Cabinet approves bill for death penalty to rapists...

Dhaka, Thursday   29 October 2020

Cabinet approves bill for death penalty to rapists

 Staff Correspondent

 Published: 11:32 AM, 12 October 2020   Updated: 02:24 PM, 12 October 2020

File Photo

File Photo

In the face of strong demands, a proposal to amend the ‘Prevention of Violence against Women and Children Act 2000’ to keep the provision of the death penalty as the maximum punishment for rape has been passed in the Cabinet meeting on Monday.

It was presented at the Cabinet meeting in the morning with the aim of amending the law to provide the death penalty as the maximum punishment for rape.

Earlier on Sunday, Law Minister Anisul Huq said, “Following the directive of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, an initiative had been taken to amend the death penalty for rape. The draft of the amended law will be placed before the next cabinet meeting for approval.”

According to the Law and Arbitration Center, 975 rape cases were reported from January to September this year - which means, on average, there are more than a hundred rapes every month. 

According to analysts, such crimes are not diminishing due to patriarchal attitudes, misogyny in society, patronage to criminals - and in that case, the state has to take the main role.

They also said that the politicization of social movements often becomes an obstacle in achieving the main objective.

As per the section 375 of the Penal Code 1860: “Whoever commits rape shall be punished with 2 [imprisonment] for life or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine, unless the woman raped is his own wife and is not under twelve years of age, in which case he shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.” 

According to the law of Bangladesh, “A man is said to commit “rape” who except in the case hereinafter excepted, has sexual intercourse with a woman under circumstances falling under any of the five following descriptions:

Firstly, against her will. 

Secondly, without her consent.

Thirdly, with her consent, when her consent has been obtained by putting her in fear of death, or of hurt.

Fourthly, with her consent, when the man knows that he is not her husband and that her consent is given because she believes that he is another man to whom she is or believes herself to be lawfully married.

Fifthly, with or without her consent, when she is under fourteen years of age.

Explanation: Penetration is sufficient to constitute the sexual intercourse necessary to the offence of rape.

Exception: Sexual intercourse by a man with his own wife, the wife not being under thirteen years of age, is not rape.”

Recently, a young woman was gang-raped by miscreants after tying up her husband at the dormitory of Murari Chand (MC) College in Sylhet. Besides, a video went viral on social media, in which it has been seen that a housewife was tortured and sexually harassed by some local miscreants in Noakhali's Begumganj. 

A nationwide outrage has begun over these incidents. Protests against the growing incidents of rape, sexual harassment and violence against women have been continued over the country.

People took to the streets and social networking sites to register their strong protests. Women blacked out their Facebook profile photos condemning the incidents of violence against women. Some male FB users also joined the protest programme. 

Protesting the incidents, from all walks of life, including students, across the country staged demonstrations demanding capital punishment of the rapists.