Sonagazi Brutality: A tripartite COLLABORATION
After Nusrat Jahan Rafi was taken to the rooftop of Sonagazi madrasa's administrative building on April 6, fellow students Umme Sultana Poppy and Kamrunnahar Moni held her hands tight.
Shahadat Hossain Shamim, a Fazil (graduation) student, pressed his hands on her mouth as his two classmates Jabed and Jubayer bound her legs with her scarf. Her hands were also tied up.
Of Jabed and Jubayer, one poured kerosene on Nusrat while the other set her on fire with a match stick.
Two key accused in the Nusrat murder case, Nuruddin and Shahadat, gave this shocking description in their confessional statements recorded by Senior Judicial Magistrate Md Zakir Hossain, according to a source linked to the investigation.
Shahadat said Nusrat was killed on instructions from jailed Sonagazi Islamia Fazil Madrasa principal Siraj Ud Doula, arrested on March 27 for sexually harassing her at his office.
A day before the heinous act, Sonagazi municipality councillor and Awami League leader Maksud Alam gave them Tk 10,000. They got another Tk 5,000 from a madrasa teacher, said the two in the confessions.
A Feni court yesterday placed Maksud, arrested in Dhaka on Thursday, on a five-day remand.
THE FATEFUL DAY
Nusrat, Poppy and Moni were Alim (equivalent to HSC) examinees and the incident took place minutes before the start of Arabic first paper test at 10:00am.
The Police Bureau of Investigation, which is now dealing with the killing case, told the press on Saturday that a girl named Shampa or Champa called Nusrat out of her exam hall, saying a friend of her was being assaulted on the rooftop.
“As she reached the rooftop, the attackers in burqas first tied up her hands with her scarf and set her on fire,” said Banaj Kumar Majumder, chief of the PBI.
In their statements, Nuruddin and Shahadat said Poppy was called by others as Shampa at the time of the occurrence to create confusion about the identities of the attackers.
After Nusrat was set on fire, Poppy and Moni rushed to their exam hall while Shahadat and Jubayer got down quickly and fled jumping over the boundary wall. Jabed slipped into the madrasa hostel.
Afsar Uddin, an English teacher at the madrasa, kept watch outside the premises while another teacher, Abdul Kader, along with students Nuruddin, Sharif, Rana and Imran stood guard at the entrance.
Two of their accomplices, Md Shamim and Shakil, took position under the cyclone shelter, now being used as the madrasa's administrative building.
After coming out of the madrasa premises, Shahadat, who claimed to be the madrasa unit BCL president, informed the matter to an influential ruling party leader over the phone.
The magistrate recorded the statements of Nuruddin and Shahadat, for around 10 hours -- from 3:00pm on Sunday till 1:00am yesterday, reports a correspondent in Feni.
According to the statements, 25 to 28 people were directly or indirectly involved in burning Nusrat to death, the source said.
Taherul Huq Chauhan, an additional superintendent (special investigation and operations) of PBI, yesterday told reporters that Nuruddin and Shahadat gave their statements spontaneously.
The court took enough time to check their statements and question them, he said.
The official added that the accused gave details about who committed the crime and how, but he refused to disclose those for the sake of investigation.
So far they found involvement of 13 people in the killing. Besides, some other names that have also come up are now being verified, Chauhan mentioned.
Police have so far arrested three of the five who were directly involved in the crime. They are Shahadat, Jubayer and Poppy, he said. “Drives are on to arrest the rest.”
Police arrested 13 people in connection with Nusrat killing and six of them are accused named in the FIR.
PARENTS MEET PM
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday said none of those found involved in the murder would be spared.
She made the remark when Nusrat's parents AKM Musa and Shirina Akther and two siblings met her at the Prime Minister's Office.
Hasina expressed deep shock over the incident and assured them of her full support, according to sources at the PMO's press wing.
She also arranged a job for Nusrat's brother Mahmudul Hasan Noman at the NRB Global Bank and handed him the appointment letter, a source said.
The bank's chairman, Nizam Chowdhury, was present at the PMO on this occasion.
Suffering about 75 percent burns, Nusrat died at the burn unit of Dhaka Medical College Hospital on April 10, triggering a huge public outcry across the country.
“They asked her to withdraw the case against principal Siraj Ud Doula. As she refused to budge, one of them poured kerosene on her from a glass and set her ablaze,” her elder brother had earlier told The Daily Star, quoting her.
In the press conference on Saturday, the PBI said Nuruddin, Shahadat and three other youths had planned the brutal act on April 5, just a day after meeting Siraj in jail.
The two were made convener and joint convener of the 20-member committee that waged protests in the upazila town demanding release of the principal.
They allegedly put pressure on Nusrat's relatives and others to withdraw the sexual harassment case.