Nine women were gang-raped while eight others raped inside public transports, mostly buses, across the country in last 13 months, said a passengers' welfare platform yesterday.
Besides, four women were sexually harassed inside public transports, according to a report revealed by the platform, Bangladesh Jatri Kalyan Samity, yesterday.
Cases were filed in connection with all the incidents except for a gang rape. Police and the media took prompt actions after the incidents and a total of 55 people were arrested in all the cases, it added.
The only incident, which was not reported to the police, was committed on last April 9 in Manikganj, read the report which was prepared on the basis of media reports.
Mozammel Haque Chowdhury, secretary general of the platform, told The Daily Star that the much-talked about rape of Rupa Khatun prompted them to gather information about such incidents.
Rupa, a 27-year-old law student, was raped and killed in a Mymensingh-bound bus by its driver and three of his assistants on last August 25 in Tangail.
A Tangail court on Monday sentenced the driver and his three assistants to death while the bus supervisor was jailed for seven years.
However, the actual number of sexual violence is much higher as many such incidents, especially sexual harassment cases, are often not reported to the police.
Therefore, women now opt to use private vehicles, rickshaws or app-based transport services. As a result, female passengers have to pay more fare. On the other hand, the increasing number of private vehicles is intensifying city's traffic congestion, he added.
But, the government and public vehicle owners seem less bothered about the issue, he said.
“We published the report to make the owners as well as other stakeholders, including law enforcers, aware and thereby take necessary actions,” he added.