Protibadi Nari Gano Shomabesh
11 May 2013 | Dhaka | Women groups in Bangladesh held a rally in the National Press Club to oppose Hifazat-e Islam’s 13-point charter of demands that seeks to deny gender equality in Bangladesh.
The rally started at 3:00pm in front of the National Press Club, hundreds of women took part. The event was originally scheduled for the 27th of April but was postponed due to the Rana Plaza collapse and then on account of strikes which were held by the opposition parties. A one minute silence was held for the victims of Savar Rana Plaza collapse.
The groups had organised the event in response to the radical thirteen point demand which was announced by Hefajat. The demands targeted secularism and gender equality, which is why Hefajat made demands to scrap the national womens policy and the punishment for those described as ‘atheist bloggers.’
The event began with the singing of the national anthem and songs by Banglaedesh’s Udichi Shilpi Gosthi.
“We want a non-communal, democratic Bangladesh that can ensure equality of men and women,” was the slogan of the rally. The speakers of the rally called for protection of the rights of all citizens, irrespective of gender, ethnicity and religion. They said fundamentalist forces must be re assessed and religion-driven politics banned from the country.
Sultana Kamal, Executive Director, Ain o Salish Kendra, Liberation War researcher Rokeya Kabir, women’s rights activists Khushi Kabir, Shirin Akhter, Mita Haque and indigenous female leader Rebecca Soren addressed the protest rally chaired by feminist leader Ayesha Khanam.
Sultana Kamal: We reject the 13 points demand of Hefazat-e-Islam. The minorities were the target of their attacks from the beginning. As women raised their voices against them, realising the power of the women in the country, they targeted women.
When women begin to rise in society, take social responsibilities, participate in politics and make themselves self-sufficient, anti Human Rights entities deem these
developments as a threatening force.
Sultana Kamal called on the government to fulfill their commitment to reinstate the 1972 constitution before the election. It is the moral duty of the government to revisit the articles which are against the rights of women in the Constitution.
Khushi Kabir: Posed an interesting question to Hefajat. '’You have been given birth by women and now you are taking position against women!. The country will be ruled by the constitution, not by your words'’.
Ayesha Khanom: It is the time to ban Jamat-Shibir and their associate Hefajat. We brought the liberation through sacrificing the blood of millions and now the politics of vote and the religious fanatics force is threatening the spirit of our liberation.
“The intention to rob women of their human rights for the sake of politics must be stopped. Legal action must be taken against the organisations and individuals who are involved in it,"
(Declaration at the End of the Rally)
The protesters also demanded that CEDAW* Convention (international bill of rights for women)’ be fully implemented for ensuring equality of men and women and as well as the reflection of National Women policy.
*CEDAW - Convention to Eliminate all forms of Discrimination Against Women - Read More
Pictures from the Day
May 12, 2013