Death of a dream
12:00 AM, August 31, 2017 / LAST MODIFIED: 03:12 AM, August 31, 2017

Death of a dream

Family members of Rupa recounts her struggle to become a lawyer before being killed after 'gang-rape'

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Rupa Khatun was on the right track to realise her late father's dream.

Her farmer father wanted her to become a lawyer one day and fight legal battles for the oppressed. So the 27-year-old from Sirajganj enrolled for LLB in a Dhaka college after her master's in 2014.

Life has been tough for her since early age. In the school and college years, she met her educational expenses by private tuition. Later, she joined a company to support her LLB study.

But both her life and her life's dream were cut short ever so cruelly.

On Friday night, three staffers of a bus she was on allegedly raped her before breaking her neck and throwing her body in a secluded area at Pachish Mile in Tangail. She was on way to Mymensingh, where she worked, from Bogra where she had gone to take an exam for a job.      

"My father had the dream that one of his five children would become a lawyer. We couldn't do it, but she chased the dream," Hafizur Rahman, elder brother of the victim, told The Daily Star by phone.

Tangail police recovered the body around 11:00pm and arrested driver Habibur Rahman Habib, 40; superviser Gendu Miah, 50; and three helpers -- Shamim, 30, Akram, 35, and Jahangir, 20.

Daughter of Jelhaz Pramanik of Asanbari village in Tarash upazila of Sirajganj, Rupa completed her master's in accountancy from Bogra Azizul Haque College in 2014. She started her LLB at Ideal Law College in the capital the next year.

"She was waiting for the LLB final exams in December,” said Hafizur.

In her village home, relatives and neighbours have no words to console her mother who has been crying almost nonstop for the last few days.

"Of all my children, Rupa had been struggling to fulfil her father's dream. Now everything is shattered," a crying Hasna Hena said.

Rupa's father died of cancer last year. The family lives in a worn-out tin-shed house.

HOW IT HAPPENED

Rupa went to Bogra on Friday to sit for a teachers' registration examination. After the test, she along with her college friend, Abdul Barik, from her hometown boarded the bus of Chhowa Paribahan in the evening.

Barik got down from the bus at Elenga in Tangail around 9:00pm.

As all passengers of the bus got down, helper Shamim took Rupa to the rear and tried to rape her. The victim then gave him Tk 5,000 and her mobile phone to Shamim and pleaded to be let go, police said.

Shamim took the money and the phone and then raped her. Two other helpers Akram and Jahangir also raped her while Habib was driving and Gendu was sleeping, they added.

Rupa's younger brother Uzzal Pramanik, a college student, said Rupa called him on the phone just before boarding the bus.

"I had requested her not to take such a long journey at night and also requested her to return home," he said.

"But she told me that she will have problem if she did not reach her workplace on time," he said.

Rupa's sister Popy said her elder sister started contributing to the family after getting the job. She wanted to study abroad after becoming a lawyer.

"But the killers took away my sister's life," Popy said.

PROTESTS

The incident triggered a firestorm in the social media.

In the district's Tarash upazila, locals formed a human chain yesterday demanding exemplary punishment of the culprits.

"Rupa was a struggling girl. She studied hard in school and college and got stipends," said Jafar Iqbal, principal of Tarash Degree College from where she completed higher secondary.

He demanded fitting punishment for the perpetrators.

The family members made similar demands.

"We want maximum punishment of all the five culprits so that no one dares to commit such a crime in future," said Hafizur.

ACCUSED SENT TO JAIL

The bus driver and the superviser were sent to jail yesterday after they gave confessional statements before a Tangail court, admitting their involvement in the dumping of the body, said Kaiyum Khan Siddique, who is investigating the case.

Liton Miah, 25, who took a job in the bus two days after the incident and came to know about the crime, gave his statement as a witness before another court in Tangail, he said.

Earlier, the three helpers of the bus were sent to jail on Tuesday evening.

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