Last year, on August 25, 27-year-old Rupa Khatun was brutally gang-raped and murdered on a moving bus in Tangail. As the details of the case emerged, we were aghast at the brutality and social media burst in outrage. That of course helped bring the case to the limelight, and arrests were made. Yesterday a court in Tangail handed down the death penalty to four transport workers for the rape and murder of Rupa.
The Tangail Women and Children Repression Prevention Tribunal has done an exemplary job in ensuring proper and speedy resolution to the case. We commend the law enforcers and all other authorities involved. From the numerous cases of sexual violence in this country, we know that delays and impunity to criminals is a major reason for survivors not coming forward and for the perpetuation such crimes. We hope that this verdict will act as a deterrent and a warning.
But, we have a long way to go. Cases of sexual violence and rape continue to rise, and safety of women in public transport continues to be in question. Rupa's case is one among thousands. For survivors of rape, the process of getting justice remains difficult and perpetrators who have power or influence continue to enjoy impunity. The question remains: why did Rupa's rapists think they would be able to get away with their horrible crimes? Have we—our society and law enforcers—done enough to prevent such crimes in the first place?
This case is exemplary—it shows that it is indeed possible to bring perpetrators of rape and sexual violence to justice. We urge that authorities ensure speedy justice in all rape cases, and that the issue of safety of women is given prime importance so these cases can be prevented in the first place.