The long road to 'identification'
Bring the culprits in Lama rape case to justice
The delaying tactics apparently adopted by police officers investigating the case of two Tripura girls allegedly raped by two members of Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) in Lama Upazila of Bandarban on August 22 are frustrating. Rights organisations on Tuesday brought this to our attention after an inspection visit to Lama which revealed that police are taking time to “identify” and arrest the main accused in the case, although one woman was arrested in this connection. It's surprising that so much of time is being spent in the initial phase of an investigation of a case that is open-and-shut because of specific allegations raised by the victims. We cannot help but wonder if it is symptomatic of unwillingness on the part of the police to expedite investigation because of the involvement of the members of a government agency.
The larger picture is far more critical, however. As we have said in this column before, sexual crimes are on the rise in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) which shows how vulnerable young girls and women, particularly those from indigenous communities, are — with few safeguards, legal or otherwise, against violence, torture and harassment. Most of the time, rape cases go unreported, and even when they are reported, they are not followed with proper investigation. These incidents cannot be seen in isolation and, if allowed to go unchecked, they might encourage further violence.
We urge the government to ensure a quick and thorough investigation into this latest case of sexual violence and bring the culprits to justice.