01/04/2022, 13.02
BANGLADESH
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Garo Catholic girls raped by young Muslims in Mymensingh

by Sumon Corraya

The gang-rape took place on 28 December. The perpetrators (who are known) are still at large. Despite formal complaints, police have not yet taken action because of pressure from rapists’ families. The Bangladesh Garo Adibashi League and St Peter's school Protest staged a protest.

Mymensingh (AsiaNews) – The gang-rape of two ethnic Garo girls, aged only 14 and 15, has sent shockwaves and caused outrage in Bangladesh’s Catholic community.

In spite of formal complaints to the authorities, the crime appears to be still unpunished because police seem unwilling to act.

A week after the attack, the authors are still at large, although their identity is known and they have a history of committing such acts.

The two young Garo girls, both secondary school students, are from Biroidakuni parish. On 28 December, they were gang-raped by about 10 Muslim men in Katabari, ​Mymensingh (Dhaka division).

The families waited a few days to go public with their stories, also due to the psychological trauma suffered by the victims.

On 30 December, the parents of one of the two filed a complaint with the police at the Haluaghat police station; however, officers have so far failed to take any action, partly because of pressure from rapists’ families.

The incident occurred around 2 am in the Katabari area, when the two girls were going home after a party for the wedding anniversary of a relative.

As soon as they arrived near Mahtab Uddin's Ekasia Garden, they were verbally than physically harassed. Eventually, the attackers took them to an isolated area where the rape took place, and threatened to kill them in case they reported it.

Yesterday, Bangladesh Garo Adibashi League and members of St Peter's Primary School staged a protest to denounce these attacks, drawing about a hundred Christians. Protesters demanded exemplary penalties for the perpetrators.

Bangladesh Garo Adibashi League secretary Leon Rema told AsiaNews that the entire community is in state of shock because of the gang-rape. “We heard that the relatives of the rapists showed no fear” of possible indictments and this “deeply outrages us”.

“We demand the rapid arrest and exemplary punishment of the rapists” because, otherwise, in a climate of impunity, others will feel entitled to act the same way in the future. "If we do not get justice, the Garo community will conduct a rally soon.”

The 10 accused are Solayman Hossian Reyad (thought to be the gang leader), who already faces several charges in other cases, Sharif, Azaz Hossian, Ramjan Ali, Kawsar, Asadul, Shafiqual Islam, Mizan, Rukun and Mamun, aged 19 to 22.

A few months ago, Reyad was arrested for alcohol possession and released on bail. A year ago, he tried to rape another Garo woman.

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