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Mass gathering at Shahbagh as anti-rape protest rolls on for five days

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Staff Reporter :
Thousands of people and leaders and activists from different student organisations took to the streets in capital Dhaka and elsewhere across the country protesting against the growing incidents of rape, sexual harassment and violence against women for the fifth day on Friday.   
The protesters, including general people and students from different educational institutions, continued their protest under the banner of "Dhorshon O Bicharhinotar Biruddhe Bangladesh" (Bangladesh against rape and impunity) gathered at Shabagh intersection to protest against the rape incident.
To protest the incident, Chhatra Odhikar Parishad also organised a similar rally in front of the Jatiya Press Club yesterday.
Meanwhile, police foiled an anti-rape protest in Rajshahi yesterday. A group of students from different institutions gathered in city's Shahebbazar zero point area to protest against the rape. Later, police dispersed the protesters.
At Shahbagh, the protesters gathered at around 3:30pm and started demonstrations shouting slogans "hang the rapists", "break silence, break the chain" and "boycott the rapists".
According to human rights organisation Ain-o-Salish Kendra (ASK), between January and September this year, nearly 1,000 rape cases were reported, including 208 gang rapes.
The recent gang-rape incident at Sylhet MC College and housewife molestation in Begumganj of Noakhali fueled the protests. Amid the protests, there was report of a housewife being gang-raped in Chattogram on Friday.
The demonstrators are demanding exemplary punishment and speedy trial of the rapists.
They carried placards with writings - "no mercy to rapist", "please tell me, am I next?" "rape is not apolitical" "women's clothing is not the problem, it's your eyes".
Thousands of protesters, mostly leaders and activists of Bangladesh Chhatra League, left-leaning student bodies -- Bangladesh Chhatra Union, Socialists Students Front, Bangladesh Chhatra Federation and other social organisations such as Bangladesh Udichi
Shilpigosthi, Save The Women and people from all walk of life took to the streets protesting against rape incidents in Shahbagh and in front of the Jatiya Press Club.
Some protesters also called for the resignation of Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal over the government's failure to address the alarming rise in sexual violence against women and girls in the country.
Criticising Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan's remarks on rape, Anik Roy, general secretary of Bangladesh Chhatra Union said the home minister came up with his remarks when the country is going through a growing surge of rape incidents.
The Home Minister at a programme in Dhaka recently said the rape is happening all over the world.
Demanding his immediate resignation, Anik Roy said the remarks of home minister will intensify rape incidents. The speakers at the programme also demanded to bring all rapists to book regardless of their political affiliation.
The protesters announced they will march from Dhaka to Noakhali on October 16 and a grand rally will be held there on October 17 to press home their demands.
The Law Minister on Thursday said they are proposing amendment to the law at the directive of the Prime Minister, with death penalty as the highest punishment for rape instead of life imprisonment.
Meanwhile, several Islamic parties staged a demonstration against rapes in front of of Baitul Mokarram Mosque after the Jummah Prayers.
Alongside protests on the streets, citizens, especially women, resorted to digital protest using different social media platforms to raise their voices against rape, sexual assault, harassment, and torture of women.

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