- Authorities scrap segregated section for women and children on beach due to outcry.
- Section was created following requests from conservative women in Muslim-majority country.
- Conservative groups hold massive rallies demanding segregation of sexes in workplaces and factories recently.
A segregated section for women and children on Bangladesh’s main tourist resort was scrapped by the authorities due to an outcry on social media over gender segregation, officials said Thursday.
Cox’s Bazar officials inaugurated a section of the shoreline on the world’s longest natural sea beach as a private zone just for women and children on Wednesday.
However, the decision was withdrawn hours later when it received “negative comments”, according to a press release.
A senior official in Cox’s Bazar Abu Sufian, told AFP that the section had been created as the conservative women requested for it.
“They requested a dedicated beach section for themselves because they felt shy and insecure in a crowded place,” he said.
Earlier this month, a woman was gang-raped in Cox Bazar which provoked people in the city over the women’s safety.
However, the decision to shut off a section of the beach caused a chaotic situation on social media with critics saying that it was pandering to conservative groups that still wield considerable influence in the country.
A veteran journalist and commentator Syed Ishtiaque Reza wrote on Facebook: “This is Talebistan,” referring to the Taliban in Afghanistan.
Parts of Bangladesh society remain very conservative, and in recent years, another extremist group has held massive rallies demanding segregation of the sexes in workplaces and factories.
Tourism has increased in recent years due to hundreds of visits at Cox Bazar in festive periods.
However, the authorities have provided the tourists with a police unit to patrol beach towns for safety reasons.