Zafrullah Chowdhury addressing demonstration against rape and violence, organised on Saturday by the Bhashani Onushari Parishad
Zafrullah Chowdhury addressing demonstration against rape and violence, organised on Saturday by the Bhashani Onushari ParishadSajid Hossain

Founder of Gonoshashthaya Kendra Dr Zafrullah Chowdhury said, "The entire nation has risen up against the recent increase in countrywide incidents of rape, violence against women and extrajudicial killing. None of us are safe now. People's rights have been destroyed. Just as sexual abuse is a crime, so is snatching away people's rights."

Zafrullah Chowdhury was speaking at a protest rally and march against rape and violence, organised on Saturday by the Bhashani Onushari Parishad. He is the chairman of the organisation. The rally was held at 11:00am in front of the Jatiya Press Club.

The rally demanded a 50-year prison sentence for rapists. Dr Zafrullah called for everyone to join hands in a united movement.

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Addressing the gathering, Gonoshanghati Andolan convenor Zonayed Saki said that political power was involved in the rape that had overrun the country. These heinous incidents were taking place under political patronage. These crimes were never tried. There was power on one hand, and lack of justice on the other.

He said that the government talked big, but took no initiative to implement the law in women's favour. There had been no justice in the cases of the Tonu murder, Tauki murder, the killing of Sagar and Runi, the Abrar murder. That was why today incidents like rape and extrajudicial killings were on the rise.

The newspapers are simply full of news about rape, murder and corruption....These incidents simply obliterate all our achievements. We cringe in shame....Things must be changed. Things cannot continue in this manner. They cannot be allowed to continue so."
Dilara Choudhury, professor of political science

Professor Asif Nazrul said, this government supported casino businesses, murderers and looters. They sometimes nab a few small fry in the name of justice, but do nothing to catch the actual perpetrators.

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Referring to the killing of BUET student Abrar, he said, "Abrar was the first protestor against this government's policy of subservience towards India. That was why he was brutally beaten to death. The sculpture raised in his memory has been demolished. Those who smashed Abrar's sculpture in 2020 are anti-independence forces."

Political science professor Dilara Choudhury said she had joined the rally not from any political platform, but from her own conscience.

She said, "The newspapers are simply full of news about rape, murder and corruption. The newspapers are unreadable. These incidents simply obliterate all our achievements. We cringe in shame. These incidents show the fragile condition of the state. The 2018 election has made the state fragile. Things must be changed. Things cannot continue in this manner. They cannot be allowed to continue so."

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Secretary general of Bhashani Onushari Parishad, freedom fighter Rafiqul Islam presided over the event.

Various organisations held human chains, protest rallies and demonstrations in front of the Jatiya Press Club on Saturday. The streets resounded with fiery speeches and slogans, demanding speedy trial of the rapists and also free and fair elections to establish a democratic government.

Amra Muktijoddhar Shantan

The organisation Amra Muktijoddhar Shanta held a human chain programme and protest rally at 10:00am in front of Jatiya Press Club on Saturday, protesting against the increase in the incidents of rape and violence against women. Speakers at the rally said many successes of the government were being overshadowed because of these rapists and criminals.

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Jatiya Jubo Sanghati

Jatiya Party's youth wing, Jatiya Jubo Sanghati, held their human chain programme and rally at 11:00am in front of the press club. They called for amendments in the existing laws and ensuring death sentence for rapists.

Also staging protest rallies during the day were Moiniya Jubo Forum and Bangladesh Teachers Coordination Committee.