A Social Disease
'Eve teasing', in recent times has taken so acute a turn that it has become almost impossible for young women to move freely both in urban and rural areas.
Many young girls are being forced to discontinue their education due to the harassment. Sometimes it becomes so unbearable that some girls cannot choke back humiliation and commit suicide. It is good that efforts are being made to sensitise the police about the issue and police already started rounding up the perpetrators. The deployment of police in front of girls' schools and colleges will also prove effective. Apart from that our media can also play a great role by arranging a healthy source of entertainment that could stop moral degradation to a great extent. We should take some effective steps through which we can fight this:
-Every parent has to take full responsibility to counsel their teenage sons in regard to harassment on the street. They must be taught to behave in a responsible way.
-Elders such as neighbours, friends, teachers, religious leaders, community leaders and so on have to come forward to establish an enabling environment where all the teenage boys and girls can interact in a healthy way.
-Parents must be cautious about the influence of commercial movies, which often show a distorted reality. In this case, all the parents have to be careful about their young boys and girls and educate them according to our own cultural heritage.
We urge the authorities concerned to come forward and take dynamic steps in order to prevent sexual harassment.
Md. Nasir Uddin and Md. Musfiqur Rahman
Brush with the Paranormal
Last weekend's magazine article 'Brush with the Paranormal' made me nostalgic. Being a direct descendant of Golam Maula, I do have a lot of fun memories of that Zamindar Home. My childhood was spent in Ghorashal and that is one place I truly call my home. Paranormal experiences are a very common village phenomenon. I hear stories that in my abandoned ancestral home the ghosts and the goblins are roaming the rooms as well. Thanks to The Star for printing such an interesting piece. I do have fun memories of running up the staircase mentioned in the story.
Washington Metropolitan Area, USA
Peace in the Hills
It is a matter of great regret as an independent nation that we are yet to ensure security of the lives of our indigenous people, who comprise about one percent of the population of Bangladesh. Bengali and indigenous communities are coming into conflict in the Chittagong Hills Track (CHT) because of land disputes. Mutual trust was further eroded because of the recent violence in the hill tracts area which left thousands of people homeless. They are now living under the open sky deprived of basic privileges and facilities. These indigenous people have their own culture and customs. Their traditional industries including foodstuff, clothing, and fishing contribute to our GDP. But what are we doing for them? We must aim to expand the development effort in order to build an inclusive society and a united nation. The government has taken an initiative to conduct a survey in the CHT to settle the ownership problem of land. But this survey will not be meaningful unless the concerned authorities take measures to settle land disputes and assure the rights of these indigenous people.
Muhammad Anisul Islam
Department of Finance
University of Dhaka
The recent High Court judgement striking down the Chittagong Hill Tracts Regional Council Act was an important development upholding the constitution of Bangladesh, and may lead to resolution of the CHT problem in a fair and legal manner. The High Court declared the Act illegal since it violated 'the sanctity of a unitary state' envisaged under the constitution. Although the court ruled that it did not have jurisdiction to consider whether or not the CHT Accord itself was constitutional, formation of the Regional Council was an intrinsic part of the Accord. The court said it is certainly an irony that the peace process, aimed at democratic governance, has not been able to ensure the practice of democracy in CHT.
The HC in its judgement also declared a few sections of the three amended CHT district council acts of 1998 illegal and unconstitutional.
-Bengalis have to obtain certificates declaring them non-indigenous residents from the circle chief (headman) of an indigenous community in the CHT, without which they cannot get a passport.
-Another section says anyone who does not own land in the CHT cannot be a voter.
-Other provisions of the same law discriminate against non-tribal people in getting jobs at the hill district councils and the police force in those districts.
I hope the government will heed the court directive and move to ensure justice and the rule of law in the CHT, without which there can be no peace.
Return of A Roman Column
I was delighted with the return of A Roman Column in the March 12 edition of The Star. Having just read the fourth column, I breathe a sigh of relief that my weekly treat of words is truly back.
I especially enjoyed the pieces titled 'A Long Winter's End' (Mar 26) and 'Book Space' (Apr. 2). The first was vintage Sobhan, with its vivid imagery and the seamless movement between the inner and external worlds of the writer. The second begins with another feature that I love about the writer, her delightful sense of humour, and ends with one of her effortless transfers from the familiar scenes of Dhaka to the exotic ones of Rome.
Within the limited space of a column, Sobhan manages to stimulate our senses, our emotions and our minds, as we imagine a faraway land, sigh or chuckle over familiar follies, and ponder on thoughts that the writer intentionally or unintentionally stirs in our minds. I do hope we shall be seeing A Roman Column regularly in future.
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