The contradictory remarks of the state minister for home and officials of Rab and police, regarding the arrest of sexual assaulters during the Pahela Baishakh celebrations, are both perplexing and disappointing. The state minister has stated in parliament that law enforcers have arrested several of the identified culprits, and assured that the others, who are at large, would also be brought to book. But high-ups of the DMP and Rab have said that they are yet to arrest anyone in connection with the April 14 sexual assaults.
It seems the state minister's assurance is a mere placatory move. This is in the backdrop of allegations of the police releasing two of the culprits after they were handed over, inaction of the police on duty, denial of the incident by law enforcing agents right after the incident and then admittance that it did take place after an entire month. The release of blurry photographs taken from CCTV footage of some of the alleged attackers and the announcement of one lakh taka bounty on each for information leading to their arrest, has achieved precious little. According to a report in this paper the police arrested seven people who looked like the ones in the photographs of the alleged attackers, but they were released as they turned out to be the wrong suspects.
The wishy-washy attitude displayed by the authorities, regarding this grave crime, seems to indicate an attempt to let the matter go off the radar. For the people, especially for women and girls, this reluctance to carry out a diligent investigation, is a huge let-down. The government must put pressure on its agencies to arrest the real criminals.