Bangla court declares stalking of women as offense

The maximum sentence for sexual harassment is now ten years of imprisonment, and the minimum is three years.

Dhaka: The High Court here has declared stalking of women as "sexual harassment", warranting imprisonment for 3-10 years amid a massive anti-stalking campaign in Bangladesh.

A High Court bench comprising judges M Imman Ali and Sheikh Hassan Arif also asked the government to properly define "sexual harassment" in the law, and replace the term "eve teasing" with "stalking" as a sexual offence under the Women and Children Repression Prevention Act.

According to the act, the maximum sentence for
sexual harassment is now ten years of imprisonment, and the
minimum is three years.

The order came on a writ petition filed by a rights
group while the bench also suggested incidents of stalking of
girls and women at any place in the country have to be brought
under trial in accordance with the law.

It also ordered formation of a separate unit or team
at every police station across the country to prevent sexual
harassment at private or public places such as educational
institutions, workplace, transports, markets, bus stops,
railway stations and parks.

The development came two months after the High Court
ordering stern police actions against bullying.

Junior Minister for Home Shamsul Haque Tuku earlier
said the government already ordered mobile courts to launch
anti-bullying campaign.

The anti-stalking campaign was intensified since
October 12 last year when stalkers ran over college teacher
Mizanur Rahman with a motorcycle for standing up against them.
Later, he succumbed to his wounds after being on life-support
for 12 days.

Two days after Rahman`s death, a 48-year-old woman was
killed in a similar manner by 24-year old boy for protesting
the sexual harassment of her daughter.

According to a legal rights group Ain O Salish Kendra,
at least 25 women committed suicide to escape the horror of
stalking, while nine males lost their lives for standing up
against such stalkers in the nine months before filing of the
petition, the Daily Star reported.


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