A Feni judicial magistrate court on Thursday transferred the case filed for burning to death madrassah student Nusrat Jahan Rafi to the Feni Women and Children Repression Prevention Tribunal for trial. Senior judicial magistrate Zakir Hossain passed the order and sent all the case documents to the tribunal posting for June 10 the next hearing in the case.
Nusrat’s family, the plaintiff and rights activist expressed their dissatisfaction as the suspended Sonagazi police officer-in-charge and a local journalist, who reportedly tried to brand the murder as suicide, were not included in the charge sheet.
Assailants set Nusrat on fire pouring Kerosene on her on the roof of Sonagazi Islamia Senior Fazil Madrassah on April 6 for denying to withdraw her allegation against madrassah principal SM Siraj-ud-Doula of sexually abusing her. She succumbed to burn injuries at the burn unit of Dhaka Medical College Hospital on April 4. The death sparked countrywide protests.
Nusrat’s elder brother Abdullah Al Noman and also the plaintiff of the murder case expressed his dissatisfaction as the then Sonagazi police officer-in-charge Mouazzem Hossain and Somoy Television local correspondent Abul Hossain Ripon were not included in the charge sheet.
He said that they petition the tribunal to bring them to justice.
He, however, said that the 16 people named in the charge sheet submitted by the Police Bureau of Investigation on Wednesday were involved in the murder.
He alleged that they were feeling insecure as the accused warned him and his lawyers of dire consequences in the courtroom on Thursday.
Rights organisation Ain o Salish Kendra executive director Sheepa Hafiza also expressed his dissatisfaction as Mouazzem and Abul Hossain were not named in the charge sheet. As the two have not been placed before justice, they may influence the trial, she feared.
She demanded full protection for the victim’s family.
Echoing Sheepa, rights activist Nur Khan Liton said that the charge sheet did not name the police officer and the journalist who either tried to establish the murder as a suicide or neglected duties. These influential people should be brought to book for ensuring justice.
Feni superintendent of police in-charge Md Moniruzzaman said that they ensured security for the victim’s family. Neither Mouazzem nor Abul Hossain could be reached for comments over mobile phone as their phones were found switched off. Feni court police inspector Md Golam Jilani said that the jail authorities produced before the court 21 detained people, including the 16 named in the charge sheet, in the case.
He said that of the accused, Sonagazi municipal councillor and municipal unit Awami League acting general secretary Maksud Alam sought bail. The court, however, told his lawyer that it had no power to grant bail in such cases.
The court sent all the 21 to jail.
The Police Bureau of Investigation on Wednesday submitted the charge sheet against 16 people, including madrassah principal SM Siraj-ud-Doula, 57, local Awami League leaders Ruhul Amin, 55, and Maksud Alam, 50, Nur Uddin, 20, Shahadot Hossain Shamim, 20, Saifur Rahman Mohammad Jobayer, 21, Jabed Hossain also known as Sakhawat Hossain, 19, Hafez Abdul Kader, 25, Absar Uddin, 33, Kamrunnahar Moni, 19, Umme Sultana Popy, 19, Abdur Rahim Sharif, 20, Iftekhar Uddin Rana, 22, Imran Hossain Mamun, 22, Mohammad Shamim, 22, and Mahiuddin Shakil, 20.
On March 27, Nusrat was sexually assaulted by principal Siraj in his office room. Siraj was arrested on March 27 after Nusrat’s mother filed a case with Sonagazi police station on the same day.
On April 6, when Nusrat went to the madrassah to sit for her Alim examination, five people, reportedly accomplices of principal Siraj, wearing burkas and gloves misled Nusrat to go to the roof of the madrassah building to rescue her closest friend providing wrong information that she was being lynched. As Nusrat went to the roof to rescue her friend, five accused poured kerosene on her and set her on fire.
Nusrat was brought to the Burn Unit of Dhaka Medical College Hospital where she died at the Intensive Care Unit on April 10.