A 50-year-old man has been arrested in Sreepur upazila for allegedly raping a minor girl more than a week ago, police said on Wednesday.
The accused has been identified as Abdul Hai, son of Abdul Hakim Sheikh, a neighbour of the rape survivor.
Shukhdev Roy, officer-in-charge of Sreepur Police Station, said the seven-year-old girl was alone at her home on the day of the crime. "Abdul forced himself on the girl but fled after she started screaming in pain."
Later, the girl narrated her ordeal to her mother when she returned home. The child was admitted to Upazila Health Complex after she fell sick but was immediately sent her to Magura for better treatment.
The girl's father subsequently filed a complaint against the accused at Sreepur police station. Based on the complaint, police lodged an FIR for rape and arrested the accused. "He was produced in a court and sent to judicial custody," the OC said.
Bangladesh's rape epidemic
Sexual assaults on women continue unabated in Bangladesh, despite the government introducing death penalty for rapes last year.
A police headquarters report, released recently, said that 26,695 rape cases were filed across the country in the past five years.
Ain o Salish Kendra (ASK) data shows that 1,018 children were raped last year alone, but only 683 police cases had been filed. Also, 116 survivors were six years old or below.
Overall, 1,627 rape cases were reported last year and 53 of the women were killed by the perpetrators while 14 took their own lives, as per the data.
However, ASK's data is just the tip of the iceberg, according to aid agencies, who report that most women are too afraid to report rape.
In October 2020, the country was rocked by protests after a woman was allegedly attacked and raped in Noakhali.
In November last year, Bangladesh introduced capital punishment for rape, following days of protests against sexual violence against women in several cities across the country.
But human rights organisations say the move will not solve the country's rape crisis, as the survivors of the heinous crime are often stigmatised in the society.