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October 19, 2003 

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When the protector becomes perpetrator


It was the most tragic day in her life. She passed bad times before, but this was the most horrific of all. She came to the house of a police officer with the hope of getting a good job. But she lost the most valuable asset of her life, her chastity, there.

She is Rubina Khatun (20) of Khulna. After her first husband died, she got married for the second time with a laborer of Rupsha river port, Faruk Hosain. Faruk Hosain had already another wife and Rubina became his second wife. With Faruk Hosain and his first wife, Rubina had to pass a very difficult life because she had a two and a half years old daughter, Ruma, from her first husband.

In September last, Rubina became acquainted with Choti Begum in Khulna. Choti Begum proposed her to provide a very good job at the residence of the Officer-in-charge (OC) of Jiban Nagar police station, Shah Alam, in Chuadanga. Rubina agreed and they left for Chuadanga on 11 September. They arrived at the residence of OC in the evening of the same day. The OC came back home at 11 in the evening. He told Choti Begum to keep the daughter of Rubina with her. He took Rubina to her bedroom, gave her a saree and soap and told her to have bath. He had taken a peel then and after half an hour, he forcefully started to have sex with Rubina. The torment on Rubina continued for two hours. She tried to save her modesty from the perpetrator OC for several times, but failed. The 55-year-old OC, whose son-in-law is also a police officer, with all his masculine vigor, molested a weak, destitute woman whom he was supposed to protect. The ravage was unbelievable for Rubina.

After satisfying his perverted thirst, the OC gave Tk. 300 to Rubina and Tk. 700 to Choti Beguma and told them to leave his place soon. He also threatened them not to disclose this incident.

Coming out of OC's residence, Rubina and Choti were walking for a while in search of a rickshaw. Finding nothing, they walked for one and a half km. and reached at Jiban Nagar Bazaar. Walking was difficult for Rubina because of the ravage she had just faced. It was early morning and Rubina requested Choti Begum to have something for breakfast of her daughter Ruma. Choti refused to do that and they started quarrelling each other. People in the bazaar area gathered to know the reason. Then Rubina broke into tears and started to tell the people about the misfortune and the terrible experience that she had had last night.

Coincidentally the convener of local unit of Bangaldesh Nationalist Women Party, Farhana Akter Rini went to the spot. She took them to Jiban Nagar Thana Health Complex for medical examination of Rubina. The on-duty physicians, observing the condition of Rubina, suggested to take her to Chuadanga General Hospital. Then Rini took them to Thana Nirbahi Officer. He kept Rubina in his care and contacted high police officials of the district. The OC was closed immediately by the district police administration. The Additional Police Superintendent Mizanur Rahman made a quick intervention in visiting the victims and closing the OC at District police line.

On 13 September, at the intervention of some local human rights organization and District Human Rights Monitoring Cell, Rubina filed a case against the OC and Choti Begum under section 9(1)/30 of Prevention of Repression against Women and Chindren Act 2000 (PS case no. 10, date 13/09/2003). Choti Begum was sent to thana custody after filing of the case.

On 13 September, Rubina's statement was recorded under section 164 of the Cr.P.C. in the court of First Class Magistrate. On 15 September, a four-member medical board did the medical examination of Rubina. They found several spots of injuries on victim's body. Blood clot and dead sperm were also found in the private organ of the victim. The medical board has given their report on 16 September. 'After considering the above findings, the medical board opined that there is definite positive sign of forceful sexual intercourse'.

Between 11 and 15 September, several behind-the-curtain initiatives were taken to suppress the incident. Local level BNP leaders and workers of its wings took side of the OC and threatened victim Rubina not to proceed with the case. On behalf of the OC, some people threatened Rubina directly of dire consequences. There were attempts not to do the medical examination of the victim.

Local people informed that even after the incident, several women were found coming to the OC's residence during evening. When asked, one of them told that she came twice to OC's residence and spent night there in exchange of money. The perpetrator OC was arrested subsequently and sent to Chuadanga prison from where he was sent to Kushtia Prison. The matter is now being investigated by Assistant Superintendent of Police Mostafa Abdul Halim. Police Superintendent of Chuadanga Aminul Islam informed that the charge-sheet of the case would be filed very soon.

Odhikar came to learn from field investigation that Choti Begum became acquainted with Shah Alam when he was posted in Rupsha police station in Khulna. Choti's brother was accused in an acid throwing case and Choti was lobbying with Shah Alam to get her brother exempted from the case. Before the incident, Choti received a request from OC Shah Alam to supply him a girl to satisfy his lust. From reliable sources, Odhikar also came to know that OC Shah Alam once received President's award for his good performance and achievement in service life.

On 17 Spetember, the District and Sessions Judge of Chudanga ordered to give Rubina and her daughter in the custody of Bangladesh Society for Enforcement of Human Rights (BSEHR) a human rights organisation. Rubina and her daughter are now staying at the shelter home of the organisation in Dhaka.

Odhikar, a human right organisation carried out this investigation on the basis of a news report titled 'OC arrested on charge of rape in Chuadanga' published in The Daily Star on 16 September 2003, with the support of Academy for Educational Development (AED).

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