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Sunday, April 19, 2015, Baishakh 6, 1422 BS, Jamadius Sani 28, 1436 Hijr

Molesters identified but not yet arrested
Pahela Baishakh ignominy at DU
Published : Sunday, 19 April, 2015,  Time : 12:00 AM,  View Count : 295
Mamunur Rashid
The law enforcing agencies, after scrutinising the CCTV footages, have identified seven criminals who were involved in molesting women on the Dhaka University campus during Pahela Baishakh celebration on 14 April.
The members of the laws enforcing agencies, however, are yet to make any headway to nab the offenders although four days after the incident have passed .
A group of youths assaulted and sexually harassed some women at the Suhrawardy Udyan main gate near TSC of Dhaka University during the Bangla New Year celebrations on April 14.
According to police, about 100 CCTV cameras were installed in the area as part of their security detail. Some 19 cameras were installed around the Suhrawardy Udyan alone.
The CCTV footage that police released on Friday clearly shows multiple incidents of sexual assaults on women by five rowdy men during the Pahela Baishakh celebrations on the Dhaka University campus.
Meanwhile, police claim the footage does not show any evidence of sexual assault. Police are still trying to pass the occurrence of sexual assaults as common snatching incidents.
Officials of Shahbagh Police Station told the Daily Observer on Saturday that a group of snatchers were active on Dhaka University campus during Pahela Baishakh celebrations on Tuesday. However, police failed to arrest any snatcher from the area on that day.
The footage at 6:31:27pm shows a girl wearing a red dress is surrounded by a group of four to five youths so that she cannot move. The youths then start groping her. Within seconds, 10 to 15 more men encircled her, each trying to grab her. She is seen in the footage until 6:32:55pm, being assaulted all the while.
The two hours footage from two cameras that police gave to journalists paints a sordid picture.
The Daily Observer has been able to take from the footage at least 130 snaps that show several women being molested by certain groups of youths between 6:22pm and 7:19pm, according to the camera clock. Most of these youths were wearing panjabis.
It also shows a number of other women being pinched by some men, showing thumbs up sign apparently to someone not seen in the footage.
Following Tuesday's incident, the print and electronic media reported that a group of 30 to 40 men molested more than 20 women for over an hour. The footage obtained by this paper does not show this incident, but that is no proof that it did not happen because the footage are from the cameras that covered the footpaths along the Suhrawardy Udyan.
Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) formed two separate probe committees to investigate into the sexual assault and molestation of several women during the Pahela Baishakh celebrations on the Dhaka University campus.
SM Jahangir Alam Sarker, Assistant Deputy Commissioner (Media), told journalists that a probe body comprising Additional Commissioner (Crimes and Operations) of Police, a Joint Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner (East) of Detective Branch of Police.
"Another committee, consisting of Additional Deputy Commissioner (ADC) and DC of Ramna Division, was formed to assist the other body in investigating the matter," he added.
Meanwhile, the High Court directed the Inspector General of Police and the DU Vice Chancellor to investigate the incident and submit separate reports by May 17.
The police said they were continuing the investigation, but the Dhaka University authorities till Saturday evening did not take any move to investigate the incident and identify the culprits.
Sub-Inspector of Shahabag Police Station Abul Kalam Azad filed a case in this connection under the Women and Children Repression Prevention Act 2002 (Amended 2003) on April 15.
Talking to reporters on Saturday, Joint Commissioner of DB Manirul Islam said those involved in the incident will be identified and then brought to book.

Editor : Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury
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