Barisal road off limits to women

Posted: জানুয়ারি 12, 2009 in Women Rights

Self-claimed ‘Pir’ imposes the ban; administration yet to act

 Schoolteacher Jahanara Begum was rushing her sick son to a doctor around noon but she was halted by an elderly man when she was on Mathbaria Bara Masjid Road. She was told the road was off limits to women. As time was of the essence, she avoided confrontation and took a detour.


Witnessing the incident at Mathbaria upazila in Pirojpur on January 8, The Daily Star correspondent approached the man and asked who he was. Instead of replying and revealing his identity the man showed the correspondent writings on a wall that read, “Movement of women on this road is completely forbidden by order of Pir-e-Kamel Maulana Md Abdus Sattar (retd soldier).”

The man was Abdus Sattar himself.

Jahanara, teacher of Hatem Ali Girls’ Secondary School in Mathbaria, later that day said, “Girls of the school had complained about being obstructed by the Pir. I did not believe them. Today I faced it. I cannot find any solution to this. Those who can solve the problem are looking the other way. I have been using this road for 20 years but I never faced such a thing.”

The main post office of Mathbaria upazila is on that road. An official there seeking anonymity said, “Remittance from abroad comes here through money transfer. But as women cannot come here using the road we face difficulty providing them the money. We informed the administration about the matter but no action has been taken so far.”

Three female students of Mathbaria Government College stay on the first floor of the post office and the Pir harasses them on their way to and from the college.

Several traders on the road said that due to the activities of the so-called Pir, female students of schools and colleges are terrified. He chases them with a stick that he carries with him.

The so-called Pir told the correspondent, “There is a mosque on this road. Use of this road by women is najayez [illegal in Islam]. So I have not only issued orders to women forbidding them from using this road, I also prevent them from using it every day. I will do so as long as I live. The devotees in the mosque will help me in this.”

Anwar Hossain of a restaurant on the road said, “The so-called Pir has been obstructing women for about a month. Movement of women on the road has dropped by 80 percent. Women do not come to the restaurant for food.”

Mojibul Haque Majnu, a freedom fighter of Asad Nagar, said, during the four-party alliance rule an evil clique tried to impose a ban on the movement of women on the road and put a signboard there. Their attempt failed in the face of opposition by the locals. Now they are using the so-called Pir to implement their scheme.

Majnu said obstructing women from using the road is an offence and he hoped the administration would take effective steps in this regard.

Mathbaria Central Jame Masjid committee president and Mathbaria Municipality mayor Rafiuddin Ferdous said the matter has been discussed in the mosque committee. The devotees have agreed to take action against the so-called Pir.

Officer-in-charge of Mathbaria Police Station Motiur Rahman last night said he has heard about the matter but is yet to launch a formal enquiry.

Upazila Nirbahi Officer Khandaker Azim Ahmed, however, said he was unaware of such obstruction on a government road.

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  2. Kamran Akram বলেছেন:

    Islam allows woman to mosques,however Indo-Pakistani Islam does not. What a shame, they bring to an otherwise liberal religion.

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