We are appalled and anguished by yet another incident of gang-rape and murder on a bus, this time the victim being a nurse working at a hospital in Kalyanpur. According to autopsy reports Shahinoor Akter Tania was gang-raped and murdered. On Monday she was going home to Pirijpur by bus after her shift at the hospital but never reached her destination. Her family eventually located her body at a Katiadi Upazila Health Complex where unknown people had left her.
The pattern of the crime is quite similar to previous ones where a young woman becomes a victim when she is the lone passenger in a bus. In 2017, Rupa Khatun, a law student was raped and killed on a bus headed to Mymensingh by three assistants of the driver. Her body was thrown out of the bus in an empty forest area on Tangail-Mymensingh road. In Tania’s case too, she was most probably raped on the bus and then pushed off it to die. Here too the driver and his assistants were involved. In Rupa’s case, a Tangail court has sentenced four men to death and handed seven years imprisonment to another. Yet despite such harsh punishments being meted out to Rupa’s rapist-murderers these incidents are continuing. So why such are crimes still being committed and where are these perpetrators getting the courage to carry out such heinous acts? Does the general culture of impunity most perpetrators of such crimes enjoy, have anything to do with it?
There are thousands of women who take public transport because of work or other purposes. The authorities must take extra precautions to keep the public transport system safe. When courts mete out punishment to these criminals it should be widely publicised. It is totally unacceptable that women should be afraid of travelling alone on a bus because the drivers and helpers could turn out to be sexual predators.