A Hindu woman (35) and her college-going daughter (17) have allegedly been gang raped in a trawler at Bauphal upazila in Patuakhali District on 11th June,2016.

Nure Alam -A leader of Swechchhasebak League, a pro-Awami League body, has been arrested. The arrestee, Nure Alam, is a vice president of Najirpur union ward-1 Swechchhasebak League, said the unit's secretary Hasan Mahmud Mintu. Quoting them, police said, they went from their Uttar Kachipara village to Kalaiya area to visit a park at noon on Saturday. Around 4:00pm, they came out of the park and got into a hired bike to go to the house of a relative at a nearby village. However, the engine biker took them to Nindi launch ghat instead of Park. Nure Alam along with five other youths forcibly made the victims board a trawler where they were gang raped later, said police and victims. Hearing a hue and cry, some fishermen near Char Esha of the Tetulia river approached the trawler around 12:30am yesterday. Sensing their presence, all but Nur jumped into the river and fled. The fishermen caught the alleged rapist and rescued the victims. They were handed over to the police later. AZM Faruqee, officer-in-charge of Bauphal Police Station, claimed that Nure Alam confessed his involvement in the incident during his primary interrogation. He said the other “rapists” were also from Najirpur union and aged between 20 and 25, added the OC. A case was filed with Bauphal police over the incident lodged by husband of Ms.Minu Rani. The mother and the daughter were sent to Patuakhali General Hospital for medical tests, police said, adding that they were trying to arrest the alleged remaining rapists.

Investigation:

BCHRD partner organization of Bangladesh Minority Watch jointly conducted fact finding and visited the spot where two minority victims Ms.Brishty Bardhan (17) and Ms. Minu Rani Bardhan (35) were present during our visit to their houses at Uttar Kachipara of Bauphal upazila in Patuakhali district on 17th June,2016 at about 2.00 p.m. We also talked with Ms.Brishty Rani Bardhan and her mother Minu Rani Bardhan who was separately produced before our two female interogators for interrogation. Brishty cried and said “ I and my mother started to visit the residence of girl friend –Ms.Sharna at about 11.30 am 11/06/2016 from my house. We went to Kachipara by a auto-rickshaw and then we boarded a rented motor cycle towards Sona Park. The park was not known by us. Then I told the motor cycle carrier to reach us towards our home, but the Motor bike holder assured us to make us reach at home. But suddenly the rain fall started and we took shelter nearby a house and after the rain fall stopped then we started to board Motor bike to reach our destination.

At about 5.00/5.30 p.m. the motor bike holder brought us near the unknown river side and we saw eight to nine persons waiting for us in a trawler. The waited persons asked us to board the trawler and thereafter threatened us to quickly board in the trawler, we have been compelled to board the trawler and some of the persons pushed us to board the trawler injuring legs, we found a blue polythin within the trawler and we have been forced to go to polythin cover in the Trawler, we refused to go to within the polythin cover then one accused Harun said “ I am a Government servant if you fail to lay down the people might see there might be some problem” I tried to open my cell phone Harun and other boarded perpetrators snatched away my cell phone, they also directed us to ready for murder. The Trawler was kept at the middle of the river at about 8.00 p.m. I was also brought upper side of the trawler and we started to hue and cry for safety of our prestige and lives, in the meantime my mother was brought under the lower side of the Trawler and she was raped by one after another. I was also raped by Sohel, Harun and Rahim one after another. After one hour I was also raped by those three persons. My mother became senseless due to continuous raping. The perpetrators also looted golden chain belonging to my mother and myself. They also video-taped the scenario of rape and they also took photo our nude pictures. The local people came forward as we started to hue and cry. While perpetrators were trying to flee away from the trawler some people caught hold of Nure Alam. We have been rescued by the local people, we have been sent to Upazila Health complex and we have been sent to Patuakhali Medical Hospital for treatment. Local people informed the local Union Parishad member who also helped to call police for necessary legal assistance.”.

 

