The incidence of violence against women, particularly rape, has increased significantly in recent months compared to previous years, according to a report of Bangladesh Mahila Parishad. Rapes against minors have doubled in the second quarter of 2019, according to the Bangladesh Shishu Adhikar Forum (BSAF).
At least 164 children were raped in the first quarter of 2019, but the rapes doubled within three months, ballooning to 332 from April to June at 102%, according to BSAF. The numbers indicate that at least 496 children were raped in the first six months of the year, an average of 82 victims per month. Covering the same time period, a total 2,158 children were subjected to various types of violence, including murder, rape, and torture. Among them, 988 children reportedly died of unnatural causes, and 726 children experienced sexual abuse and exploitation.
The Supreme Court (SC) extended for two months its stay on a High Court order that halted a Bangladesh Bank circular allowing defaulters to reschedule their loans by depositing 2 percent of the amount they owe as down payment, with a repayment period of upto 10 years. The apex court however issued a condition saying that the loan defaulters would not be allowed to get further loans.
The court also asked the HC bench led by Justice JBM Hassan to hear and dispose of the petition filed in this regard within two months. A four-member bench of the Appellate Division of the SC headed by Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain passed the order after a petition filed recently by the Finance Ministry seeking stay on the HC order.
Several thousand rickshaw-pullers blocked the capital’s Atish Dipankar Road, protesting a new ban on rickshaws covering three major thoroughfares. The demonstrations would continue until the authorities lifted the ban, they said. The protesters blocked the road at Maniknagar, Mugda, Gulabbagh and Sayedabad for around 6 hours, causing severe congestion that spilled over nearby areas, said Anwar Hossain, deputy commissioner (Motijheel division) of Dhaka Metropolitan Police.
On July 3, a committee led by Dhaka South City Corporation Mayor Sayeed Khokon decided to keep rickshaws off the roads between Kuril and Sayedabad via Rampura and Khilgaon, Gabtoli to Azimpur via Asad Gate, and the part of Elephant Road stretching from the Science Laboratory intersection to Shahbagh. The ban came into effect July 7.
The Bangladesh Parliament passed the Animal Welfare Bill 2019 which will replace the existing colonial-era Cruelty to Animals Act of 1920. The law aims to stop cruelty towards animals, ensure responsibility for their welfare, and define the duties of their owners. Slaughtering of animals in accordance with religious customs and laws will not be considered animal cruelty under the new law.
However, stray animals not owned by any individual must be treated with compassion according to the new law, which also prohibits the unnecessary killing of an animal by euthanasia, or keeping an animal captive for 24 hours. Anyone found violating provisions of the new law will be jailed for six months or fined Tk 10,000, or both. Previously, the punishment was three months or a Tk 1000 fine.