22.05.2009 South Asia

Bangladesh appoints first female officer-in-charge

22.05.2009 LISTEN
By William Gomes

By William Gomes
Dhaka, Bangladesh, — Recently, the government appointed the first ever Officer in Charge (OC) of a police station in the history of the Bangladesh police force. Hosne Ara Begum was assigned as the OC of a police station in the capital city of Dhaka and started working in her new position on May 18, 2009.

Hosne Ara Begum started her challenging career with the Bangladesh police as a sub-inspector back in 1981. In her long 28 years of service, she had worked in many regions of Bangladesh, in different police jurisdictions and departments, including the Intelligence Branch of the Bangladesh police.

The Bangladesh police force introduced its first female officers back 1974, with only 14 officers. After 35 years, the numbers of female police members are now 1,937, and among them 1,331 police constables the minor label member.

"I do feel really lucky to be the first female Office-in-Charge and to be a positive part of history in Bangladesh," said Begum. "From a good decision by the government, I received the chance to prove my dexterity and commitment to the nation more."

Affirming her commitment, she also added that she will work according to the law to protect and promote the lawful rights of victimized women, as well as that of others, more effectively. She added, "I don't define criminals as 'woman' or 'man'."

A prominent human rights activist, Khushi Kabir said that the appointment of the first female OC in the Bangladesh police force is obviously the right decision toward empowering women, and it's a good sign of positive change.

"We have experienced in the past that, under police custody, women were being raped by police officers themselves. Sometimes, the police get impunity after violating the law or human rights, because people don't law the law and rights," said Kabir.

One female police OC alone will not be able to make a large impact. It is equally important that, in Bangladesh's male-oriented society, men should change their actions and attitudes toward women in a positive way.

Kabir also added that the government should take the initiative to adequately educate the population on the rights of citizens and the responsibilities of the police through media and all other available means.

A report of the local human rights organization Odhikar says that 5,816 women and children were raped between 2001 and 2007. Among the victims, 636 women were killed and 69 committed suicide after being raped. Also, 1,024 women were victims of acid burns and 1,884 were subjected to dowry-related violence. Of those, 1,241 were killed, 479 were tortured, 61 sustained acid injuries, and 95 committed suicide.

With Thanks
William Nicholas Gomes
Executive Director
Christian Developement Alternative(CDA)
80/B BramoChiron,Saydabad,Dhaka-1203, Bangladesh.