We recognise the efficiency with which Rab has arrested the suspected rapist of the Dhaka University student. The arrest has been made in the shortest possible time, within three days of the incident. This proves that our law enforcement agencies are capable of apprehending any criminal if they are directed to do so. Regrettably, this is not the usual response of our law enforcement agencies when it comes to arresting the culprits in most rape cases. What happens usually is that after being raped, the victims have to live in constant fear of further harassment—both by the rapists and their cohorts and by the law enforcers dealing with their case.
According to Rab, the arrestee, Majnu, a 30-year-old drug addict, had earlier raped several female beggars and mentally challenged women near the same place where the rape of the DU student took place. The fact that Majnu could get away previously, even after being a “serial rapist”, speaks volumes about the condition of law and order in the city. Clearly, the widespread protests across the country in this case have prompted the law enforcers to take swift action.
We hope now that our law enforcers would show the same level of efficiency in arresting the rapists in the countless other cases that have been recorded across the country. According to reports by different rights organisations, women and child rape almost doubled in 2019 compared to the previous year. A total of 1,413 women were raped in 2019, according to Ain O Salish Kendra, and at least 1,005 children were raped in the same period, according to Bangladesh Shishu Adhikar Forum. We would like to see prompt action from the law enforcers in this connection.
Moreover, the government should acknowledge that Dhaka is becoming increasingly dangerous for women to live in. In a poll conducted by Thomson Reuters Foundation in 2017, it was ranked the fourth worst megacity for women in terms of sexual violence. The recent rape of the DU student in one of the busiest thoroughfares of the capital has once again made it clear that the city has failed to ensure security for its women commuters. Therefore, ensuring security of women should be on the government’s priority list. The police should identify the places where such crimes usually take place, and deploy its force there 24/7.
Coming back to the issue of the arrest of Majnu, as the Rab has already handed him to the Detective Branch of police, which is now investigating the case, we hope that they will complete their investigation and submit the report in the shortest possible time. The Dhaka University authorities have demanded the rapist’s “exemplary” punishment and the students have demanded that the case be tried under the Speedy Trial Tribunal Act. These demands certainly merit consideration if we are to expect the victim to get justice soon.