Amid a firestorm of public outrage over the abduction and rape of a Bogra student and the subsequent torture to keep her quiet, Sramik League leader Tufan Sarkar, the main accused, and his two cohorts were placed on a three-day remand yesterday.
Police also arrested six more people in this connection yesterday raising the total number of arrestees to 10.
Chief Judicial Magistrate of Bogra Shyam Sundar Roy rejected the bail petition of Tufan, also an accused in several drug-related cases, and his aides -- Ali Azam of Chaksutrapur Khaipatti of the town and Rupom of Kalitala -- when police produced them before the court with a seven-day remand prayer for each.
However, police did not seek remand for another arrestee Atikur Rahman as he gave a confessional statement before a magistrate.
Police arrested the four on Friday night.
The victim's mother had filed a rape and torture case against 10 people, including Tufan, Ali Azam, Rupom, Tufan's wife Asha Sarkar and her elder sister Marzia Hasan Rumki, who is a woman councillor.
Tufan, convener of Bogra town unit of the ruling Awami League's worker front, on July 17 abducted the female student from her home and raped her and then asked his party cadres and the woman councillor to make sure everything was hushed up.
They picked up the student and her mother on Friday, tortured them for four hours and then shaved their heads.
Police arrested Rumki and her mother Rumi at a house in Pabna town around 7:30pm yesterday, said Sonatan Chakrabarty, additional superintendent of police.
Tufan's wife Asa and his two associates -- Munna and Zitu -- were arrested at Hemayetpur of Savar in Dhaka around 11:45pm when they were going to Dhaka from Pabna in a microbus, Arifur Rahman, an additional SP of Bogra told The Daily Star.
Arifur said Jamirur Rahman Runu, father-in-law of Tufan, was arrested at his Bogra home around 10:30pm yesterday.
Additional SP Sonatan told this newspaper that Tufan was an alleged drug trader and an accused in a case over the murder of a Jubo Dal activist in Bogra. The officer, however, could not say about the status of those cases.
Bogra district administration formed a three-member probe committee led by Additional District Magistrate Abdus Samad, said Noor-e-Alam Siddique, deputy commissioner of Bogra.
Yesterday, people of all walks of life under the banner of Sachetan Nagorik Samaj, a citizen platform, formed a human chain at Saatmatha in the town and strongly condemned the incident.
Tying eyes with black cloths, they demanded exemplary punishment to the culprits.
During the protest, Mustafizur Rahman, president of Bogra district unit of Shushashoner Jonno Nagorik, said arresting Tufan was not enough; he had to be tried and punished.
Tawfique Hasan, general secretary of Bangladesh Gram Theatre, demanded the arrest of the “godfathers” who patronised Tufan.
Aminul Farid, general secretary of Bogra district unit of Communist Party of Bangladesh, said Tufan had not become a criminal overnight. He was arrested with Yaba and Phensidyle several times but got released using his political influence.
Different socio-cultural and political organisations in the capital also expressed deep shock and demanded the government ensure safety and treatment of the victim and her mother.
The incident also triggered fury in social media as the photos of the shaved heads of the mother and daughter were shared online.
The district Sramik League yesterday suspended Tufan and the AL decided to investigate the matter as leaders think the rape and torture of the girl had tarnished the party's image.
"This is a heinous act and we are ashamed," said Rafiqul Islam, president of Bogra Sramik League.
In a statement, the organisation said there was no room for any criminals in Sramik League and demanded exemplary punishment of the culprits.
The AL has assigned its Joint Secretary Jahangir Kabir Nanak and Organising Secretary Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury to investigate the incident. The step was taken from a meeting at the party president's Dhanmondi office with its General Secretary Obaidul Quader in the chair.
The victim, who passed Secondary School Certificate exam this year and was seeking college admission, and her mother were admitted to Bogra Shaheed Ziaur Rahman Medical College Hospital on Friday.
"There are seven to eight injury marks on the victim's body. She might have been struck with a blunt object like an iron rod or a stick. Her body bears deep scars but she is now out of danger," said Abdul Mottaleb, head of surgery department at the hospital.
The Bogra DC visited the victim at the hospital yesterday morning and assured her family of both medical and legal assistance. He said the administration would bear the treatment and education costs of the girl.