Women detained for not wearing veil in Bangladesh
by Special Correspondent
March 3, 2010
Golam Minhaz, an inspector with Detective Branch of Bangladesh Police at Rangpur district [northern part of the country] detained 19 women in various areas in the city for ‘not wearing veils’.
It may be mentioned here that, according to Bangladeshi law, women are not required to wear veils, which is compulsory in a number of Islamist countries.
Iran has imposed law for compulsory wearing of veils by women since 1979.
But, in Bangladesh this is for the first time that any member of law enforcing agencies were showing ‘extra vigilance’ in forcing women in wearing veils.
Subsequently, on hearing the news of such attitude of the police officer, a number of lawyers including K M Hafijul Alam, Mahbub Shafique and Imranul Hye filed a writ petition with Bangladesh Supreme court in a bench comprising Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain and ATM Fazle Kabir seeking legal actions.
The High Court bench has ordered the Bangladesh government and members of law enforcing agencies not to arrest any women or girl for not wearing veils. The court asked several government officials including the home secretary, Inspector General of Police and Inspector Golam Minhaz of Detective Branch to explain why the case should be investigated and legal actions taken against those involved in the detention of the women. The court also asked Inspector Minhaz to be present at the court on April 4, 2010.
Following this court order, it is alleged that, members of Detective Branch in Rangpur district are coming with a new story of arresting those women on charge of prostitution. On condition of anonymity, a source within Detective Branch told Weekly Blitz that, most of the senior officers in Bangladesh Police are sympathetic to Inspector Golam Minhaz for his role in ‘upholding Islamic culture’ within the society. Those senior officials have given secret directives to the Detective Branch in Rangpur to twist the case from allegation of not wearing veils to participating in ‘illicit activities’ by those held women.
Law enforcing agencies and a section of judicial system in Bangladesh were reported to be supportive towards imposing Sharia law in the country. Such systems are considering any activities such as highlighting Jewish culture and heritage even as blasphemous. Iranian Cultural Center and embassy in Dhaka are often hiring the auditorium of Bangladesh Supreme Court in organizing programs on so-called Al-Quds Day as well various activities against United States, West and Israel.