Advocate Sultana Kamal is a human rights activist and the founder president of Manabadhikar Shongskriti Foundation (msf). In this interview with Afia Jahin of The Daily Star, she speaks about what perpetuates violence against women in Bangladesh, and the steps that individuals, institutions and the state can take to combat it.
Upon reading the news headline for the incident I am about to discuss, I only felt a momentary, dull pain in my gut or thereabouts. Because while it is a shocking incident that would rob you of hope, the elements of the story are all too familiar to us all.
Weighed down under the stacks of reports about crowding at vaccination centres, shortage of vaccine doses, and the rocky mass vaccination drives, is the story of how a section of Bangladeshi population is suffering from bias and a lack of access to the jabs, leaving them unprotected against the coronavirus.
Against all odds (read: the non-existent movement restrictions and the maintenance of health safety guidelines almost becoming a practice-as-you-please thing), it seems the rate of Covid-19 infections in Bangladesh is finally going down, and hopefully nearing the “safe” and much-desired mark of five percent or less.
People’s tendency to drag back any individual who attempts to break away from dominant social norms or expectations has existed in all units of society since time immemorial. We just have a term for it now that rolls off the tongue easily.