12:00 AM, January 24, 2010 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, January 24, 2010

Village Arbitration

Rapist spared, victim lashed

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Sheikh Md Shahidul Islam, B'baria

Eight months after being raped, a 16-year-old at Khargor of Kasba upazila in Brahmanbaria had to receive 101 lashes as "punishment".
A village arbitration found her guilty and issued the 101 lashes fatwa (religious edict) but amazingly left alleged rapist Enamul Mia, 20, untouched.
The arbitration also fined the victim's father Tk 1,000 and issued another fatwa that her family would be forced into isolation if he failed to pay up.
Village matbar (local leader) Delwar Hossain alias Ullashi executed the durra (lashes) on January 17.
Family sources said Enamul Mia of Gabbari used to eve-tease the girl on her way to Sathgram Advocate Haroon-or-Rashid High School. He raped her April last year. Fearing the shame, the girl did not disclose the incident.
The girl's family had married her off to a man of neighbouring Ghatiara village but after a month into the marriage medical test discovered she was seven months pregnant.
She was divorced and she had to live at her father's place after an abortion. Following her return, a group of so-called matbars led by Manik Mia declared that her family is to be isolated until punished.
On January 17, the influential group arranged the arbitration at the yard of the victim.
At one stage of the inhuman torture, the girl collapsed and fainted. She regained her sense after two hours.
Ullashi presided over the arbitration while Wahid Mia, Basu Mia, Manik Mia, Shahjahan Mia, Dulal Mia, Maulana Md Kawser Mia, Imam of Gupinathpur Baro Mosque, Maulana Md Ishaque Mia, Imam of Khargor Jame Mosque, and a few others played key roles.
"Enamul has spoiled my life. I want justice," said the girl as tears rolled down from her eyes.
Talking to The Daily Star, neighbours spoke in favour of the girl and blamed Enamul. They did not dare to say anything against the so-called village arbitration.
The girl's father said members of the influential group are now keeping a watch on them so that they could not move or seek legal action.
Wahid Mia said they executed the 101 lashes on the girl following the religious edict and they did not call Enamul during the arbitration as he belongs to another village.
A team of human rights activists led by advocate Mili Chowdhury visited the spot.
Their organisation will help the victim file separate cases against the culprits, Mili said.
Kasba Police Station Officer-in-Charge (OC) Md Jahirul Islam Khan said they would take appropriate action if the victim files a case in this regard.
Three women were whipped as a result of fatwas in the district during the last six months.

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