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17 April, 2019 00:00 00 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 17 April, 2019 01:23:18 AM
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Nusrat killing

Negligence of madrasa, police, admin found

Says NHRC chief while presenting probe report
UNB, Dhaka
Negligence of madrasa, 
police, admin found

Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) Kazi Reazul Hoque yesterday said the murder of the Feni madrasa girl could have been averted had the local administration and the madrasa managing committee taken necessary measures in time. "The commission also thinks police officials concerned showed negligence and committed a crime. There's also negligence on the part of the district administration. They manifested their arrogance. The commission has suggested taking necessary actions against them," he said.

The NHRC chief was addressing a press briefing at its Karwanbazar office after presenting the report of their investigation into the murder of Nusrat Jahan Rafi. He also urged the government to mete out punishment to those involved in the murder of the madrasa girl. The panel formed by the NHRC comprising Al-Mahmud Faijul Kabir, director (Complaint and Investigation), and M Rabiul Islam, deputy director (complaint and investigation), investigated the incident in which Nusrat was set afire and subsequently died of burn injuries.

The probe body visited the Sonagazi Islamia Senior Fazil Madrasa in Sonagazi upazila of Feni district, the place of occurrence, on April 11. They talked to Nusrat's family members, upazila nirbahi officer, officer-in-charge of Sonagazi Police Station, acting principal of the madrasa, other teachers, students and locals.

According to the probe report, madrasa principal Sirajuddoula sexually harassed Nusrat at his office room and his associates set her ablaze after pouring kerosene on her at his order, said Reazul Hoque.

It also found that the policemen made offensive questions to Nusrat and tried to take the matter lightly, he said.

The officer-in-charge of Sonagazi Police Station acted irresponsibly and his act is contradictory to the Digital Security Act, the NHRC chairman said.

The probe report also revealed that Sirajuddoula sexually assaulted male students when he was the super of another madrasa in Doulatpur in 1995. He was also accused in many cases filed on fraudulence charges and the trial proceedings of the cases are underway. He also served in prison.

In 2001, Sirajuddoula was made principal of the Sonagazi Islamia Senior Fazil Madrasa and he used to call female students individually to his office room.

A number of complaints were lodged against him but the governing body of the madrasa and the local administration did not pay any heed to those, said the NHRC chairman. He said the probe panel has put forward seven recommendations that include bringing the culprits to justice, taking legal action against the responsible policemen, taking necessary action against the cohorts of Sirajuddoula, reconstituting the governing body of the madrasa and ensuring security to Nusrat's family.

Nusrat Jahan Rafi, a student of Sonagazi Islamia Senior Fazil Madrasa in Sonagazi upazila of Feni, was set ablaze on April 6 allegedly for refusing to withdraw a case filed against principal Sirajuddoula of the madrasa for sexually harassing her last month. After fighting for her life for five days, the madrasa girl died at Dhaka Medical College Hospital on April 10.

Meanwhile, Police Bureau of Investigation (PBI) yesterday (Tuesday) arrested two more madrasa girls who carried kerosene for killing Nusrat Jahan Rafi, adds Our Correspondent from Feni.

 The two are Jannatul Afroz, daughter of Abdul Aziz, and Kamrunnahar Moni, daughter of Saleh Ahammad, PBI sources said. The PBI's Additional Superintendent of Police (ASP), Moniruzzaman, said they were picked up from the madrasa exam centre at Sonagazi in Feni.

“They were held on the basis of statements given by two accused, Shahadat Hossain Shamim and Noor Uddin, before the court on Sunday, according to the officer. The PBI said Kamrunnagar Moni is one of the main accused in the Nusrat murder case. She carried 1 litre of kerosene to the madrasa on April 6.

The PBI has so far arrested 16 people in connection with the arson attack which killed 19-year-old Nusrat, an Alim exam candidate.

On Monday night, the PBI had arrested another accused, Umme Sultana Popy, alias Shampa.

In another development, Human Rights Watch (HRW) has said the government of Bangladesh should "thoroughly investigate" the murder of Nusrat, adds UNB.

"The horrifying murder of a brave woman who sought justice shows how badly the Bangladesh government has failed victims of sexual assault," said Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director at Human Rights Watch.

"Nusrat Jahan Rafi's death highlights the need for the Bangladesh government to take survivors of sexual assault seriously and ensure that they can safely seek a legal remedy and be protected from retaliation," she said.

The murder of Nusrat Jahan Rafi, who was killed after she filed a complaint of attempted rape, should spur the authorities to take concerted action to combat sexual violence in the country, said the New York-based rights body yesterday.

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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