13 indigenous women and girls subjected to violence in last two months in Bangladesh, 18 alleged attackers on Bichitra Tirki granted bail

In is very alarming that in two months from 11 September to 6November 2014, at least 13 indigenous women and girls (eleven from Chittagong Hill Tracts and two from plain lands) have been subjected to violence including rape, attempt to rape, physical assault and abduction. Two indigenous girls (one is 13 year and another is 4 year old)have been raped by Bengali settlers in Chittagong Hill Tracts.Besides, three indigenous women and girls were physically assaulted, five have been attempted to rape, two young women rescued from captivity and one indigenous woman is attempted to kidnap. Among the victims, the age of five victims is above 18 years and eight victims is below 18.

One of the main causes behind the alarming situation of violence against indigenous women and girl is culture of impunity that enjoy the culprits.For example, 18 persons who have been accused to attack on Bichitra Tirku, an elected UP member and prominent indigenous woman activist, got bail without any punishment in Chapainawabganj district on 24 September 2014. On 4 August 2014, while Bichitra was working in her rice field along with her fellow workers, a group of miscreants led by Afzal Hossain, made an attack on her using sticks and sharp weapons in connection with grabbing the land which she inherited from her husband. A group of Members of Parliament visited the spot and victim and even they raised the issue in the parliament. Home Minister also assured the parliament and countrymen to take stern action against the culprits. Several protests have been organised and memorandum to the government authorities have been submittedby civic rights groups at national and local level. Media made huge coverage on this incidents. However, the 18 accused culprits who were arrested or surrendered to the Court have been granted bail.