A budding life cruelly cut short
Ramzan Hossain and Tania Hossain had dreamt of raising their eldest daughter to become a doctor one day and so left no stone unturned to ensure that the girl got good educational foundation.
Fourteen-year-old Suraiya Akter Risha seemed to have been putting all her energy in her studies to fulfil their dream, to make them proud, before a stalker of the eighth grader turned their world upside down.
While talking to The Daily Star yesterday, the father was unable to hold back tears as he recalled days before the tragic end of his daughter's life.
"She was everything; my dreams, my hopes... everything," wailed Ramzan, a cable operator in Siddique Bazar area in the capital.
The lion's share of his income used to go on the studies of his three children. "I don't have much money, but I had dreams.... The stalker shattered them."
Risha achieved GPA (Grade Point Average)-5 in her primary terminal examinations in class-V and was preparing to do equally well in the Junior School Certificate exams this year.
The stalker named Obaidul waylaid Risha on her way back from Willes Little Flower School and tried to talk to her the day before he stabbed her on the Kakrail footbridge near the school.
"She didn't tell me anything [about the incident] thinking that I might get tensed. I wish she told me.... I would have escorted her from the school," Ramzan said.
Risha died on Sunday, four days after the stabbing.
When she was suffering from stab injuries outside the school premises, guardians and her classmates requested the school authorities to provide transport to take her to hospital, Ramzan said.
"The authorities refused to give any vehicle, saying it was a police case," he added.
Later, Risha was taken to Islami Bank Central Hospital, less than half a kilometre away, by a rickshaw, “which caused her to bleed more,” the father said.
The school's principal, however, refuted the allegation.
Ramzan expressed dissatisfaction over the police's efforts to arrest Obaidul, the lone accused in the case filed by his wife, and said he wants exemplary punishment of the stalker.
He quoted schoolchildren as saying that the stalker was not alone when he stabbed the girl.
However, Shiblee Noman, assistant commissioner (Ramna zone) of Dhaka Metropolitan Police, said police had heard of only one man involved in the incident.
"It will be possible during the investigation to determine if more people were involved," he said.
Meanwhile, students of Willes Little Flower School once again took to the streets yesterday, blocking the busy Kakrail road since 11:40am.
Carrying placards and posters with slogans like “Justice for Risha”, “We demand justice for Risha”, they demonstrated for over two hours.
They said they would hold the protest programme until the attacker was arrested.
Imran H Sarker, spokesperson of a faction of Gonojagoron Mancha, joined the demonstrators, expressing solidarity with them.
The protesters withdrew the demonstration around 2:00pm after police assured them of arresting the killer within 48 hours, Shiblee Noman said.
Earlier, the school authorities organised a doa mahfil for Risha. The parents of the victim were present at the programme.
NAHID VISITS WILLES LITTLE SCHOOL
Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid went to the school around 12:00noon and assured students of ensuring justice for Risha.
The killer will be given exemplary punishment so that no one can dare to commit such crime in future, he said. He also called upon law enforcers to arrest the killer as soon as possible.
Eunus Ali Akond, a Supreme Court lawyer, served a legal notice to the government, asking it to arrest the killer in 24 hours.
He also requested the government to take steps within the time to provide security around Viqarunnisa Noon School and College and Siddheswari Girls' College at Bailey Road and Willes Little Flower School.
In the notice, he said he would file a writ petition with the High Court, seeking necessary directives if the government did not arrest the accused and provide security.
The home secretary, inspector general of police, Dhaka Metropolitan Police commissioner, director general of the Rapid Action Battalion and officer-in-charge of Ramna Police Station have been made respondents to the notice.
Meanwhile, expressing grave concern, National Human Rights Commission and Bangladesh National Women Lawyer's Association demanded a proper investigation into the incident and immediate arrest of Obaidul.