If the government officials will not take action against these
criminals, citizens should find them as well as those officials who are
enabling them by refusing to take legal actions against them and
castrate these bustards! These inhuman acts against women simply can not
be allowed to go on.
Mohsin R. Siddique
From: "Shabnam Nadiya"
Sent: Wednesday, June 24, 2009 12:49 PM
Subject: [uttorshuri] Press Conference on Fatwa
I attended a press conference recently on Drishtipat's behalf which was
organized by BRAC in collaboration with ASK
and BNWLA. Faustina Pereira and Shipa Hafiza spoke on behalf of BRAC,
Sultana Kamal and Sara Hossain represented ASK and Fawsia Karim Firoze
from BNWLA. The parents of a fatwa/flogging incident (in Daudkandi)
were present and spoke on their ordeal.
Six cases of fatwa had been reported in the media over the brief span
of the past two months. Locations: Daudkandi, Hobiganj, Srimangal,
Companyganj, Sirajganj, Maulvibazar.
In the case of the Companyganj fatwa, where victim and her elderly
mother were both flogged 101 and 50 times, the police accepted a rape
case. No case regarding the issuing or the administration of the fatwa
has been accepted. The OC in charge of the case had been transferred.
Faustina noted that the OC had told a BRAC officer that the police
themselves couldn't lodge a case on behalf of the victim (as is usual
in these cases) due to "political pressure".
The Daudkandi case: the young girl in question was flogged 39 times.
The parents of the girl were present and spoke with a simple dignity
on the ordeal. The father himself had also been assaulted. The PM's
office intervened in this case, and the girl was brought to DMCH for
medical care. BRAC, Nijera Kori and BLAST are providing legal
assistance to the family.
Many issues were raised by the speakers - the need to identify which
are the groups that benefit from a failure of democracy and human
rights; the multi-layered nature of the fatwa issue - where
patriarchy, local power dynamics, corruption, political power and
leverage and other forces come into play; the lack of pre-emptive
measures by either the law enforcement agencies or the local
administration; the status of the appeal against the anti-Fatwa law.
It was noted that direct phonecalls/instructions from the PM's office
had not resulted in action by the police or admininstraion.
What can Drishtipat do?
The most obvious thing in my view: awareness raising. At various
levels. About various aspects of this issue.
Distinction needs to be made - between fatwa (as in opinion) and
fatwa: people still connect the issue of fatwa with religion/faith.
That no one but the state has the power to "punish" needs to be
The status of the law related to Fatwa is still unclear. Even during
the event, there was some discussion/confusion between what Faustina
said and what Sara said. They didn't go into a detailed discussion
because of course that wasn't the proper forum to delve into the
complexities of all this, but it did leave a lot of confused faces in
the audience. Is the law a law or not? The appeal - what status does
it have after so many years and no followup from the alleged muftis
who lodged the appeal? Is/will the state do anything about it?
The media does a (much better) job of reporting these cases compared
to the past, but often there's not a lot of follow-up. What happened
to the most "famous" fatwa cases? Not the victims/families, but the
perpetrators. Where are they now? Have any of them actually received
Another point that interested me immensely, though that wasn't the
place or time to follow up on this: of the six cases noted in the
handout, five had to do with "sexual misconduct" (which can be
non-marital consensual sex, rape, even talking to a man unrelated by
blood). The outcomes were floggings/dorra. The woman involved was
flogged, of course, and in some cases both male and female members of
her family. The outlier was the Moulvibazar case - this had to do with
land rights/encroachment (?). The penalty determined had been
financial, when one side failed to pay off, that family was made
ekghore e.g. the children weren't allowed to go to school, no social
intercourse with any other people. I'd be interested in knowing what
percentage of the fatwa cases do not have physical penalty/floggings,
what percentage do not punish women for "sexual misconduct", etc.