The Awami League yesterday expelled Ruhul Amin from the party for his alleged involvement in the gang-rape of a woman in Noakhali's Subarnachar upazila.
The decision came two days after police arrested Ruhul, the publicity affairs secretary of Subarnachar AL, on charge of ordering his accomplices to rape the mother of four for voting for the “sheaf of paddy” -- the BNP's electoral symbol -- in Sunday's election.
Also read: Two more held over Noakhali gang rape
Golam Faruk, president of Subarnachar AL, confirmed the expulsion.
Meanwhile, a delegation of Jatiya Oikyafront, led by BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, yesterday visited the victim, who is now undergoing treatment at Noakhali Sadar Hospital. They assured her of staying by her side.
The 35-year-old woman was gang-raped in Subarnachar area in the early hours of December 31, allegedly by 10 to 12 AL activists.
According to the victim, the men entered her home by cutting the fence around her house. They then tied her husband and four children with ropes, after which they took the woman outside the house and raped her.
The victim also said the rapists threatened to kill her husband and children and torch their house if she told anyone about the rape.
The victim's husband, who was also injured, said the criminals left around 4:00am after beating his wife unconscious and taking Tk 40,000, some gold ornaments and other valuables with them.
The husband said the victim went to cast her vote around 11:00am on Sunday.
During that time, Ruhul allegedly insisted that she vote for the “boat”. He allegedly tried to snatch the ballot paper as she said she would vote for the “sheaf of paddy”. But the victim put the paper inside the box.
This made Ruhul furious and he threatened her, he said.
Talking to The Daily Star, the victim's brother-in-law said the woman had threatened him back.
After the rape incident, the victim's husband filed a case against nine people.
Police have so far arrested four -- Ibrahim Khalil Bechu, Badsha Alom Bashu, Sohel and Swapan.
Besides, police arrested three more people -- Ruhul Amin, Jasim Uddin and Hasan Ali Bulu -- after finding their involvement in the rape during primary investigation.
Meanwhile, police yesterday sought a seven-day remand for all seven arrestees, including Ruhul Amin.
A Noakhali court is expected to hear the remand petitions of five arrestees today.
The court would fix the date for hearing the remand petitions for Jasim Uddin and Hasan Ali Bulu later. The two were arrested on Friday and sent to jail yesterday.
The incident has triggered widespread protest and condemnation.
Different organisations yesterday demanded the highest punishment for the accused.
Samajtantrik Mohila Forum yesterday held a rally in front of the Jatiya Press Club in the capital and pressed for the highest punishment of the perpetrators.
The women chapter of Bangladesh Communist Party sought justice for the victim and demanded security for women and minorities across the country.