Feb 15, 2011

Chittagong Hill Tracts: Protesters Demand Justice Over Rape

The rape of a Tripura woman shows that the sexual abuse of particularly tribal woman is still all too common in an area where government settlement policies have long caused social problems.

Below is an article published by Cathnews India: 

Students and rights organizations in an area of Bangladesh have demonstrated on the streets against the alleged rape of a tribal Catholic woman.

Emarung, 22, a tribal Tripura woman and mother, was allegedly raped by five or six Bengali men in the Bandarban district of southeastern Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT).

They apparently attacked her while she was collecting firewood from the forest. Her hands were seriously injured as she struggled to get free. 

Local police arrested one suspected culprit, whom the victim was able to identify while she is undergoing treatment at the district hospital. 

Demonstrators rallied and handed in a memorandum of protest to the deputy commissioner, the highest government official in the district. They also visited the victim in hospital and assured her of assistance and care. 

Brojendra, financial secretary of Bangladesh Tripura Christian Students’ Association, said: “We demand the arrest and punishment of the criminals according to existing law.” 

He claimed that if police fail to arrest all the culprits, the case will add more fuel to an ongoing conflict between Bengali and tribal people in the CHT. 

Romesh, who heads a Church-run boarding hostel in Bandarban, said: “Sexual abuse and torture of women and children, especially tribals, have increased all over the country.” 

Supriti, 30, a Women Resource and Durbar Network official, agreed and hoped that law enforcers will arrest the culprits, punish them and compensate the victim.