Locals have accused a Bangladesh Chhatra League leader of Bhedarganj upazila of sexually harassing six women, secretly filming the acts to blackmail them and then sharing the footage on the internet.
One of the women, being subjected to ignominy, had left the area; two had stopped going to college while the in-laws of another woman made her leave her husband's house.
Leaders of the student body have said they recently suspended Arif Hossain Hawladar, 22, who was the general secretary of Narayanpur BCL, from the organisation over the allegations.
Residents of Narayanpur said, Arif filmed a neighbour's wife taking a shower with a hidden camera. He later threatened the woman with sharing the clips online and assaulted her sexually.
Arif again secretly filmed the acts and continued to blackmail her, they added.
The clips started spreading on October 15 and were shared on social media many times in the following days.
Bhedarganj upazila BCL suspended him on October 19 on charges of “violating party discipline”, said Wasim Talukder, general secretary of the BCL in the upazila.
The decision was promptly taken to avoid “his crime being linked to the organisation”, he added.
Arif, a college student and a resident of Ferangikandi village, left the area soon after he was suspended from the pro-AL student body, his neighbours said.
The women's fear of public shame and mockery kept them from going to police, said their family members.
One of the victims, who is a college student, said, “He forced me into this. My life is ruined. How will I show my face around here? We demand exemplary punishment for this.”
Sister of another victim said, “My sister was trapped and raped. Arif took large sums of money on multiple occasions from her by threatening to share the video... We have not filed a case yet for fear of disgrace.”
Rawshan Ara Begum, chairperson of Jatiya Mahila Sangstha in Shariatpur, said social awareness has to be raised to stop recurrence of such heinous incidents.
She also demanded exemplary punishment for the crime.
When this correspondent called Arif and enquired about the allegations, he hung up.
Asked, his father Mintu Hawladar said, “The BNP-Jamaat men have circulated these personal things as part of a conspiracy.”
He added that Arif had many adversaries as he was involved in politics.
Nazim Uddin Talukder, chairman of Narayanpur Union Parishad, termed Arif's misdeeds “unthinkable”.
Saifullah Al Mamun, superintendent of police in Shariatpur, said police were trying to arrest him on charges of committing cyber crimes.