A birthday party in an upmarket area of town, young men and women, alleged sexual abuse, recording of the scenes, revelation after a month, police case and accused young men on the run – the city is now in the grip of the Banani double rape incident. Or, alleged double rape, since the crime has not been proved as yet.
But, when accused people go on into hiding, there is reason to believe that something is amiss. The main alleged perpetrator in question, the scion of a jewelry dynasty, is from an affluent background while his cohorts also have, according to newspaper reports, murky sides to their characters. Newspapers have unearthed a lot of background, though sorry to say, the law has been very lethargic in giving out any details.
There have been rumours of men in uniform being bribed so as to ensure that the prime accused are not apprehended and, realistically speaking, in the entrenched belief that the law, used recklessly as a political tool, has been and is often manipulated to serve the interest of those with connections, one can say that the allegations of negligence directed against them is hardly an exaggeration.
The funny thing is when we see that despite knowing that the accused is not living in his home in Gulshan, the law keeps on carrying out searches of the premises.
What do they take the masses to be? A nation of imbeciles, perhaps!
The father of the alleged perpetrator has said that his son had been blackmailed. Okay, we take his statement but the sudden disappearance of the young man indicates that he has something to hide.
If one is confident of innocence then there is no need to run; and mind you, the son can easily come in front of all and boldly state his innocence since he is not a Tom, Dick or Harry, but the son of a socially established person, presumably with connections in the right places.
A government official recently said the law cannot be influenced; the authorities will carry out their tasks ignoring all enticement of bribery.
Yes, sounds very moral. But perhaps the real picture is different. An honest survey needs to done as to how the masses in Bangladesh perceive the law enforcers and what sort of influencing goes on, both politically and financially.
The truth, please, not vacuous lines or platitudes!
The police could not, till the writing of this article, catch the man and his acolytes. I shall not term them criminals because the allegations have not been proved as yet, but common sense states: no reason to run if there isn’t any guilt.
Any whiff of militancy anywhere and the law is present in minutes, yet, with a few known faces roaming around the country and no one is able to even trace their whereabouts.
Maybe these guys have Dr Who’s Tardis!
The demand is not for the punishment of the men, at least not yet, but to see them face the media and the society to give their version of the story.
Meanwhile, other murky details have come up which seem to state that the men in question were Yaba takers.
For those who are still in the dark about the impact of Yaba, a methamphetamine based drug, this is taken mainly to boost energy, a sense of euphoria and enhance libido.
The takers feel a sudden surge of invincibility, leading them to commit things they would not under normal circumstances.
Over time, the number of tablets to trigger such feelings increase, eventually leading to total dependence and multiple organ failure.
Again, we do not know for certain if the guys in question took Yaba or not or, if the girls with them on the night of the alleged rape also took the drug, but the smoke could have been cleared if the men had appeared before all to give their story.
That did not happen; on top of everything, the father, a gold merchant, has said his son is the victim of blackmail.
Once more, we are compelled to ask a rational question: What sort of blackmail? If the girls had blackmailed the men in question, then what evidence did they have?
This also calls for a detailed list of the ‘blackmail’ demands.
There is talk of a recorded video. Who has this video? Does the recorded clip show that the women were either forced or drugged or does it show consensual sexual intimacy?
We also come to the women. Guarding their identity is essential but their social background needs to be known too.
Questions are many; most are unanswered. This suppression of facts creates the ground for salacious gossip to perpetuate.
This only makes the unearthing of the truth more complex.
While the people begin to seriously doubt the efficacy of the law, a feeling that affluence can overrule everything is beginning to take hold in our minds.
To keep in mind: the men in question and their families won’t be the only ones to be the subject of public revulsion.
(Editor’s Note: This article was written before two of the accused in the rape case in question were arrested in Sylhet.)