Cops looking for CCTV footage
Police are searching for CCTV footage to gather clues about the identity of the men who gang-raped a Garo woman in a running microbus in the capital's Kuril area on Thursday night.
The shop at Jamuna Future Park, where the 21-year-old woman works as a sales representative, had no CCTV camera installed, police confirmed.
But the shopping mall has several CCTV cameras and police are trying to collect footage from those, said Sazzad Hossain, officer-in-charge (investigation) of Bhatara Police Station.
The CCTV footage appears to be crucial as the victim alleged that one of the rapists, posing as a customer at her workplace, struck up a conversation with her a few days before the incident. The man had enquired about when she usually left work.
Meanwhile, terming the incident planned, victim's relatives yesterday told The Daily Star that the culprits had told the victim in the microbus they had been following her for the last few days.
In the vehicle, they even asked her where she lived and offered to drop her off near her house. She, however, told them to drop her off on Jasimuddin Road in Uttara, they said.
Quoting the victim, they further said the perpetrators were well-dressed and spoke proper Bangla.
A relative of the victim said one of the rapists along with two foreigners went to the shop either on Sunday or Monday last week and stayed there for a while. The man was tall, dark-skinned and well-built.
The victim was confident that she would recognise him once she saw his photo again.
Khandker Lutful Kabir, deputy commissioner (Gulshan division) of Dhaka Metropolitan Police, said police were also trying to find out whether any CCTV camera was installed along or near the roads down which the microbus was driven for about two hours since 9:30pm on Thursday night.
“If we are fortunate enough, we may identify the persons. We may at least identify the microbus once we get footage from any roadside camera,” he told a private television channel.
The microbus in which the woman was raped went over the Kuril flyover and then cruised around a few roads towards Uttara. It is likely that the vehicle would be caught in any of the CCTV cameras installed in front of the markets along the roads and streets, police sources said.
The Garo woman was forced into the microbus while she was waiting for a bus to get back home. The rapists dropped her on Jasimuddin Road in Uttara.
The victim's family filed a case with Bhatara police on Friday accusing five unnamed persons.
DC Lutful Kabir added that the girl also mentioned a name that she heard when one of the rapists called another inside the microbus on Thursday night.
“At one point a phone call came. While handing the phone, one of them uttered the name,” said the DC quoting the victim, adding that they were hopeful about arresting the culprits soon.
Meanwhile, the victim's sister yesterday said they had to go to four police stations for filing the case.
After the victim reached home around 11:00pm Thursday night, her family rushed to Uttara Police Station for help. On-duty policemen there told them to contact Khilkhet Police Station, claimed the sister, adding that they have been living in Uttara for three years.
She added when they went to Khilkhet police, they were told to seek Gulshan police's help.
Gulshan police, however, visited the spot and told them that the crime scene was under Bhatara Police Station.
They finally could file a case with Bhatara police around Friday noon, some 12 hours after the incident.
SIGNS OF RAPE FOUND IN VICTIM'S BODY
Meanwhile, forensic medicine experts at Dhaka Medical College (DMC) yesterday said that they have found signs of rape on the girl's body.
“We primarily found signs of 'recent forceful sexual intercourse' in the victim's body after examining her,” Prof Habibuzzaman Chowdhury, head of the forensic medicine department at DMC, told The Daily Star.
Bhatara police took her to the hospital in the morning for medical test.
Forensic expert Mamataj Ara performed her examination, Chowdhury said, adding that the report will be given in seven days.
“Since it is a very sensitive matter, we will provide the report within the shortest time possible,” he added.
The One-stop Crisis Centre (OCC) at the DMCH yesterday collected samples from the victim's body for DNA test. The samples would be sent to the DNA lab today, Bilkis Begum, coordinator of the OCC, told The Daily Star yesterday.
Meanwhile, several rights and socio-political organisations yesterday demanded that the perpetrators of the gang rape be arrested soon.
Condemning the heinous incident, they blamed that impunity is the reason behind the increase of sexual assault on women.
Hill Women's Federation, an organisation for the women of Chittagong Hill Tracts, in a statement said women are not safe anywhere at present.
“Although the government talks about women's security and empowerment, it has failed to protect women,” reads the statement.
Jouno Nipiron Birodhi Nirdolio Chhatra Jote and Garo Student Union formed a human chain and lit candles yesterday evening near Raju Sculpture of Dhaka University, demanding maximum punishment for the rapists.
Biplob Chiran, general secretary of Garo Student Union, alleged that the administration has always “mocked” indigenous people whenever incidents of sexual assault and rape take place.
In separate statements, Manusher Jonno Foundation, Nari Sanghati, Sammilita Samajik Andolon, Bangladesh Adibashi Union, Bangladesh Chhatra Union, Bangladesh Mahila Parishad and Udichi ShilpIi Goshthi, among others, also condemned the incident in separate statements.