Demanding proper steps to end violence against women, Samajtantrik Mohila Forum rallies in front of Jatiya Press Club in the capital marking day of resistance against repression on women yesterday. Afterwards, it submitted a memorandum to the home minister. Photo: Star
Many organisations yesterday observed day of resistance against repression on women across the county in memory of 14-year-old Yasmin Akhtar, who was raped and killed by policemen in Dinajpur in 1995.
Shamajtantrik Mohila Forum, a women's rights group, organised a rally before Jatiya Press Club in the capital where speakers said only one percent of the perpetrators of violence against women were punished in last ten years while only 40 percent of the incidents of violence and rape were recorded with police stations.
In most cases, the perpetrators use their political and economic clout to enjoy impunity. However, organised resistance movement by the people can always make a difference, they observed.
They also submitted a memorandum to the home ministry demanding that the government ensure punishment of every perpetrator.
The victims and their families often prefer to remain silent fearing further violence, said Shampa Basu, general secretary of the organisation.
On August 24, 1995, a patrol police team picked Yasmin, a domestic help, in their van by offering her a lift to her mother's house and later raped and killed her.
The incident sparked agitation among people who took to the streets of Dinajpur demanding exemplary punishment for the culprits, added Shampa.
To stop the demonstration, district administration imposed a curfew in the town on August 27 and police opened fire on the protesters, killing seven people.
But the protest continued forcing the authorities to start the trial. And in 2004, three policemen were executed, which proved that relentless protests can bring justice, said Rowshan Ara, president of the forum.
Meanwhile, Samajtantrik Chhatra Front unit of Rajshahi University formed a human chain on the campus with a view to prevent sexual harassment across the country.
Rangpur and Rajshahi units of Nari Mukti Kendra jointly organised a rally on Rangpur Town Hall premises where speakers demanded amendment to Women and Children Repression Prevention Act.
Meantime, women leaders in Chittagong held a rally at New Market intersection in the city focusing on the fact that female workers are still being deprived of fair wages and security at workplaces.