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POST TIME: 12 September, 2019 00:00 00 AM
Forced marriage with rapist
HC observes govt steps
Staff Reporter, Dhaka

HC observes govt steps

The High Court (HC) yesterday said it was observing the steps being taken by the government over the allegation of the “forced marriage” of a rape victim with the rapist inside a Pabna police station. “The incident is under our surveillance. It is an administrative matter. Let’s see the steps taken by the government. If the steps taken by the administration are not satisfactory, you come here again next week and we will look into the matter. We are observing the matter by monitoring the media,” the HC bench of Justice M Enayetur Rahim and Justice Md Khairul told this to three Supreme Court (SC) lawyers who had drawn the court’s attention to the incident.

Advocates Jamiul Haque Faisal, Gazi Forhad Reza and Rohani Siddiqua drew the court’s attention to the reports published in various national dailies on the issue. They pleaded for a suo moto order against the accused, who happens to be the officer in-charge (OC) of Pabna Sadar police station.

After placing the newspapers reports, Advocate Faisal told the court that the OC, Obaidul Huq, and other police personnel were reportedly threatening the rape victim and the Kazi (marriage registrar), who had refused to conduct the marriage. He also said if an action was not taken against them, the investigation into the incident might take a different turn.

In reply, the HC bench said that the administration had already taken steps and issued a show-cause notice to the OC in connection with the matter. The main accused has already been arrested, the HC bench said, adding, “Let us see what steps the administration takes in the matter.”

The HC bench also advised the lawyers to approach the court again after a week if the steps taken by the administration were not satisfactory.

The 33-year-old rape victim, who was already married and the mother of three children, filed a case with the Pabna Sadar police station against five people, including Md Russel and Ghontu, on Monday on charge of raping her.

According to the woman’s complaint, Obaidul Huq had forced her to marry the rapist, Russel, after she just filed a case against him. A three-member probe committee was formed on September 9 to investigate the incident. Obaidul Huq was ordered to show cause as to why action should not be taken against him. Pabna police super Sheikh Rafiqul Islam said the probe committee members included a court inspector, a district intelligence officer, and additional superintendent of police Md Feroz Ahmed, who will be leading  investigation.

According to the woman’s case statement, on August 29, Russel abducted her to his home in Sadar upazila and gang raped her with an accomplice. She remained confined there for two more days. On August 31, she was taken to an unused office space and was again gang raped by Russel and five others before being released. On September 5, the woman was able to inform her family of the matter and was admitted to the Pabna General Hospital.