Indigenous people brought out a procession in Chapainawabganj town yesterday, demanding immediate arrest of those who beat up and raped an indigenous woman leader in Gomostapur upazila of the district on Monday.
Jointly organised by Jatiya Adivasi Parishad and Adivasi Chhatra Parishad, several hundred people joined the procession and paraded the main streets. They later submitted a memorandum to the deputy commissioner (DC) and held a protest rally in front of the DC's office.
Rabindranath Soren, president of Jatiya Adivasi Parishad central unit, Bimol Chandra Rajoar, organising secretary of the unit, Dilip Pahan, general secretary of Chapainawabganj unit of Jatiya Adivasi Parishad, Sushen Kumar, Rajshahi unit general secretary of the parishad, Bhabogat Tudu, general secreatry of Uttar Banga Adivasi Forum, Manik Roy, president of Chapainawabganj district unit of Adivasi Chhatra Parishad, and Hemanto Mahato, president of Adivasi Chhatra Parishad Rajshahi University unit, addressed the rally.
The speakers strongly condemned the incident and demanded arrest of the culprits. They also threatened to launch a tougher agitation programme in the northern districts if the criminals were not arrested immediately.
On Monday noon, a gang of 30/35 criminals demanded Tk 3 lakh from the president of Jatiya Adivasi Parishad Chapainawabganj unit when she along with her labourers was planting aman seedlings on her land at Zinarpur village under Parbatipur union of Gomostapur upazila.
As the indigenous woman leader, also the member of Parbatipur Union Parishad, refused to pay heed to the demand, the gang members swooped on the leader and beat her. They also attacked the labourers, who managed to flee the scene.
The victim alleged that three of the gang took her to one side of the farmland and raped her while others took away her power tiller, two bullocks and a shallow pump machine.
She filed a case with Gomostapur Police Station on Monday night, accusing 18 named and 14/15 unnamed people. The indigenous leader was admitted to Gomostapur Upazila Health Complex on the day and shifted to Chapainawabganj Sadar Hospital early Tuesday.
Sub-Inspector Mominur Rahman, also the investigation officer of the case, said police arrested three of the named accused yesterday and the day before from Zinarpur village. They are Ziaul Karim, Azizur Rahman, and Anisur Rahman.