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Stalking, BCL and Feminism in Bangladesh

Edit Date:12/30/2010 12:00:00 AM


News from Bangladesh, Wednesday November 10 2010
Those who have a bit longer memory may recall the widespread wave of stalking and violence on women during the first Awami League regime (1972-1975). At that time people very close to the power structure teased and abducted women, which caused big problems. 

We still remember some unpleasant stories involving Sheikh Kamal and Sheikh Jamal. After a long break of more than thirty years we are now witnessing another large-scale and countrywide frenzied stalking and teasing, whose victims are young women of all classes and denominations. While people belonging to the two big opposition parties, BNP and Jamaat, are being tortured, killed and imprisoned for even practising their basic democratic rights, it is difficult to believe that they would dare to tease or stalk school and college girls. The daredevils who are wreaking havocs on beautiful young women are none but those involved in the student wing of the ruling Awami League party. Our short-time memory also reminds us of the ‘sex politics’ of the female members of BCL of Eden College that made newspaper headlines few months ago. 

If Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) becomes a byword for violence, teasing, stalking, sex and admission business, and oppression on journalists, it does not augur good for the country. Being a woman, our Prime Minister should realize more the suffering of women who are the victims of these social ills. We have heard many stern words from her with regard to the lawlessness of her ‘boys’; but unfortunately we have not seen any practical action so far. We do not want to hear any big statements on the unruly behaviour of BCL urchins. We humbly request the Prime Minister to deal with them. It is not good for the country to have a government that has jam-packed the prisons with opposition people and let loose the mad ones inside it and its affiliate wings. 

I just wonder what would be the reaction of few prominent ‘feminist’ organizations in our country, such as Nari Pakkha and Mohila Samiti, if the affiliates of BNP or Jamaat were involved in such widespread violence on women and rape cases! The silence of the feminist bodies in Bangladesh and beyond about BCL members’ stalking and teasing creates doubts in our minds about their sincerity to fight for women’s causes. Or, are these feminist bodies some sub-branches of the Awami League? I believe such feminist organizations should be above parochial political considerations and fight against women’s oppressors in general. 
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