POST TIME: 9 March, 2018 00:00 00 AM
Mar 7 Sexual assaults on Dhaka streets
Police trying to identify stalkers
Says home minister
Staff Reporter

Police trying to 
identify stalkers

A woman holding a placard takes part in a rally to mark International Women's Day in Dhaka yesterday. Thousands of women, non-governmental organisations and rights activists took to the streets demanding safer lives for women in the country as well as an improvement in their social conditions. AFP Photo

Home minister Asaduzzaman Khan said yesterday (Thursday) that law enforcers will take action against those who sexually harassed women on streets in Dhaka on Wednesday. “The police are trying to identify the culprits by examining video footage,” he told journalists while addressing a programme on “Promoting Adolescent Nutrition” at the CIRDIP auditorium in Dhaka . He said the media will be informed once the identities are established. Several women alleged that they had been sexually harassed by groups of men on crowded streets of Dhaka on Wednesday.

A public meeting was held at Suhrawardy Udyan on the day. Allegations of sexual harassment of women in the surrounding areas of Shahbagh became viral on the social media. The allegations were made by various Facebook IDs. Questions have been raised whether the allegations are being spread truthfully or they are motivated. Many have urged law enforcement agencies to investigate the matter.

One of them posted on her Facebook wall: “My two hands could not prevent so many hands groping my body. Finally, a police officer rescued me from the gang of molesters, stopped a bus and put me in it."  Narrating the incident, she said she walked to Bangla Motor from Shantinagar as she could not get a bus.

“At Bangla Motor, I was caught in the middle of a procession. Around 15 to 20 people surrounded me and then the obvious happened,” one of the victims wrote on Facebook. She was allegedly harassed in the Bangla Motor area by a group of people walking towards Shahbagh.

She said she was physically well, but mentally devastated. She wanted to leave the country. The woman later removed the post and gave an updated one where she explained the effects of her previous post. The following status was written: 'I'm fine, and I’m healthy. I just customised the post because I did not want it to be politically provocative. I did not update the post for any political reason and also the name of my college was mentioned. There is no relation with my college."

Another Facebook status said: "It is very enjoyable to harass girls when there is a rally or procession." An elder said: 'It is right. Why do you get out of the house? Do you not know there will be more boys on the streets today?"

Another female student wrote on Facebook: "I did not get a rickshaw when I came out of the hall. Nobody was willing to go to Shahbag. So, I walked and reached Central Shaheed Minar. And on March 7, a patriot son of the country began teasing me. He began with dirty words and continued."

On Wednesday, Prime Minister's deputy press secretary, Ashraful Alam Khokon, wrote on Facebook: "Some unexpected events or stories have been heard to dispute the historic March 7 event. I do not know how true it is. Maybe it will be revealed soon. There are CC-cameras everywhere around the mentioned area. It will not be difficult to find out who is responsible for this and what their political identity is. Even if it did not happen, maybe the secret will be revealed. It is better to wait and not react than to get excited and react (sic)."