Bangladesh lawmaker questions objections to teep-wearing women

The comments come as a lecturer claimed that a policeman hurled abuse at her after seeing the decorative mark worn on the middle of her forehead.


April 4, 2022

DHAKA – Suborna Mustafa yesterday expressed serious resentment in parliament over the harassment of a Tejgaon College teacher, allegedly by a policeman, for wearing a ‘teep’.

Speaking on a point of order, the popular actor and a lawmaker from reserved seats questioned which law of the land says a woman cannot wear teep (a decorative mark, mostly in the shape of a dot, worn in the middle of the forehead by many women).

She demanded that the government take immediate action against the accused policeman.

Lata Samaddar, a lecturer of theatre and media studies, yesterday filed a complaint with Sher-e-Bangla Nagar Police Station. She wrote that when she was on her way to work around 8:30am, a policeman hurled abuses at her after seeing a teep on her forehead.

The incident took place in front of Shezan Point shopping mall.

When she protested, he threatened her and tried to run her over with his motorbike, she alleged.

The teacher said she came to Farmgate area by rickshaw from her home and was walking towards the college.

In parliament, Suborna said, “It’s a very hateful incident, especially for women, irrespective of party affiliations. The incidents of ‘bad boys eve-teasing school girls’ have now been brought under control.

“However, it’s a matter of great shame for all of us when a member of a law enforcement agency engages in, what I would have to also call, an act of eve-teasing.”

She then went on to say, “In which law of the country and the constitution is it written that a woman cannot wear a teep? It should not matter whether the woman is Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, or even whether she is married or a widow. A woman, a teacher no less, wearing a teep was eve-teased — verbally belittled, humiliated — by a police official.”

The AL MP also said, “When the woman protested, the policeman verbally abused her, even disrespected her by calling her ‘tui’ [an informal way of addressing someone].”

She said the prime minister always says the people’s rights will be considered over everything else. The father of the nation said people must love one another and he put human rights first.

Suborna demanded that immediate action be taken to prevent the recurrence of such incidents against women.

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