Bangladesh reverses decision to open women-only beach after backlash

Bangladesh reverses decision to open women-only beach after backlash
Cox’s Bazar’s deputy commissioner says decision was repealed after ‘negative reactions from tourists’

Bangladesh has scrapped its decision to provide a section of the beach to just women and children in its southeast coastal town Cox’s Bazar after backlash, officials said on Thursday.

The decision was rolled back just hours after the district administration announced it, as it faced backlash from hardline Islamic leaders, according to reports.

Cox’s Bazar’s deputy commissioner Md Mamunur Rashid said the decision was repealed at a press briefing held at the district administration office on Thursday night, reported Bangladesh’s national daily The Daily Star.

Mr Rashid said: “The beach management committee decided to make an exclusive zone for women and children as per the request from a section of tourists.”

However, the deputy commissioner said that soon after announcing the decision of an exclusive beach for women and children “we’ve seen negative reactions from the tourists”.

This is why the authorities have decided to withdraw their decision, he said, according to the report.

When the move was announced on Thursday, a signboard in red and violet font stated that some of the areas on Cox’s Bazar sea beach’s Laboni Point were reserved for just women and children.

The administrative move to secure a section of beach was announced just a week after a woman was gangraped in the town, sparking outrage over women’s safety in the Asian country.

However, negative responses quickly trickled in, slamming the move.

A commentator dubbed the beach segregation as “Talibistan”, reported the BBC.

The remark was in reference to the hardline militant Islamist group Taliban which forced its way to control Afghanistan and has worked against the rights of women and girl children by curbing their right to access public spaces like schools, colleges, state and private offices.

The town Cox’s Bazar is renowned as the longest natural sea beach globally and an important tourism point in the south Asian country which sees hundreds of thousands visitors across the year.