptly transferred to Jhenaidah after the incident came to light.

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Abhaynagar upazila nirbahi officer (UNO) Md Nazmul Hussain Khan said that police was informed of the ‘unwanted and embarrassing incident’.

Change in rape law

The government has recently amended the law as it relates to punishment for rape with death penalty as the highest punishment. In fact, raping a child is one of the manifestations of the crime warranting the highest punishment, it was stipulated.

The much-talked-about 'Women and Children Repression Prevention (Amendment) Bill, 2020' was passed in parliament on 17 November last year.

Countrywide protests against sexual violence prompted the government to make the much-needed change.

At least 1,005 incidents of child rape were recorded last year, a 76.01 per cent increase compared to the year before, Bangladesh Shishu Adhikar Forum (BSAF) said in its yearly report ‘State of Child Rights in Bangladesh’.

On average, about 84 children became victims of rape in every month of 2019.

BSAF said the number of incidents was higher compared to previous years. Of the victims, 133 were aged between one and six years. Most of the rapes were reported in Dhaka district.

The data were collected from 15 national dailies between January and December.

Between 2015 and 2019, a total of 3,136 children had fallen victims to rape -- 52 incidents every month on average. But verdicts in only 164 cases were delivered, including 27 in the last year.