Abul Bashar, 50, the Imam of Noyabari mosque in Comilla, Bangladesh has been arrested on charges of holding a 14-year-old female madrasa student in captivity for two days and repeatedly raping her.
The Imam kept her confined at his home and abused the girl between July 22 and 23. By July 24, after repeated violations the girl became sick. Bashar left her with her brother and fled and was absconding since. The girl’s father filed a case accusing Bashar his daughter’s private Arabic tutor of raping her.
Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) opened an investigation and arrested Bashar following a late-night raid on 3rd August. Major Sakir from RAB, confirmed that Bashar confessed to raping after he tricked her and confined the victim at his home. Even though the government introduced the death penalty for rape in November last year, multiple such sexual assaults on women are an everyday occurrence in Bangladesh.
In early April, police arrested a madrasa teacher Billal Hossain from the Shubhpur Wasakia Qurania Madrasa and Orphanage in Boxganj of Comilla for raping a 9-year-old girl. In the afternoon, after classes, Billal dismissed all the madrasa students, took the minor girl into a room of the madrasa, and raped her. The rape survivor is a first grader in this madrasa.
The girl went home where her mother saw her bleeding in the genitals. Her parents took her to Nangalkot Upazila Health Complex in critical condition. Her condition deteriorated and she was admitted to Comilla Medical College Hospital for advanced treatment
On April 12th, Kausar Majumder, 28, raped a ninth-grade madrasa girl in Nangalkot, Comilla. At around 2 am, when she went out of the house to use the outdoor toilet, Kausar grabbed her by the face and took her to a building nearby where he raped her. When she tried to shout, Kausar threatened to kill her by holding a knife to her throat and hit her on the nose while raping her!
He then abandoned the young girl in the building and fled the spot. She screamed for help and was rescued from the building. The rapist is still on the run.
In Feb, Mohammad Hasan, the headmaster of Ummehani Mahila Madrasa, was arrested from the institution on allegations of sexually harassing female students in Muradnagar of Comilla.
Madrasa students informed teachers about sexual harassment by the headmaster and the teachers called a meeting to resolve the issue. On the day of the meeting, Hasan locked the students in a room before the teachers arrived at the madrasa.
Locals started to protest and managed to get them out of the room. As news of the incident spread, guardians and locals got enraged and staged demonstrations in front of the institution. It was then that the police went to the spot and apprehended Hasan.
Teachers of the madrasa said students often made allegations of sexual harassment against Mohammad and that many of them were expelled from the institution later! Earlier in 2019, Hasan, who established the madrasa, was sent to jail on charges of sexually harassing a 10-year-old student and was out on bail!
Bangladeshi aid agencies say that most women are afraid to report rape. 26,695 rape cases were filed across the country in the past five years. NGOs helping rape victims say that 1,018 children were raped in the last year alone, but only 683 police cases had been filed. Of those, 116 rape survivors were six years old or below.
1,627 rape cases were reported last year and 53 of the women were killed by the rapists while 14 took their own lives. From Jan till June this year the country saw 532 rapes and 139 gang rapes. Mullahs are now targeting minors and atrocities against them are on the rise.
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