'Not an isolated incident'
Left Democratic Alliance (LDA), a coalition of eight left-leaning political parties, yesterday demanded exemplary punishment, under a speedy trial, for all culprits involved with the Noakhali gang-rape.
Speaking at a press briefing at Mukti Bhaban in Dhaka, the alliance leaders also demanded that the authorities concerned provide adequate security and treatment to the victim and her family members.
LDA organised the briefing after an alliance team visited the victim at Noakhali General Hospital and went to her house in Subarnachar upazila on Friday.
Early December 31, hours after the 11th parliamentary election, the mother of four was gang-raped allegedly by 10 to 12 Awami League men.
Quoting the victim's neighbours, the coalition, in a written statement, said the rape accused were locally known as “miscreants” for their involvement in various crimes.
LDA said a sense of insecurity was prevailing among locals as the accused are involved with the ruling party. They [accused], through their cohorts, have also threatened the victim and her family, it added.
“The rape in Noakhali isn't an isolated incident. It is a direct reflection of bankruptcy of the country's social and economic system…,” said Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB) President Mujahidul Islam Selim at the briefing.
It is the result of the ruling party's effort to remain in power through intimidation, he added.
About the role of Jatiya Party as opposition in the new parliament, he alleged that it has been staged by AL to create a “fake” opposition in the “fake” parliament.
“Ershad said he is the opposition party leader [in the parliament]. It's ridiculous… They [JP] participated in the election as part of the AL-led grand alliance,” he said.
In the afternoon, Nari Samhati, a pro-women body of Ganosamhati Andolan, formed a human chain in front of Jatiya Press Club, demanding justice for the victim.
“We cannot find any hope for justice from this illegal government that assumed power through a farcical election… a woman was also raped by activists of the ruling party,” said Shamoli Shil, president of Nari Samhati.
She urged the countrymen to launch a tougher movement so that no one dares to commit such atrocity in the future.
Taslima Akhter, vice-president of Nari Samhati, alleged that AL activists raped the woman in Noakhali to establish their dominance so that people, out of fear, remain silent.
She also alleged that the incidents of rape, abduction, killing and attack on minorities are increasing as political parties are failing to uphold democratic values properly.