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The rise of Islamic fundamentalism in Bangladesh and its implications for women May 28, 2013

Posted by nishankmotwani in : Bangladesh, By contributor, By country, Guest authors , comments closed

Eshan Motwani

The attack on Nadia Sharmin, a news reporter for Ekushey Television, by a group of Islamist activists last month was a brutal reminder of the wave of anti-secularism that has gripped Bangladesh in recent months. Her perpetrators belonged to the Islamic Group ‘Hefajat-e-Islam Bangladesh’ (hereafter referred to as Hefajat). The group was staging a rally in the capital Dhaka to push a list of demands that stand in clear contradiction to the nation’s secular principles. Sharmin was providing coverage of the protests for her network when the group of activists took notice of her. To them, Sharmin’s presence represented one of the many facets of modern day Bangladesh that they were protesting against, namely the free mixing of males and females. Sharmin, who was fortunate to survive the attack, spoke of her experience from hospital and stated that “fifty-six activists hurled brickbats and water bottled at me at Bijoynagar. They snatched my mobile phone and handbag having several thousand Takas. Then they threw me on the ground and beat me up”. Hefajat’s list of demands further threatens the advances that women like Sharmin have achieved since Bangladesh gained its independence.


The trouble with ‘eve-teasing’: Some perceptions on sexual harassment and violence in India April 5, 2013

Posted by nishankmotwani in : By contributor, India, Motwani, Nishank , comments closed

Nishank Motwani

India is a dangerous country for women and the government is part of the problem rather than the solution. That was the overwhelming conclusion I observed when speaking to men and women on a visit to India (my home country) following the brutal gang rape of a twenty-three year old medical student in Delhi on the night of December 16, 2012. The victim of that heinous act of sexual violence succumbed to her injuries two weeks later, demonstrating the viciousness of the assault that destroyed her life and that of her family. Since then, three horrific cases in March 2013 have highlighted yet again the danger women face in India – the gang rape of a Swiss woman camping with her husband while on a cycling trip through Madhya Pradesh (central India), a British woman jumping off the balcony of her hotel room in Agra fearing a sexual assault by the hotel’s manager and security guard who tried to forcefully enter her room at 3.45am, and the thrashing of a twenty-two year old woman and her father by policemen in Punjab after she sought police assistance against a group of men sexually harassing her.