Incidents of child rape witnessed an alarming rise in the first seven months of 2019 compared to the corresponding period of last year, says a report released by a child rights organisation.
However, the incidents of murder and suicide of children marked a slight decrease from January to July 2019 compared to the same period of 2018, according to Bangladesh Shishu Adhikar Forum (BSAF).
At least 613 children were reportedly raped during the period between January and July this year while it was 411 in the same time last year.
The BSAF data showed that at least 240 children were killed and 109 committed suicide in the first seven months of 2019 while 250 children were killed and 201 committed suicide in the same period of last year.
The number of total rape and murder incidents was 85 and 201 respectively in 2012 while 150 and 180 in 2013, 199 and 366 in 2014, 521 and 292 in 2015, 446 and 265 in 2016 and 593 and 399 in 2017.
Apart from these, 233 children went missing while 150 others were kidnapped and 627 killed in road accidents.
While talking to the FE, BSAF director Abdus Shahid Mahmood expressed his grave concern over the rising trend in torture and violence against children in the country.
"It is very unfortunate that incident of child rape has marked a significant rise in recent months," he added.
The culture of impunity is the main reason behind a rise in such incidents, the director said, adding that law enforcement agencies must play a pivotal role in this regard.
He also stressed the need for reforms of existing laws to ensure capital punishment for criminals. The government should make all-out efforts to stop violence against children, he added.
Advocate Md Khurshid Alam Khan, senior prosecutor of the Anti-Corruption Commission, told the FE that as the conviction rate is very little in women and children repression cases, incidents of murder and rape are increasing.
Trial proceedings should end duly to ensure justice, he added.
Prosecution and investigation officers should play an important role in convicting the accused of such offences, Mr Khan said.
Putting emphasis on exemplary punishment for rape convicts, he said the rate of conviction is very insignificant due to lack of the capacity of prosecution and investigation officers.
Human rights activist and Supreme Court lawyer Advocate Salma Ali told the FE that concerted efforts were needed to end social menace.
She also blamed the culture of impunity, social debauchery and delay in justice for such a steep rise in rape incidents.
A section of criminals, having political clouts, influential people and musclemen are getting involved in these crimes, she observed.