There was another incident of rape on a moving bus. On Friday, a 22-year-old garment worker was gang-raped on a moving bus in Ashulia on the outskirts of Dhaka on her way back to Narayanganj from her sister’s house in Manikganj. In this incident, the question of women’s safety in public transport has come to the fore again.
According to various agencies, including the law enforcement agencies, 51 women have been raped on buses across the country in the last four years. Hundreds of women have complained of sexual harassment during this time. And as part of the Bangladesh Passenger Welfare Association, at least 32 women were raped on public transport in the 14 months of 2018-19. However, many do not complain to avoid harassment with fear of social stigma. So the people concerned think that the actual incident will be more.
According to a study by ActionAid, 49 percent of women in the country feel unsafe in public transport and 47 percent in public services.
Experts say those involved in such incidents need to ensure exemplary punishment quickly. So that no one would dare to commit such a crime later. The National Girl Child Advocacy Forum believes that closed circuit cameras (CC cameras) should be installed inside buses to prevent such crimes.
Dhaka District Superintendent of Police Maruf Hossain Sardar told Kaler Kanth on Saturday that he had received two allegations of rape on a bus in the area in the two years since he took charge. Those involved in the incident were quickly arrested shortly after the two incidents.
Khandaker Al Moin, director (commander) of the RAB’s law and media branch, made almost the same demand. He said that not only this incident, if any crime was committed in the area including Ashulia, RAB would rush there quickly.
The way ‘unsafe’ Ashulia
Dhaka district police sources say, Ashulia is a gateway to Dhaka. Buses of different routes ply this route. Regular short distance public transport runs in Manikganj, Gazipur, Narayanganj and other districts around Dhaka. Many long distance buses also pass through here. There are many garment factories in Ashulia area as well as many other factories. As a result, there is pressure of passengers in the area even at night. Considering all these, especially at night, more than 100 policemen are in charge of security in the 25 police patrol team. The RAB is also patrolling the area.
The reporter spoke to some garment workers who regularly travel on this route on Saturday. They said they were sexually harassed in various ways on the bus. At night the situation is a little more uncontrollable. When getting up, the helpers should stand or extend their hands in the name of helping so that they cringe. Sometimes the hand is given directly to the body. The women said they did not complain for fear of public embarrassment.
Khairul Mamun Mintu, organizing secretary of the Garment Workers Trade Union Center, told Kaler Kantha on Sunday that various alleys, including the Savar-Ashulia highway, were plunged into darkness after dusk. As a result, women workers were harassed in various ways on their way home from the factory. In most cases, members of the juvenile gang are involved.
Complaining that such incidents are happening due to inactivity of police and industrial police, he added that in order to remedy this, lights have to be provided in alleys including highways. Police patrols should be increased. Authorities can arrange lights around the factory on their own initiative.
According to police and RAB sources, there is a huge criminal ring in Ashulia and Savar areas. Many of them are transport workers. Again, many people commit crimes by floating around.
Police say they are trying to handle the situation by holding frequent meetings with transport owners. Police believe that bus owners should play a responsible role in ensuring the safety of women on the bus.
Asked about this, Khandaker Enayet Ullah, general secretary of Dhaka Road Transport Owners’ Association, told Kaler Kantha on Sunday afternoon, “Such crimes are not justifiable in any way. In this case, we have a ‘zero tolerance’ policy. ”
Asked what kind of action is being taken by the owners’ association, he said, “Look, bus owners are not involved in such activities. Some transport workers are involved. We have met with transport workers’ leaders at various times and asked them to take strict action in this regard. I have asked those who will be involved in such activities to hand them over to the law and order forces. He said that even if the law is changed if necessary, exemplary punishment should be given to such criminals