05/25/2015, 00.00
BANGLADESH
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All religious groups condemn the rape of a Catholic tribal woman

by Sumon Corraya
The 21-year old ethnic Garo is currently recuperating at the Tejgaon's Victim Support Centre. Five rapists are still at large. The attack took place on minibus in the capital. The Bishop of Mymensingh, where the young woman hails from, calls for "exemplary punishment” for the attackers.

Dhaka (AsiaNews) – The gang rape of a 21-year-old Catholic woman inside a minibus in Dhaka last Wednesday has caused outrage in Bangladesh.

The young woman, who is an ethnic Garo, comes from the Diocese of Mymensingh. After going to the One-stop Crisis Centre of Dhaka Medical College Hospital, she was taken to Tejgaon's Victim Support Centre.

Police in Vatara began an investigation, but no one has been arrested yet.

"I am deeply saddened. We cannot tolerate such an attack against our people,” said Mgr Ponen Paul Kubi, bishop of Mymensingh, who, like the victim, is an ethnic Garo. “I ask for an exemplary punishment for the rapists,” he told AsiaNews.

The young college student works part time at the Jamuna Future Park, Bangladesh’s largest shopping mall. According to her sister, she was forced into a minibus around 9.30 pm, and dropped off two hours later in front of a shoe store on Jasimuddin road.

Although the area is monitored by CCTV cameras, police said that the videos were of not use to the investigation.

The victim told police that she saw one of the rapists inside the shopping mall a few hours before the attack. He asked her some questions and then left.

According to investigators, the rapist decided to abduct and rape the young woman after he spoke to her.

Yesterday, thousands of people from all religious backgrounds and more than 50 organisations took part in a protest rally in favour of the victim and against violence against women.

"Young people are becoming more disorderly because schools do not teach morality anymore,” Catholic human rights activist Rosaline Costa told AsiaNews. “Even in good schools, female students and teachers are harassed."

"We have dozens of laws, but they are not enforced,” the activist noted. “Police officers are sometimes involved in such crimes and come out clean. The result is that young people feel encouraged” in this kind of behaviour.

According to Costa, "schools should give lessons in morality, and the police should do their job properly, bringing perpetrators to justice."

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