Torulata Rani, 24, is having a tough time raising her six-year-old son by herself in Dokshin Chowra village in northern Nilphamari district, 350km from Dhaka. Her husband Sreepodo deserted the young family six years ago.
The reason, according to Rani, was that her mother was unable to meet a demand for increased dowry. In 2006, he husband married another woman.
Because she is a Hindu, there is not much the state can do for Rani. The minority Hindu community in Bangladesh follows the centuries-old Dayabhaga Law. According to that code, Rani does not have the right to divorce Sreepodo until he dies.
"I have to pass my whole life as his wife no matter whether he looks after me and my son or not," Rani told Khabar South Asia. "I have no right to object to my husband's decision. He can marry as many women as he wishes."
With no other recourse, Rani recently filed a case with local police under the Women and Children Repression (Prevention) Act, which covers violent abuse. Rani claims her husband continues to assault both her and her mother.
Things may be changing. On September 18th, amid growing demand from non-governmental organisations (NGOs), civil society and women's rights groups, Parliament passed the Hindu Marriage Registration Bill-2012.
"This is an historic law and it will protect the rights of the Hindu women who face abuse by their husbands," Minister of State for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Quamrul Islam told Parliament during passage of the law.
But Hindu women's rights activists are not so sure of the benefits.
"The law in no way will benefit the oppressed Hindu women unless the registration is made mandatory," Monjusree Saha, head of the women's rights department of Rangpur Dinajpur Rural Service Bangladesh (RDRS-Bangladesh), an NGO, told Khabar.
She said that the law could only facilitate the migration process. Currently, Hindu couples face many difficulties when they move to other countries because they are unable to provide proof of marriage.
"We are not happy at all with the law. We urge the government to come up with a complete law with mandatory registration and divorce provisions," Nina Goswami, senior deputy director at the human rights group Ain o Salish Kendra, told Khabar.
Prakash Ranjan Biswas, who has assisted fellow Hindus with legal matters for 19 years, said the law would at least help Hindu women prove the identity of their husbands in court.
"The registration will assist the women to realise compensation through the Family Court if their husbands desert them," said Biswas, who in principle supports Hindu women's divorce rights.
"Maybe the government wants to go slow on enacting the laws on the Hindus," he told Khabar. "The law may be the first step."