On October 5, Monday, hundreds of people protested in Shahbag area of Bangladeshi capital Dhaka after a video of a woman being gangraped and tortured by at least nine men went viral on social media. The incident reportedly took place in Noakhali district’s Begumganj upazila on September 2. The victim’s 65-year-old father was also assaulted by some of the alleged rapists at his house in Jagannathpur upazila of Sumangunj, as per reports.
Protesters on Monday carried banners demanding the resignation of home minister Asadduzzam Khan for the government’s failure to stop sexual violence against women in the country.
In another incident, 41-year-old Catholic priest Prodip Gregory of St. John Mary Vianney’s Chursh in Mundumala, Rajshahi, was arrested on September 29 on the charges of confining and raping a minor girl for three days from September 26-28. Protests have erupted in northern Bangladesh following the incident, with human rights groups calling for exemplary punishment for the accused, who has now been suspended from priestly duty.
Gregory was arrested hours after the victim’s elder brother filed a rape case against him in Rajshahi’s Tanore police station. There have been reports of attempts to cover up the case by offering monetary and out-of-court settlements to the family which they rejected. A similar complaint had been filed against Father Gregory in 2010, when he was at the Sacred Heart of Jesus Church in Benedwar. However, according to media reports, not much action was taken other than his being temporarily suspended for some time.
Human rights organization Ain-o-Salish Kendra estimates that more than 632 cases of rape were reported in the country between April and August, which implies that four women were raped every day in the last five months. The rights group added that 142 incidents of attempted rape have also been reported in this period. 29 people have died and five committed suicide after being raped.