Cause of Tonu's death still unknown | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, June 13, 2016 / LAST MODIFIED: 07:14 AM, June 13, 2016

Cause of Tonu's death still unknown

2nd autopsy report does not suggest rape

It has been nearly three months since her murder, but the cause of her death is still unknown. Like the first autopsy, the second one could not determine how she died. 

The second autopsy on Sohagi Jahan Tonu also did not suggest rape; it only found evidence of "sexual intercourse" before her murder.

DNA tests, however, had confirmed that the 19-year-old college student was raped before being killed.

“We found evidence of sexual intercourse before her death,” Kamoda Prosad Saha, head of the three-member board that conducted the second autopsy at Comilla Medical College, said yesterday.

He, however, did not reply when asked if the “sexual intercourse” was forceful.

Regarding the cause of death, Kamoda, also chair of the forensic medicine department at the college, told this reporter they did not find any injury marks, as the body was highly decomposed.

He, however, said, “The cause of death could be determined by analysing circumstantial evidence and further investigation [by investigators].”

So, the responsibility of finding the cause of death now appears to lie with investigators, even though experts say it is mainly the forensic doctors' task. 

The report of the second autopsy was handed over to CID investigators yesterday.

Following a court order, Tonu's body was exhumed on March 30 and the three-member board conducted the second autopsy the same day.

On May 16, CID officials said the DNA tests revealed that Tonu was raped before being murdered.

The tests found presence of spermatozoa of three males on her clothing, exposing the flaws of first autopsy that did not find evidence of rape and determine the cause of death.

“In DNA tests, we have found evidence of rape,” Abdul Kahar Akand, special superintendent of CID, told The Daily Star on May 16.

The three-member board then decided it would not submit the second autopsy findings until it got DNA test report.

Following a court order, the CID handed the DNA test report to the board on June 7.

“We took help of the DNA test results in preparing the [second] autopsy report,” said Kamoda. 

Asked if evidence of “sexual intercourse” means “rape”, Kamoda said, “Rape is a legal term, not the scientific one.”

He added, “We can scientifically only determine whether there was any sexual intercourse or not.”

But Kamoda used the word “rape” while making public the first autopsy report.

“The doctor who conducted the first autopsy at Comilla Medical College didn't find any evidence of rape and mention the specific reason for Tonu's death in the report,” said Kamoda on April 4. 

Several forensic doctors told this correspondent that presence of spermatozoa of three males suggested “forceful intercourse”.

Tonu's family came to know about the second autopsy findings from TV. Like the first autopsy, this too frustrated them.

They rejected the report and demanded the government ensure justice for Tonu.

“We rejected the finding as it failed to unearth the facts. My daughter was brutally murdered and later dumped in the bush,” Anwara Begum, mother of the victim, told The Daily Star over the phone. 

“The second autopsy report is a duplicate copy of the first one and the doctors prepared it just changing some words.”

Anwara, who saw a ray of hope after the DNA test results came out, is now very much disappointed with the findings.

“The doctors are lying,” she said, demanding a proper probe and arrest of the killers.

Tonu, a Victoria College student and theatre activist, was found murdered in a bush inside Comilla Cantonment area on March 20. The killing sparked storms of protests across the country.

It was Yaar Hossain, the father, who first recovered the body of Tonu. He found his daughter's head smashed and there was injury in her nose.

The first autopsy was conducted by Dr Sharmin Sultana of Comilla Medical College on March 21.

“No sign of forceful intercourse before death was found. Victim was not pregnant. No definite opinion as to the death could be given,” said the first autopsy report, made public on April 4.

The police inquest too found no sign of injury or assault on any part of Tonu's body. 

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