Bangladesh’s cabinet on Monday approved the death penalty for rapists amid nationwide protests in the wake of a series of gang rapes and sexual assaults. Bangladesh has seen a surge of sexual crimes in recent years, with nearly 1,000 incidents reported between January and September, more than a fifth of them gang rapes, according to human rights group Ain-o-Salish Kendra.
The first coronavirus case has been confirmed in the crowded camps for Rohingya refugees in southern Bangladesh, where more than 1 million refugees are sheltered. Teams have been activated for treatment of the patients. Nationwide, Bangladesh has confirmed 18,863 cases, including 283 fatalities. But the toll is thought to be higher since adequate testing facilities are a challenge in the South Asian nation of 160 million people.
A former army officer convicted of killing Bangladesh’s independence leader in 1975 has been executed. Abdul Majed was hanged in the capital Dhaka after his appeal for presidential clemency was rejected this week. He was arrested on Tuesday after spending 25 years on the run for the assassination of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Rahman – the father of the current prime minister, was killed during a military coup in 1975.
The father of an engineering student who was beaten to death at his university halls in Bangladesh has demanded justice for his son, as protests against politically motivated attacks on campuses continued. Abrar Fahad, 22, who was allegedly targeted after he criticized the government in a Facebook post, was found dead at his university halls of residence in Dhaka on Monday.
Bangladesh has banned fishing off its coast for 65 days to try and boost depleted fish stocks. The government told the BBC that all types of fishing vessels would be covered by the ban and coast guards would enforce it from Monday. Thousands of fishermen have planned protests – arguing that they will be left without a source of income. The ban – lasting from 20 May until 23 July – is timed to occur with the breeding season.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has secured her third consecutive term with a landslide victory, Bangladesh’s Election Commission said on Monday. The opposition has condemned the vote as “farcical,” marred by violence, intimidation and vote rigging claims. At least 17 people have been killed in clashes between ruling party supporters and the opposition. “We urge the election commission to void this farcical result immediately,” opposition leader Kamal Hossain said.
A man who tried to enter the cockpit of a Bangladeshi jet has died in a shootout with soldiers after the plane was forced to make an emergency landing. Soldiers stormed the plane and shot the man after he refused to give himself up. The man appeared to have a pistol and explosives around his body, said the head of Bangladesh’s civil aviation authority, Air Vice Marshal Nayeem Hasan. The suspect died before reaching the hospital.
At least 80 people have died after a massive fire engulfed apartment buildings that also housed chemical warehouses in the old city of Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka. Dozens of people were trapped in the buildings, unable to escape onto narrow streets clogged with traffic, as the highly-combustible stores of chemicals, body sprays and plastic granules erupted in flames. The fire ignited around 10.40pm on Wednesday night and burned until after sunrise, with heavy smoke still visible over the site early on Thursday.
A huge fire tore through a 19-storey commercial building in Dhaka on Thursday, with many office workers feared trapped in the latest major inferno to hit the Bangladesh capital. People were seen shouting for help from windows, video footage from the scene showed, while at least six people jumped out of the burning tower, the Daily Star newspaper reported. A massive blaze in Dhaka’s old quarter last month killed at least 70 people and injured 50 others.
Thousands of high school students in Bangladesh have been protesting, demanding justice and road safety measures, for five days after two teenagers were killed by a speeding bus. Bangladeshi authorities were forced to shut down thousands of high schools due to the demonstrations. Bangladesh’s transport system is widely perceived as corrupt and dangerous.