Bangladesh’s Rapid Action Battalion has arrested 28 people for taking part in “homosexual activities” at a community centre in Dhaka’s Keraniganj, a local news report said on Friday. Homosexuality is illegal in the country and punishable by life imprisonment. However, they have been charged for violating drug rules, not those pertaining to sexual conduct.
Commander of the Rapid Action Battalion, Jahangir Hossain Matubbor, said the accused, all aged between 20 and 22, would often meet at Chhayaneer Community Centre to “indulge in homosexual activities”. “These men have been coming here from [various] parts of the country for the past two months to spend the nights. We raided the community centre early on Friday, based on complaints by locals.”
He added that the men confirmed that they had had sex there. “We have found drugs, condoms and lubricants with them. Most of them are students,” Matubbor said.
The group would stay in touch through social media, The Dhaka Tribune reported. Forty-five contraband yaba tablets and 250 grams of marijuana were found on the men.
Another report, meanwhile, pegged the number of people arrested at 29.
In April last year, the editor of Bangladesh’s only gay magazine, Roopban, Xulhaz Mannan, along with his friend Tanay Mojumdar, had been hacked to death in Mannan’s home in Dhaka. A third person, a security guard at the apartment building, had been seriously wounded.