by Omer Selim Sher in Ottawa,
Rape is a difficult and heinous social crime. Recently, the trend of rape has been increasing in Bangladesh. People have protested against organized rape at M C College in Sylhet district and Begumganj in Noakhali district.
No regime has been spared from this social crime. I join others in strongly condemning this heinous crime and demand the exemplary punishment of the perpetrators. But the language of the protest slogans I saw written on the placards was bestial and indecent.
No one spoke on behalf of the rapists. Many also demanded that the rapists be shot dead. This is depends on the government. But the protesters mixed the demand for the exemplary punishment with the demand for downfall of the government. Thus their motives have been clearly identified as a transparent glass. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has also been insulted by the protesters in some of the placards they were carrying. This conspiracy is not new. Everyone knows who are these conspirators.
The perpetrators were arrested and brought to justice after the news of the rape broke. Instructed from the highest level, so that, none gets a clear chit irrespective of political affiliation. No matter how big the leader of any party is, no mercy will be shown to them.
The police in Bangladesh take bribes and this was the perfect opportunity to release the criminal or get bail. But the police did not do that, nor did the court grant bail. The country’s respected lawyers have also refused to go to court on behalf of the rapists.
In the meantime, the court and justice system has proved that the law of the land is above all, with the sentencing of Shahed Karim, chairman of Regent Group, to life imprisonment and the death sentences to Barguna’s Minni and her accomplices. The verdict of Shahed and Minni has proved that the government is on the side of the people. Then why the call for the government resignation?
Rape cases are not new, but it is this government that has brought the rapists to justice. Fraud, bribery and illicit wealth have been created during the tenure of all the governments but only the present government has brought such elements to justice. The party leaders and workers were not spared either. So, why dream of removing the government by street protests?
The truth is, greedy leaders do not have the power to deal with the government politically. They do not have the organizational strength to unite the people and make a movement. While the people have been vocal against rape, power-hungry leaders have chanted slogans to overthrow the government. Those who joined the movement also did not march to demand the fall of the government. They went to condemn the rapists. If the perpetrators are sentenced to maximum punishment, these leaders will again speak out against the trial.
There is no reason to oppose the government, but only to oppose it for the sake of their political motives which is not correct. Those who do this deceptive politics have been rejected by the people long before.
Now when rape incidents have become rampant, unfortunately it is Sheikh Hasina who is being blamed no other ruling Awami League leaders. She seems to be fighting alone. And this is a fight that she has to win and if she doesn’t win, Bangladesh will lose. I am glad to see that she is working responsibly to change Bangladesh for the better.
The problem is that a big party has many leaders, government has many ministers but everyone has certain responsibilities. They need to fulfill their duties properly. Then everything will be fair and beautiful, besides the pressure on the head of government or the head of the party will reduce.
But it appears everyone is not doing their job properly, but are making problems more complicated and critical.
And that is why the fight in the politics of Bangladesh now seems to be only for Sheikh Hasina to battle. The premier alone has to handle everything in the government. Sheikh Hasina alone has to deal with all the corruption, irregularities and mischief of the Awami League. It is as if Sheikh Hasina alone is fighting against all irregularities and arbitrariness and evil forces.
A blueprint for the fall of the government has been leaked after tensions spread across the country over rape. The government’s tough stance against the criminals and due to the constant surveillance of the Prime Minister, the conspiracy fizzled out.
Both Sheikh Hasina and Law Minister Anisul Huq have said that the law will be enacted in Bangladesh with the death penalty for rape. But this change does not guarantee the reduction or zero rape cases. Rather the execution of the law quickly will have some impact. Justice system needs to be revamped.
Change of the government will not alter the occurrence of the rapes. Govt has changed in 2008, but did murder, graft and theft sopped? So, the students on the streets must go back home to concentrate with their education and stay safe.
Finally, a note of caution from this author to all the students and their parents — it is impossible to dislodge the government using rape as an issue.