May 19, 2017 - 3:37pm
The Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) has detained 29 people from what it called “a homosexual party” at a community centre in Dhaka’s Keraniganj.
“Homosexuals from 20 districts had gathered there. They usually get together once every two months,” RAB-10 Commanding Officer Jahangir Hossain Matubbar told the media on Friday.
He said they raided the place at Keraniganj’s Ati Bazar around 3am and also found 45 contraband Yaba tablets and 250g marijuana on the detainees, most of whom are students.
The detainees, all under the age of 30, used to keep in touch with each other on social media, the RAB officer says.
A RAB source said locals had been complaining against this particular group for a long time. The detianees had admitted to have gathered there to engage in homosexual activities.
Homosexuality is a criminal offence in Bangladesh, where the highest punishment for “unnatural intercourse” is life imprisonment.
LGBT rights campaigners and their supporters have long been subjected to social mockery and assault, sometimes fatal.
Xulhaz Mannan, editor of Bangladesh’s only gay magazine Roopbaan, was hacked to death at his Dhaka home along with his friend Khandaker Mahbub Rabbi Tonoy last year in an attack later claimed by militant group Ansar al-Islam.
Investigators have so far failed to make any apparent progress in cracking the case.
Last year, Roopbaan, a platform promoting the rights of LGBT Bangladeshis, was denied permission to hold ‘rainbow rally’ on Pohela Boishakh.