<i>Fancy takes her life fearing mockery of justice</i>
A rape victim teenaged orphan girl of Chandanchahat village under Ranishankoil upazila in Thakurgaon committed suicide on Wednesday as she was prevented from taking shelter of law in the name of so-called village arbitration.
The victim, Fancy, 19, lost her parents a few years ago and she started staying with her stepbrother Jamshed Ali.
The girl was alone at their home on March 29 night when Chakha of the same village entered her room and raped her, police and locals said.
Hearing her scream, neighbours rushed to the spot and caught fleeing Chakha.
The next day, Fancy along with Jamshed prepared to go to Ranishankoil Police Station to file a case.
As the rapist's family members sought help of the village leaders, Nekmorad Union Parishad member Abdus Salam and Shamsul Huda assured Fancy and Jamshed of justice through arbitration.
On March 31 evening, village leaders arranged arbitration at Fancy's house where Mizanur Rahman, Vice-Chairman of Ranishankoil upazila parishad, also upazila Ameer of Jamaat-e-Islami, and UP members Abdus Salam and Banu Begum were present among over a hundred villagers.
After a long discussion, the village leaders said they will give judgment a few days later, said UP member Banu Begum.
Humiliated and suspicious of the so-called justice from the village leaders, Fancy burst into tears and she took poison after a few minutes, said Jamshed.
Fancy was rushed to village doctor Hamid who referred her to Ranishankoil Health Complex but she died on the way at about 1:00am on Wednesday.
Jamshed filed a case accusing 11 people including Chakha.
Ranishankoil upazila parishad Vice-Chairman of Mizanur Rahman said, “We tried to settle the matter but two rival groups did not cooperate. Then we fixed April 6 for sitting again. But the girl took poison after we left the arbitration meeting.”
“Crimes like rape cannot be compromised through arbitration. If such so-called arbitration is allowed, crimes including torture on women and children will increase,” said a police officer seeking anonymity.