New Age Islam Special Correspondent
The Bangladesh government has banned a Bengali novel based on child sex abuse in Madrasas in Bangladesh through a gazette notification published on 24th August 2020. The author of the book is a young writer Saiful Baten Tito. ‘Bishphonra‘ loosely translated as poisonous wound is based on accounts of sexual exploitation of minor students between the ages 9 years and 15 years by the teachers and principals of madrasas.
Cover of Bishphonra
The novel was inaugurated in the book fair in February and 500 copies of the book were sold in the fair and second edition of the book was printed. The government has said that the book may threaten the peace and security of the country and that it had hurt the sentiments of the Madrasa teachers. Mr Tito said that the ban had come as a surprise as it had nothing that could disturb the peace and order of the society and claimed that those who had banned the book had not read it.
Saiful Baten Tito claims that before writing the novel, he had met students and teachers of various Madrasa to get first-hand information on the atmosphere and treatment of children in madrasas.
Young writer Saiful Baten Tito
According to media reports, child abuse is rampant in madrasas in Bangladesh and most of the incidents of rape of children go unreported due to the stigma and also due to the political connections of the accused teachers with the ruling party leaders. Only in 2018, 48 cases of brutality and child abuse had been reported in the media. In most of the madrasas, teachers are not qualified enough but they are handpicked by the Awami League leaders who happen to be the head of managing committee of the local madrasas. In one case, the student who had been raped by the principal of the Madrasa was murdered at the order of the principal because he had protested against his rape and Awami League leaders had provided him protection.
Mr Tito said that after the launch of the book, the police had taken 20 copies of the book and had found nothing objectionable in it. But after six months the government has woken up and claims that the novel is a threat to the country’s peace and security.
Asad Noor, the blogger who is in exile in India thinks that the government had taken this step under pressure from Hefazat, a pseudonym assumed by Jama’at Islamic Bangladesh after the War Crimes Tribunal. Recent developments indicate that religious extremism is growing among the rank and file of the party and Awami League leaders act under the pressure of ‘Hefazat’ because they still hold sway among the masses as the upholders of religion.