Dhaka Metropolitan police (DB) joint commissioner Monirul Islam, while describing the incidents of sexual harassment at Dhaka University and Sohrawardy Uddyan, said, “No sexual harassment incident occurred at the gates of Sohrawardy Uddyan. We have not recovered any evidence of women being groped or sexually harassed in that area. No eye witness has yet confirmed any such incident. No complaint has yet been filed with the police regarding such incidents. There is a lot of confusion regarding the truth behind the claims.”
The police official made the remarks while meeting with journalists on Saturday afternoon at DB headquarters in Dhaka.
He further said, “However, since national media have broadcast news regarding such incidents of sexual harassment with importance, we have designated two investigation committees on behalf of DB police to investigate the matter. One committee will investigate the role of the police behind the alleged incident, while the other one will investigate the allegations revolving around the perpetrators of the incident.”
At the end of the briefing, Monirul Islam informed banglamail,” We discovered that on the day of Pahela Boisakh, a coordinated syndicate willfully spread a photo taken from another place on social media. We believe that there is a link between this syndicate and the molesters in the alleged incidents of sexual harassment. We are trying to identify these elements.”
In response to a question, he said, “On analyzing CCTV footage, we found that some rowdy youth were walking in close group formations. They were trying to create anarchy. However, it couldn’t be proved whether they were involved in molesting any women. We are trying to identify this group as well.”
Expressing his disappointment at the incident, he said, ”This so called syndicate is trying to spoil the image of the police by spreading such false claims of women harassment, despite the celebrations being safe and successful. If any such incident has happened despite tight police security, then such as incident is pre-planned. And those involved in the incident then spread the news very quickly.”
The members of the committees are DMP Joint Commissioner Ibrahim Fatemi, Joint Commissioner Md Belalur Rahman, Deputy Commissioner of Detective Branch Jahangir Hossain, Additional Deputy Commissioner, Ramna Ibrahim Khan, and Assistant Commissioner Shibli Noman.
On Thursday, the High Court asked the inspector general of police and the DU vice-chancellor to conduct investigations and submit separate reports to the court by May 17. The respondents were also asked to mention what steps they had taken against the culprits by that time.
When thousands of people were celebrating the Pohela Boishakh, gangs of unruly youths swooped on around five to seven women and sexually harassed them at Suhrawardy Udyan and some parts of Dhaka University campus.
After series of protests and outrage in social media since Tuesday, police now say following CCTV footages, they have noticed one incident near the TSC roundabout.
Even though the police acknowledged one incident, witnesses and student leaders alleged that at least seven women came under attacks near TSC and Matsya Bhaban areas on Tuesday afternoon.
The attackers were honking vuvuzelas during the assaults to suppress the victims’ screams, witnesses said adding that they also filmed the incidents with inhuman enthusiasm.
It is mentionable that Chhatra League men have been involved in similar sexual harassment attacks in front of Jahangirnagar University and Jagannath University during the celebration of Pahela Boisakh festivities. Students and teachers have condemned the attacks and demanded exemplary punishment for the attackers.
Female students have repeatedly said that they fear for their safety.