Human Rights Commissioner suggest observing Nusrat Day
After fighting for her life for five days, madrasa girl Nusrat Jahan Rafi who was set afire in Songazi upazila of Feni succumbed to her injuries at Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) on Wednesday night. She died at the DMCH Burn and Plastic Surgery unit around 9:30pm, said its chief Prof Rayhana Awwal Sumi.
The body was handed over to the family following autopsy on Thursday morning.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina expressed deep shock at the death of the madrasa girl.
In a condolence message, she prayed for eternal peace of the departed soul and conveyed her sympathy to the bereaved family members.
The PM asked the law enforcement agencies to bring the perpetrators to the book and take stern actions against the killers of Rafi, PM’s Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim told the press.
On April 6, Rafi was set afire an examination centre of Alim examination allegedly by students loyal to Principal Sirajuddoula of Sonagazi Senior Fazil Madrasa after he was arrested and subsequently suspended as Rafi had accused him of sexually harassing her.
She was immediately taken to the DMCH for better treatment where she underwent a surgery under life support on Tuesday. The operation conducted after discussion with the physicians from Singapore General Hospital as she was not fit enough to be flown to Singapore.
On Monday, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina directed for sending Rafi to Singapore for better treatment. Ten people, including the madrasa principal, have so far been arrested in connection with the arson attack.
On Tuesday, Feni police arrested a student of Sonagazi Islamia Senior Fazil Madrasa, Shampa, over setting fire on Rafi. Police said the Alim student was arrested as the victim told her doctors that during the arson attack, she heard that someone was saying, “Shampa let’s go”.
On Monday, in a declaration, Rafi told her doctors that four students wearing burqas and hand socks set her on fire. She identified one of them as Shampa.
Police also recovered a letter from her house as evidence of the tragic death of Rafi.
Rafi who sustained 80 percent burn injuries, had written the two-page letter to Tamanna and Sathi, two of her best friends, where she poured out her heart on matters that had been disturbing her since March 27, the day she was sexually harassed by the principal of her madrasah, Siraj-ud-Doula.
She also expressed her disappointment over the participation of her friends in a subsequent programme demanding release of their principal after his arrest.
Rafi in the letter said “Tamanna, Sathi, you are like sisters to me and you are my sisters indeed. That day Tamanna was saying that I was staging a drama. She also said it in front of you.
“Many other things she said that you told Nishat that we are bad girls. Sister, is it bad to be in love? How can you guys demand Sirajuddoula’s release when you know everything about him? Don’t you know what happened in that room? Where he touched me and where else he tried to touch?
“He told me that- ‘Nusrat don’t do drama, you have an affair; enjoy having affair with boys; but what they can give you? I will give you the questions before the exams.’ In return I should give him my body. I would rather fight until my last breath.”
The letter concludes with the section quoted at the start. Though the time and date was not written in the letter, police believe the victim wrote it recently.
Last Saturday, Rafi was lured to the roof of the madrasah she attended, and set on fire by 4 burqa-clad women, whose voices she couldn’t recognise, and the one name she picked up was Shompa, as they left.
Presumably students loyal to Principal Siraj ud Dowla, who remains arrested and suspended from his duties as principal since Rafi accused him of sexually harassing her, they demanded she drop the charges against Siraj ud Dowla, but she refused.
The Officer-in-Charge of Sonagazi police station in Feni, Moazzem Hossain, has been withdrawn from a case lodged over an arson attack on a Sonagazi madrasa student.
He was transferred to the Armed Police Battalion (APBn) on Wednesday, Feni Police Superintendent Jahangir Alam Sarker told Dhaka Tribune.
The case has been handed over to the Bangladesh Police Bureau of Investigation (PBI).
Three accused on police remand
Meanwhile, the court of Feni Judicial Magistrate Sharafatuddin on Wednesday placed Sonagazi Madrasa Principal Sirajuddaula on a seven-day remand; while Absar Hossain, an English Department teacher, and Arifur Rahman, the victim’s classmate, were placed on a five-day remand, each.
Till now, six have been arrested in connection with the arson attack, after the victim’s brother Mahmudul Hasan filed a case with Sonagazi police station on Monday.
Observe Nusrat Day: NHCR Chairman
Chairman of National Human Rights Commission in Bangladesh (NHRC), Kazi Reazul Hoque, while visiting the forensic department at Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) to see critical Nusrat Jahan Rafi, asked the government to observe the day of her death as Nusrat Day as she fought against sexual harassment.
“Nusrat protested. She did not bow her head to principle’s sexual offer. The day should be remembered as Nusrat Day,” he said.
He also sought punishment for the officer-in-charge of the Sonagazi police station who allegedly harassed the victim and her family.
“He should also be brought to trial because this is a disgrace,” he added.
Nusrat’s family says the girl was set on fire by supporters of Sonagazi Islamia Fazil (Degree) Madrasa Principal, Sirajuddaula, on the institute’s roof on April 6, for previously lodging a rape attempt case against the Principal.