We also talked with Ms. Minu Rani Bardhan {35} mother of Ms.Bristy Bardhan who was produced before our two female members for interrogation. Ms.Minu Rani cried and said ‘ I and my daughter Ms.Bristy started to visit the residence of girl friend –Ms.Sharna at about 11.00 am 11/06/2016 from my house. We went to Kachipara by a auto-rickshaw and then we boarded a rented motor cycle toward Sona Parak. The park was not known by us. Then I told the motor cycle carrier to reach us towards our home, but the Motor bike holder assured us to make us reach at home. But suddenly the rain fall started and we took shelter nearby a house and after the rain fall stopped then we started to board Motor bike to reach our destination. At about 5.00/5.30 p.m. the motor bike holder brought us near the unknown river side and we saw eight to nine persons waiting for us in a trawler. The waited persons asked us to board the trawler and thereafter threatened us to quickly board in the trawler, we have been compelled to board the trawler and some of the persons pushed us to board the trawler, we found a blue polithin within the trawler and we have been asked to go to polythin cover in the Trawler, I refused to go to within the polythin cover then one accused Harun said “ I am a Government servant if the people see there might be some problem”. Ms. Minu Rani said “ I recognized one perpetrator Sagor who earlier visited our home where we stay. To collect our Mobile numbers Sagor visited our home He was the initiator of gang-rape scenario. Police could not arrest Sagor till today. Sagor forcefully raped me and I tried to avoid but he started to blow me on my nose; thereafter I was raped one after another, I became senseless and I also requested all of the perpetrators not to rape her daughter but the perpetrators started to rape brutally without my consent. They also stolen my golden chain and they also took video and picture of rape scenario. They also video-taped the scenario of rape and they also took photo our nude pictures. The local people came forward as we started to hue and cry. While perpetrators were trying to flee away some people caught hold of Nur Alam. We have been rescued by the local people, we have been sent to Upazila Health complex and we have been sent to Patuakhali Medical Hospital for treatment. Local people informed the local Union Parishad member who also helped to call police for necessary legal assistance.

Legal Action:

Paritosh Chandra Bardhan {42} husband of victim Ms.Minu Rani lodged first information report {FIR} at Baufal police station being Baufal P.S case No. 12 dated 12.06.2016 under section 9{3}/30 of Women and Children Repression Act 2003 read with section 379 of penal code against five perpetrators 1. Harun, 2. Sagor, 3. Sohel Mridha 30, 4.Nure Alam 30, 5.Abdur Rahim, 6. Anwar and more 4 to 5 unknown perpetrators. Police arrested Nure Alam for the alleged offence and he has been produced before the Magistrate Patuakhali for confessional statement and Nure Alam confessed and said “ I was in the trawler Sohel brought two victim within the trawler and the trawler started to “Ishan char”. I along with Rahim, Harun Mridha, Sohel within the trawler. Harun, Sohel, Rahim forcefully raped mother and daughter; I forcefully raped Ms. Minu Rani. I sent three thousand taka through Bkash. The accused Sohel, Rahim and Harun Mridha stolen the golden ornaments. I was caught red handed by the local people and police brought me at about 1.30 night dated 13th June, 2016.

Our team visited the spot identified by victims who showed us the middle of river where both mother and daughter were brought for rape within a trawler. Both the victims cried loudly and prayed for justice and they also separately given us a written appeal for helping them legally in the court during trial. They also made a prayer for a judicial enquiry and also for protection of lives and properties within their village home. We also visited the police station at Baufal where we met with I.O. of the case who has been entrusted with responsibility to investigate the case. The officer in charge of Baufal police station, who also was present during our incident reporting whole the time. He also assured us that the remaining perpetrators responsible for gang rape would be arrested to bring them to justice. I also communicated with local Member of Parliament who is now Chief Whip of Bangladesh Parliament said “ I have already instruction the O.C. Baufal P.S. for taking necessary steps against the perpetrators whoever may be the members of Awami League or Secha Shebok League in power. He also assured us that the remaining perpetrators will be brought to book as per law, he also said “ As soon as the parliament is prorogued he will visit his area and look into the matter.” I also talked with S.P. Patuakhali who also co-operated with us giving security during our visit We have also talked with Deputy Commissioner, Patuakhali who also assured us that he will look into the matter with the consultation of S.P.Patuakhali. We are also very much concerned that the local elected U.P. Chairman did not visit the spot, nor he gave any consolation to the victims for such a heinous act.

Recommendations:  

We are concerned about gang-rape of mother and daughter belonging to minority communities at Baufal Upazila of Patruakhali district that committed on 12.06.2016 and we are also concerned about not arresting other accused to bring them to justice. We are also very much concerned not able to provide any medical assistance to the victims as the house of victims is far away from the Medical Hospital at Patuakhali. The medical assistance so far provided to victims are not satisfactory said the victims during our reporting. It is also alleged that some of the perpetrators are threatening the victims’ family to withdraw the case. We also demand the traumatized victims to provide sufficient medical assistance and protection of lives to overcome trauma. We observed the responsibility shown by the local police is far from satisfactory. The urgent medical assistance to victims by a Trauma Hospital is absolutely necessary. The local people should be taught discrimination free environment in the society for better co-existence and congenial atmosphere within the village. Bangladesh Centre for Human Rights and Development-BCHRD and BDMW urged upon government of Bangladesh to stop ethnic cleansing. International instruments which protect the right to freedom of religion- Article 18 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; Article 18 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 6 Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief should be adhered to.