Photo: Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune

The lack of action has merely emboldened the perpetrators

Again and again, the BCL crosses the line. Again and again, the BCL gets away with it. Some stern words are spoken, some assurances are made that the perpetrators will be caught, but in time, all returns to normal -- certain parts of the student wing of the ruling party simply go back to behaving like they are above the law. 

The recent rape is only the latest in a series of unconscionable acts. Clearly, past incidents of sexual violence have not incited the organization to clean up its ranks and take action against those who commit such crimes. The lack of action has merely emboldened the perpetrators. 

What, we ask, is the Bangladesh Chhatra League doing to police its ranks, so that crimes of this nature are never committed again? What, we ask, has the BCL done till date to discipline its members or hold to account those involved in such terrible crimes? A show of outrage is not enough; the organization needs reform from top to bottom, and all criminal elements must be purged. 

The BCL leaders' 48-hour ultimatum to apprehend the rapists is, typically, too little too late and appears to be nothing but hollow words. Too often, we have seen rapists and murderers within the organization being denounced, and yet, they are constantly shielded through a toxic culture of impunity that they have not yet managed to dismantle. It is time for this to stop; BCL leaders need to take responsibility for the actions of their members, and be pro-active to ensure that such atrocities are not allowed to occur.

The simple fact of the matter is, as long these rapes -- and other terrible acts of violence -- keep taking place, it will continue to be impossible to believe that the BCL is serious about holding the perpetrators to account. Only when the BCL as an organization and its leaders are held responsible for the violent actions committed by those within will there be change. 

In the name of politics, and in the name of the ruling party, we have seen a toxic pattern of violence which shows no sign of abating. But enough is enough. The time for BCL to own up and stop these crimes from happening is now -- no excuses.


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