04/17/2014, 00.00
BANGLADESH

Bangladesh, tribal Catholic gang raped: Christians and Muslims demand justice

by Sumon Corraya
The rapists were four Muslim youths. The victim , 21, survived and reported her rapists , "I want them to go on trial". Student activist denounces : "When it comes to tribal women police do not want to deal with the case ."

Dhaka (AsiaNews) - More than 100 Christians and Muslims demonstrated yesterday in Dhaka against the gang rape suffered by a young Catholic woman. The violence took place on April 14 in Mohammadour , a district of the capital, during the celebration of the Bengali New Year. She was attacked by four Muslim boys . The victim, a 21-year old ethnic Garo , survived and reported them.

The young woman called Mary Thigidi Purnima and is native of the parish of Mariamnagar , in the diocese of Mymensingh . She works in Dhaka as a beautician in the "Person" beauty center.

On the day of the attack the victim was going to celebrate with a cousin when four Muslim boys accosted her, dragged her away and raped her. After the violence Purnima was able to call her brother in law, who was looking for her . After finding her, the girl filed a complaint against her attackers and one of them - Alif Ahmed - has already been arrested . The police is on the trail of the others.

The girl and her family do not feel protected: the relatives of the rapists continue to threaten them, warning them to drop the charges. But Purnima explains: "Many girls do not report rapes out of fear, but that's why so many perpetrators remain free. Instead I want them to be brought before the courts".

Among those present at yesterday's event were many Christian students, and even some Muslims. The protest was organized by the Bangladesh Garo Chatra Sangathan (BGCS), a Garo tribal student organization. The President Sabuj Nokrek told AsiaNews : " If the tribal women are raped , the police do not want to deal with the case. The don't investigate properly or provide security to the families of the victims. This worries us".

According to data released during the protest , since the beginning of 2014 at least nine tribal women have suffered sexual violence , and two of them were killed after the attack . In 2013, a total of 67 tribal women and girls were raped .

 

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