Overwhelming nationwide protests continued yesterday for the third consecutive day, demanding justice for the gruesome murder of madrasa student Nusrat Jahan Rafi, who was set ablaze allegedly for protesting sexual harassment against her.
Protest from various political parties, student platforms, rights bodies, cultural organisations and people from different walks of life poured in as they formed human chains in the capital and other parts of the country, report our correspondents.
In Dhaka, human chains were formed at different points stretching from the prime minister's official residence Gono Bhaban to the president's official residence Bangabhaban -- passing through Asad Gate, Kalabagan, Science Laboratory, Elephant road, Bata Signal, Kataban, Shahbagh, the High Court and Jatiya Press Club areas.
Different political, socio-cultural organisations including Communist Party of Bangladesh, Bangladesh Chhatra Union, Nari Pragati, Bangladesh Udichi Shilpi Gosthi, Ghashforing Khelaghar Ashor, among others, joined the human chain.
The programme continued from 11am to noon.
Rights activist Sultana Kamal, Transparency International Bangladesh Executive Director Iftekharuzzaman, journalist Syed Abul Maksud, and development activist Khushi Kabir, among other distinguished personalities, joined the protest, said a CPB press release.
At the human chain, Communist Party of Bangladesh Dhaka metropolitan unit General Secretary Shajedul Haque announced to observe “violence against woman and child resistance week” across the country from April 20, to show their strong resistance against any kind of violence against women and children.
He urged people to build resistance against violence towards women and children, like in 1971.
Sultana Kamal said incidents like killing of Nusrat takes place when the state does not properly carry out its responsibility, said a press release of Green Voice, an environmentalist youth organisation.
“We don't want any promise; we want to see the culprits get maximum punishment,” she said.
CPB President Mujahidul Islam Selim, who was protesting in front of Bangabhaban, said Nusrat's murder was a result of culture of injustice in the country.
Selim alleged that the ruling party was responsible for it too, as they carry out their criminal activities through their student affiliates. “The culprits know that they will not be punished if they use the power of the ruling party, and that is why these types of criminal activities are increasing day by day,” he said.
Meherunnesa Rubi, 60, came with her daughter, daughter-in law and granddaughter from Dhaka's Gendaria to join the protest. She said, “We all have come here to protest the killing of Rafi [Nusrat]. I have brought my little granddaughter, because little kids are not also safe from rape. We want their safety.”
Another protester Shamima Akhter said, “We all should take to the streets and continue mass protests until exemplary punishment of culprits are ensured.”
Sammilita Samajik Andolon and Oikya Nap demanded justice over other sensational cases, including that of Cumilla Victoria College student Sohagi Jahan Tonu.
They alleged that unwanted incidents are taking place in the country's madrasas one after another, because of administration's lack of accountability.
Dhaka University Teachers' Association, in a press statement yesterday, condemned the brutal murder and demanded exemplary punishment for the culprits immediately. The statement was issued by the Association's President Prof ASM Maksud Kamal and General Secretary Prof Shibli Rubayat Ul Islam.
Different organisations also formed human chains at Chapainawabganj and Patuakhali, report our correspondents.
Nusrat, 18, died at the hospital on Wednesday night, five days after she was set on fire on the roof of Sonagazi Senior Islamia Fazil Madrasa by suspected followers of principal SM Siraj-ud-Daula. They allegedly lured her to the roof, poured kerosene on her and set her on fire for refusing to lift sexual assault charges against the madrasa principal.