Women of all walks of life hold a protest rally before the Jatiya Press Club in the capital yesterday demanding a secular Bangladesh with gender equity. Various social and cultural bodies organised the rally. Photo: Palash Khan
Women of all strata at a protest rally yesterday vowed to resist every ill-attempt of fundamentalists and communal forces to impede women empowerment and contain their progress and rights.
The rally was jointly organised by different social, cultural and non-government organisations in front of the national press club in the capital demanding "Non-communal, democratic and gender-equal Bangladesh".
Several thousand women attended the rally.
The speakers of the gathering said Hefajat-e Islam through its 13-point demand wanted to keep women confined and curb their rights to push the country back to the medieval age.
Eminent rights activist Sultana Kamal urged all women to build strong resistance from their own grounds against communalism and fundamentalism.
She said women had made outstandingly contribution to the country's economic, social and political progress. She urged the government to amend the provisions in the constitution that are against women's rights.
Charing the rally, women leader Ayesha Khanom asked all political parties, especially the main opposition BNP, not to patronise anti-liberation forces and fanatics to secure political gain.
Social activist Khushi Kabir said, "Together, we will have to fight against communal forces in every house, workplace and anywhere they [fundamentalists] would try to retard women development."
Prosecutor of International Crimes Tribunal Tureen Afroz said the evil force confusing people by misinterpreting Islam should be resisted.
In a declaration, the women leaders placed a 10-point demand that includes taking legal action against those who want to curb women rights, implementation of all national and international charters for women development, restoration of the constitution of 1972, arrangements for compensation and rehabilitation to all victim garment workers and their families, including those of Rana Plaza collapse, and ensuring security to indigenous and religious minorities.
Women leaders Momtaz Begum, Shirin Akhter and Rokeya Kabir, Vice-Chancellor of Dhaka University Prof AAMS Arefin Siddique, Shaheed Jaya Shyamoli Nasrin Chowdhury, Gonojagoron Mancha spokesperson Imran H Sarker, among others, spoke at the rally yesterday.