‘Abducted, converted and murdered’: 5 rights organisations demand justice for Lakingme Chakma | The Daily Star
08:50 PM, January 16, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 08:58 PM, January 16, 2021

‘Abducted, converted and murdered’: 5 rights organisations demand justice for Lakingme Chakma

Last year, 14-year-old Lakingme Chakma of Teknaf was abducted, converted, married to one of her abductors, before eventually being murdered.

Today evening, demanding justice over the death of Lakingme Chakma, five human, women and minority rights organisations held a protest in front of the National Parliament in Manik Mia Avenue of the capital.

Hundreds of protesters held candles, banners and placards in memory of the 14-year-old.

The protest was jointly organised by Bangladesh Nari Pragati Sangha (BNPS), Bangladesh Legal Aid Services and Trust (BLAST), Association for Land Reform and Development (ALRD), Manusher Jonno Foundation and Bangladesh Adivasi Forum.  

Several indigenous student organisations  -- Adivasi Chhatra Sangram Parishad, Pahari Chhatra Parishad, Adivasi Youth Forum, Jono-Udyog, Adivasi Women Network and Sammilito Samajik Andolon also expressed solidarity with the protest.

Fourteen-year-old Lakingme was abducted from her Shilkhali Chakma Para home on January 5 last year. Later, she was kept at nearby villages until January 8. On January 9, she was taken to Shahpori Island in Teknaf, where she was kept at one Kala Monu's home for the next two days, found a 10-member investigation team of rights activists, indigenous community leaders, journalists and teachers.

Prof Farha Tanjim Titil of Kushtia Islamic University, one of the investigation team members, was present at the protest.

She said, "On January 11, Lakingme was taken to Cumilla by Ataullah and later on she was converted and married to him at a registrar's office. If OC Pradeep Kumar Das [now accused of killing Major Sinha] of Teknaf Police Station would have recorded the case of Lakingme's father Lala Aung Chakma, she could have been rescued."

According to her, although Lala managed to file a case with Cox's Bazar Women and Children Repression Tribunal on January 27, the PBI investigated the case with negligence. And after 11 months and six days, Lakingme's body was found in a Cox's Bazar hospital morgue.

Prof Titil also said that since she was abducted, forcibly converted and married at 14, it means she was raped. The family must get justice and the accused must be held accountable for this.

"Besides, the law enforcers must investigate whether she killed herself or was murdered because we have found many examples that she was instigated to commit suicide," said Prof Titil.

"The Lakingme's family must be given protection since they are feeling insecure and they must be given compensation. Also, a departmental inquiry into PBI's negligence must be carried out and punishment must be ensured for those involved in certificate forgery, forced conversion and marriage of the minor," she added.

Expressing solidarity with the protest, DU Professor Dr Robayet Ferdous said there are so many Lakingmes, who had to endure such cruelty.

Rina Roy, director, Manusher Jonno Foundation, said 1,627 girl children and women had been raped in the past year, but we have not seen any reflection of this in the judiciary.

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