The High Court yesterday ordered the government to immediately provide security to a Hindu woman, who was raped allegedly for casting vote in the January 5 election, and her family members in Lalmonirhat.
The 35-year-old housewife of Dharairkhata village under Lalmonirhat sadar upazila was raped by three men of the same village two days after the 10th parliamentary polls, boycott ed by the BNP-led opposition.
The HC passed the order following a writ by rights organisation Ain O Salish Kendra (ASK).
In the writ petition, the ASK said Shamsul, Abenur and Amin picked up the Hindu woman on her way home from a shop on January 7 evening, took her to the bank of the Ratnai river nearby and raped her there.
The trio also made her promise to send her 14-year-old daughter to them the next evening before they let the victim go home.
Once home, she, through the local member, informed the Union Parishad chairman who outright expressed his "inability to do anything" in this regard.
Then she, with the help of a neighbour, went to Lalmonirhat Sadar Police Station to file a case. Instead of registering the case, the officer-in-charge of the police station forced her to sign a "settlement bond". Though all three culprits were present at the police station at that time, they were not arrested. Rather, the OC threatened the victim with arrest if she did not sign the paper, according to the ASK findings submitted to the court.
Now the victim and her family members feel insecure. She also has stopped sending her daughters to school, ASK said.
After hearing the petition, the HC bench of Justice Quazi Reza-Ul Hoque and Justice ABM Altaf Hossain directed the government to ensure security for the victim and her family.
It asked the inspector general of police and the superintendent of Lalmonihat police to investigate the incident and to submit a report in compliance to the order before the court by April 6.
The HC also issued a rule upon the officials to explain in two weeks why they should not be directed to take appropriate legal actions against the culprits, Deputy Attorney General Bishwojit Roy told The Daily Star.