The college girl, who was set on fire allegedly by her father's rivals in Santhia upazila on August 19, lost her battle for life at Dhaka Medical College Hospital early yesterday.
Mukti Khatun, 22, daughter of freedom fighter Mozammel Haque of Nagdemra village in the upazila, was a second-year student of Philosophy department at Government Edward College in Pabna.
Mukti, who suffered 60 percent burns, died from her injuries at the DMCH's ICU around 1:30am, said Abdul Mazid, officer-in-charge of Santhia Police Station.
On August 19, some criminals, allegedly led by Abdus Salam, president of ward-1 unit Awami League of Nagdemra union, attacked Mozammel's house and set fire on Mukti after pouring petrol on her.
There had been a longstanding conflict between Mozammel and his neighbour Salam over capturing a water body in the village, police said.
Both groups had clashed several times in the past and cases were filed against the two.
However, Mozammel claimed that Salam was a Jamaat man. After the AL came to power in 2008, Salam and many other BNP Jamaat-men joined the ruling party. “There is a political rivalry between him and me as he is a 'hybrid' AL man.”
Following the rivalry, Salam attempted to kill him but failed as he and his son managed to flee the house. They then set fire to his daughter, Mozammel said.
“I want justice,” he demanded while talking to this correspondent yesterday.
“I never imagined that my daughter would be burnt alive in my house in independent Bangladesh. The Pakistan [occupation] army and their [local] collaborators committed similar crimes during the Liberation War,” said Mozammel.
“Backed by influential political leaders, the attackers dared to commit such crime,” he alleged.
Talking to The Daily Star, Ramzan Ali, organising secretary of Nagdemra union unit AL and also a member of the union, said Salam got the post of president of ward-1 unit AL in 2013 by “managing” local AL leaders.
On August 20, Mukti's father filed a case against 32 people, including Salam.
OC Mazid said police so far arrested 24 accused and all were Salam's supporters. Police are trying to arrest the key accused, Salam, he added.
Mukti was scheduled to get married on Friday, said her mother Nazma Khatun, adding that they were taking preparations for that.
“I want to live and establish myself after completing education,” said Mukti while speaking to her brother Nasir Uddin on Sunday night at the DMCH's ICU.
Nasir said this was the last conversation with his sister.
Contacted, Al Mahmud Delwar, president of Santhia upazila unit AL, said the incident happened over a land-related dispute.
“Although the accused are the party activists and also hold party posts, we never support such crime,” said Mahmud, adding that they wanted punishment of the culprits although they were party activists.
Pabna district unit of Mohila Parishad held a human chain in Pabna town yesterday noon, demanding exemplary punishment of the culprits.
This is a heinous crime to kill a college girl by setting her on fire. The culprits must be punished so that such crime does not happen again in future, said Kamrunnahar Joly, president of Pabna Mohila Parishad, at the human chain.