Noakhali Gang Rape: Key accused, another held
Police have arrested two more people, including the prime accused, in Cumilla and Laxmipur in connection with the alleged gang rape of a mother of four in Noakhali's Subarnachar upazila.
Superintendent of Police in Noakhali Elias Sharif said they arrested Sohel – the prime accused -- from a brick kiln at Moheshpur of Barura upazila in Cumilla yesterday noon.
With the two, so far, three of the nine accused have been arrested. Police on Monday night arrested one of the accused -- Badsha Alam.
The victim's husband sued nine people over the gang rape with Char Jabbar Police Station on Monday, hours after she had been raped at the dead of night.
While undergoing treatment at Noakhali General Hospital on Monday, the mother of four told this newspaper that around 10 to 12 accomplices of Ruhul Amin raped her because she voted for the “sheaf of paddy”, the electoral symbol of the BNP, during Sunday's national polls.
But the list of the accused in the case did not include the name of the former union parishad member Ruhul Amin who, according to the victim, allegedly ordered his men to rape her because of who she voted for.
Ruhul, who claimed to be the publicity affairs secretary of Subarnachar Awami League, denied the allegation.
Meanwhile, a three-member inquiry team of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), headed by its director Al-Mahmud Faizul Kabir, went to Noakhali and spoke to the victim, her husband, the physician looking after her, the police administration and locals.
“Since we could not get the pathological report, we could not come to any conclusion about the rape. But she [the victim] was brutally beaten,” Kabir told The Daily Star.
Asked whether the victim had made the same allegation regarding Ruhul ordering the rape due to whom she voted for, he said they were aware of all her complaints and would investigate and verify accordingly.
AL General Secretary Obaidul Quader yesterday said no one involved in the incident of the gang rape of the woman would be spared.
"I've heard about the incident. It didn't take place in my constituency but in Noakhali. However, such an incident is not acceptable. The culprits must be punished. None of those who're guilty will be spared. I know the attitude of our leader," he said.
Quader, also the Road Transport and Bridges Minister, made the remarks while talking to reporters after a meeting with Indian High Commissioner in Dhaka Harsh Vardhan Shringla at the secretariat.
"I already spoke to the inspector general of police. The deputy inspector general of police (DIG) also visited the spot. The government will take a strong stance against the culprits," he added.
The Manusher Jonno Foundation (MJF) yesterday expressed deep concern over the rape and the reason behind it -- voting for the opposition.
In a statement, the MJF demanded immediate legal punishment of the culprits upon proper investigation.
Executive Director of MJF Shaheen Anam in the statement said women were targets of post-polls violence even in the previous years. Women were targeted this time as well, which was not acceptable in any circumstance.
Though a case was filed, main accused is still out of reach due to political affiliations, she said.
The MJF believes women are being attacked and becoming victims of sexual violence in many situations due to lack of exemplary punishment and accountability.
Bangladesh Nari Shangbadik Kendra also condemned the incident and demanded stern punishment of the culprits through proper investigation.