Minister says DU women assaulters held, cops deny

Some people identified from video footage of sexual assault on women on Dhaka University campus during Bangla New Year celebration have been arrested, state minister for home Asaduzzaman Khan told the parliament today.

However, law enforcement agencies like police and Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) have denied the claim and said they know nothing in this regard.

Eight assaulters were identified from video footages to have sexually abused women during Pahela Baishakh at Dhaka University on April 14. There was a bounty out for their capture.

Today, State Minister Asaduzzaman Khan told the parliament that “some” of those attackers have already been arrested with “one or two” remaining to be captured, reports Bangla daily Prothom Alo.

“All of them have been identified. Some of them have been detained and handed over to law enforcers. One or two of them are left. Will catch them too,” he was quoted saying.

However, contacted later, Muntasirul Islam, deputy commissioner of Dhaka Metropolitan Police and its spokesperson, told The Daily Star that no identified assaulters were in their custody.

“We are trying our best to arrest the assaulters. We are still working hard on it,” he said.

Mufti Mahmud Khan, director of Rab’s legal and media wing and its spokesperson, echoed the same while talking to The Daily Star when contacted. “We are trying our level best in this regard.”

The joyous celebration of the Bangalee’s biggest festival — Pahela Baishakh — was tainted by incidents of sexual assault on women on the Dhaka University campus on April 14 evening – sparking widespread public outrage.

Some 30 to 40 rowdy youths assaulted and sexually harassed around 20 women for about one hour at the Suhrawardy Udyan gate near the TSC area around 6:00pm, according to witnesses.

At first, police denied that any such incident took place. They said that CCTV footages did not show any evidence of the assault. It was from those footages that they later said eight culprits were identified.

The incident sparked countrywide outrage with several student organisations holding protest programmes. At one such programme, police used brute force to quell protesters – which also drew widespread flak.

Source: The Daily Star

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