Concern over case against MJF, Bachte Shekha EDs
Samajik Protirodh Committee, a platform of 67 organisations on human rights, women and development, has expressed grave concern over the case filed against Executive Director of Manusher Jonno Foundation Shaheen Anam and Executive Director of Banchte Shekha Angela Gomes.
The committee in a press release demanded immediate withdrawal of the case yesterday.
Quoting media reports, the committee said some Hindu "fundamentalists" filed the case against them for taking the initiative to amend respective acts to ensure equal rights to inherited property for Hindu women.
On Tuesday, one Akash Ghosh filed a case with the Narayanganj Chief Judicial Magistrate's Court.
Taking the case into cognisance, the court directed Police Bureau of Investigation to probe the matter and submit a report by December 21.
Meanwhile, Hindu Ain Poriborton Protirodh Sommilito Parishad at a press conference at the Dhaka Reporters Unity yesterday protested the move to amend the law.
The Samajik Protirodh Committee the press release, signed by Bangladesh Mahila Parishad President Fauzia Moslem, said conscious rights organisations have been working for years with the government in formulating drafts of acts to establish equal rights to inherited properties for both men and women in line with the constitution and human rights.
"It is not the first time that women and development organisations have taken initiatives to bring amendments to an act. The Law Commission has also submitted a proposal to bring amendment to the Hindu Act," said the press release.
"We believe it [filing of the case against Shaheen Anam and Angela Gomes] is an attempt to create communal chaos in the country. The initiative [revising law] has been taken by some organisations...
"The draft is prepared upon the demand of civil society and women. No individual has taken the initiative," it added.
The case has been lodged at a time when Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, at the UN General Assembly (UNGA), has placed emphasis on building a network of women leaders globally to ensure gender equity.
Some people of the Hindu community are not only harassing individuals but have also been trying to fuel communal incitement for a long time, the press release said.
Establishing equal rights to inherited property has long been a demand of women organisations, and conscious citizens, including eminent lawyers, have been expressing solidarity with the demand, it said.
"We believe that the act of opposing the amendment of inheritance law is anti-constitutional," reads the release.
It added that while the government is taking various steps to empower women, ensure human rights, expressing their thoughts on amending family law, and while Bangladesh is regarded as a global role model for women empowerment with women playing courageous, productive and responsible roles, such negative attitude towards equal rights of women is reflective of religious fundamentalism.
The 67 organisations that constitute Samajik Protirodh Committee are: Bangladesh Mahila Parishad, Ain o Salish Kendra, Steps Towards Development, Bangladesh Nari Progoti Sangha, Brac, Women for Women, Care Bangladesh, Karmajibi Nari, Jatiya Sramik Jote, Concern World Wide, IED, Bangladesh Jatiya Mahila Ainjibi Samity, Nijera Kori, Manusher Jonno Foundation, Dhaka YWCA, Palli Daridro Bimochon Foundation, Oxfam GB, Action Aid Bangladesh, The Hunger Project, Awaj Foundation, Prip Trust, ADD Bangladesh, World Vision, Campaign for popular education (CAMPE), Nagorik Uddyog, Protibondhi Narider Jatiya Parishad, SHAREE,BAUSHI, Pakkhik Anyanna, Association For Community Development, BROTEE, Nari Moitree, Wave Foundation, Equity and Justice Working Group, Bangladesh Nari Sangbadik Kendra, Nari Uddyog Kendra, Jatiya Nari Sramik Jote, Sommillito Samajik Andolon, Bangladesh Trade Union Kendra, Jatiya Nari Jote, Shakti Foundation, BPW Club, Udichi Shilpi Goshthi, Acid Survivors Foundation, Nari Mukti Sangsad, Sheva Nari O Shishu Kallyan Kendra, DRRA, Jatiya Protibondhi Forum, Hill Women's Federation, Amrai Pari Paribarik Nirjaton Protirodh Jote, Bangladesh Adivasi Forum, Bangladesh Federation of University Women, Soroptimist International Club, RDRS, BILS, ADAB, SDS Joypurhat, FPAB, YWCA of Bangladesh, Dalit Nari Forum, Deepta Foundation for Development, Aparajeyo Bangladesh, BLAST, Turning Point, Center for Men and Masculinities Studies, Save the Children, Avijan and Adivasi Nari Network.
Meanwhile, speakers at a views exchange meeting in Mymensingh yesterday said ensuring the desired rights to women of religious minorities is the demand of the times.
A community cannot progress without ensuring proper rights to its women, said speakers at the meeting held at Durgabari Puja Mondop in Mymensingh city, reports our Mymensingh correspondent.
Bangladesh Mohila Oikya Parishad organised the meeting titled "Inheritance of Religious Minority Women". Ex-lawmaker Chhabi Biswas was the chief guest.
President of Bangladesh Mohila Oikya Parishad Supriya Bhattacharya, Secretary of the parishad Dipali Chakraborty, its Vice-president Geeta Biswas, President of its Mymensingh chapter Shila Sen, Secretary Sheuly Rani Biswas and Pulok Ghatak, secretary of Hindu Ain Sanskar Bastabayan Parishad, also spoke on the occasion, among others.
Demanding reforms of laws that are discriminatory towards minority women, the speakers said minority women throughout the country would be aware about their rights to include them in a spontaneous movement.
In traditional Hindu law, there is no hurdle to inheritance rights of women but a vested quarter has been opposing it, they said. That vested quarter is now attacking people who support the inheritance rights of Hindu women, they also alleged.