In face of massive protests across the country, Bangladesh’s government on Monday approved an amendment that would allow for the death penalty in rape cases.

Khandker Anwarul Islam, secretary of the cabinet division told the reporters after the weekly cabinet meeting that the draft of the Women and Children Repression Prevention (Amendment) Bill had been approved and a provision for the death penalty was incorporated.

“Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has given an emphasis on completing trials of rape cases within the stipulated timeframe as well,” said Islam.

For the past week, thousands of people have been staging rallies and protests in Dhaka and elsewhere to demand what they called “just” and “stricter” punishment for the rapists.

Those protests were erupted after video emerged showing several men stripping and attacking a woman from a disadvantaged community in the southern district of Noakhali early in September.

A gangrape in Sylhet

Even before the video footage emerged, anger had been brewing since several members of the ruling party’s student wing were arrested last week and charged with gangraping a woman in northern Sylhet.

The protest against rape first started on social media with users blackening their profile photos en masse. Social media platforms were used to organise human chains, protest rallies and demonstrations across the country.

“I am protesting as I feel the...

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