Four days after the gang rape of a woman in Noakhali's Subarnachar upazila, police yesterday arrested Awami League leader Ruhul Amin who allegedly ordered his accomplices to rape the mother of four for voting for “sheaf of paddy”.
Police also held an accused in the case, Ibrahim Khalil Bechu, at Senbagh yesterday.
Ruhul, whose name was not mentioned in the first information report, was arrested in Wapda area of the district's Sadar upazila. He is also a former union parishad member.
With these two, five people, including four accused, have been arrested in connection with the incident that sparked protest and condemnation.
Meanwhile, doctors treating the 35-year-old woman have found evidence of gang rape.
Khalil Ullah, superintendent at Noakhali General Hospital, yesterday said, “The test report will be handed over to police.”
The victim has all along been alleging that Ruhul ordered his men to rape her on Sunday night as she had voted for “sheaf of paddy”, the BNP's electoral symbol. She claimed that she had been intimidated by Ruhul's men so that she voted for “boat”, the AL's electoral symbol.
That night, some 10 to 12 men carrying sticks stormed her home. They tied up her husband, a CNG-run auto-rickshaw driver, and four children with ropes, she said.
The victim's husband sued nine people. Ruhul was not mentioned in the FIR.
The complainant later told The Daily Star that even though he informed police about Ruhul's role, police did not include his name in the FIR.
Elias Sharif, superintendent of Noakhali police, said they arrested Ruhul as both the victim and the complainant alleged that the people involved in the incident were the men of Ruhul.
Asked whether the arrestees spoke of Ruhul's involvement, the SP said he could not comment on a matter under investigation.
Ruhul, of Char Maddhyam Bagya village, was once poor and he joined the AL in 2009, said locals.
After he was elected member of ward-5 of Char Jubilee Union Parishad in 2011, he led criminal activities in the locality, including drug trading, land grabbing and plundering trees, they claimed.
Later, he was made the publicity affairs secretary of Subarnachar AL.
Once a landless person, Ruhul built a housing estate a kilometre west of Pankhar Bazar on Ramgati-Char Jabbar Road. He named the estate after him, Ruhul Amin Nagar, reports our Noakhali correspondent.
He has a house near the estate.
Siddique Miah of the same village said Ruhul Amin Nagar was built on government land. He also alleged that Ruhul grabbed government land and built business establishments there and “sold” those at high prices.
But Nizam Uddin, officer-in-charge of Char Jabbar Police Station, said they never received any complaint against Ruhul.
Meanwhile, Jatiya Oikyafront leader Dr Kamal Hossain in a statement yesterday termed the rape a shame on the whole nation and demanded the perpetrators be brought to justice.