Demonstrators announced countrywide protest rallies on October 19 and highway blockades on October 21
At least 20 protesters were injured in Feni as unidentified miscreants attacked an anti-rape long march on its way to Noakhali.
"A group of miscreants attacked us with sticks when we started to march towards the Feni District Administration after a rally in the Cumilla bus stand area in Feni," Imon Habib, assistant general secretary of Juba Union, told The Business Standard.
Meanwhile, demonstrators announced countrywide protest rallies on October 19 and highway blockades on October 21, reports our Laxmipur correspondent.
During the attack, brickbats were also hurled at their Noakhali-bound buses, injuring many activists.
The injured protesters were rushed to a hospital in Noakhali's Chowmuhani.
The long march that started from Dhaka's Shahbagh was on its way to Noakhali – where a housewife was tortured, stripped naked and filmed.
Apart from the Noakhali assault, protests against rape and violence against women have been continuing across the country since the beginning of October following a gang-rape in Sylhet's MC College.
In the wake of widespread protests, President M Abdul Hamid recently promulgated an ordinance allowing death penalty as the highest punishment for rape, in place of life imprisonment.
The nine-point demand-
- Exemplary punishment of those involved in rapes and violence against women across Bangladesh. The Home Minister must resign for his "failure" to stop rape and torture on women.
- Sexual and social violence must stop against women of ethnic minorities in hilly areas and other parts of the country.
- All public and private offices, and educational institutions must form anti-sexual harassment cells in line with High Court directives. The government must fully implement the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). It must also abolish laws and practices that help perpetuate gender-based inequality.
- Hate speech against women must be declared as a punishable offence. Women cannot be objectified in literature, drama, cinema, and advertisements. BTCL must play an effective role in controlling pornography. The government will have to sponsor healthy cultural practices.
- Mental harassment of rape victims must stop during investigations. Their legal and social security must be ensured.
- Crime and gender experts must be included in women and children repression prevention tribunals. More tribunals must be set up for quick disposal of cases.
- Laws on DNA evidence must be followed in settling rape cases, and the 1872-155(4) provision of the Witness Act must be abolished.
- Discriminatory or hateful texts, photos, or objectionable language targeting women must be avoided in curriculum.
- Any attempt to cover up rape incidents by rural arbitration must be treated as a punishable offense.
From the final rally of the anti-rape long march in Noakhali, demonstrators announced protest rallies across the country on October 19 and highway blockades on October 21.
They blamed the government for protecting rapists and demanded the resignation of the "failed" Home Minister.
They also want justice for those who shelter rapists.
"Chhatra League, backed by the ruling party, has carried out attacks on our peaceful long march. How many more times will you beat us? The youth of this country will continue the fight. Our movement will go on," said Mehedi Hasan Nobel, president of Bangladesh Chhatra Union.
Mollah Habibur Rasul Mamun, Noakhali coordinator of the rally and president of Udichi Shilpi Gosthi, presided over the concluding rally of the Dhaka-Noakhali long march, held on Saturday from 4pm to 6pm at the Central Shaheed Chattar in Noakhali's district town of Maizdi.
Charan Sanskritik Kendra Noakhali General Secretary, Palash, moderated the event.
Masud Rana, president of a faction of Chhatra Front; Al Qadri Joy, president of a faction of Samajtantrik Chhatra Front; Jamshed Anwar Tapan, general secretary of Bangladesh Udichhi Shilpi Gosthi; Habib Imon, assistant general secretary of Bangladesh Juba Union; Laxmi Chakrabarty, presidium member of Communist Party of Bangladesh; Nikhil Das, in-charge of Charan Sangskritik Kendra; Golam Mostafa of Bangladesh Chhatra Federation and Sima Dutta of Bangladesh Nari Mukti also spoke at the rally.