Nusrat Jahan Rafi, 18, the burnt Feni madrassah girl student died Wednesday night after losing her grim battle for life at the Burn Unit of Dhaka Medical College Hospital since Saturday morning.
Burn Unit’s honourary coordinator Dr Samanta Lal Sen told New Age that she died at the Intensive Care Unit at 9.30 PM. She has been on life support since Monday.
He said that her body would be handed over to her family this morning.
Nusrat’s father AKM Musa of Uttar Char Chandia, Sonagazi, Feni, demanded highest punishment prescribed in the law for his daughter’s murderers.
He was at the burn unit as was her mother and her siblings and cousins.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina expressed her profound shock over her death and asked the law enforcement agencies to bring the perpetrators to book and take stern actions against the killers of Sonagazi madrassah student, reported Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha.
On March 27, she was reportedly sexually assaulted by her madrassah principal SM Siraj-ud-Doula.
On March 28, the victim’s mother filed a case with Sonagazi police station and principal Siraj was arrested on the same day.
On April 5, when the victim went to the madrassah to appear in her Alim Examination, four accomplices of the principal duped the victim to rush to the roof of the madrassah to rescue her closest friend, who, they told her, was being lynched. They then poured kerosene on her and set her on fire.
The victim’s battle for survival began but it ended in the great tragedy barely six days later.
The victim, while undergoing treatment at DMCH, gave her statement to a doctor in the presence of a magistrate and a police official.
She said four people, all covered in burkas, with their faces veiled and hands gloved, got hold of her while
one of them asked her to declare that the allegation she had brought against the madrassah principal was not true, a source in the burn unit said.
The victim said that she could not identify anyone of the attackers but heard one of them calling another by the name Shampa.
The officer-in-charge of Sonagazi Police Station in Feni, Md Muazzem Hossain, was withdrawn on Wednesday for his non-cooperation with the victim’s family.
The responsibility of the investigation has been transferred to the Police Bureau of Investigation, officials said.
On Wednesday, a court in Feni allowed the police to remand the three accused for interrogations. They were Sonagazi Islamia Senior Fazil Madrassah’s suspended principal SM Siraj-ud-Doula, English department teacher Nurul Absar and student Ariful Islam.
‘The decisions to withdraw the OC and transfer the investigation to the PBI were taken by the police headquarters in the interest of justice,’ assistant inspector general (media) Md Sohel Rana told New Age.
PHQ officials said that the decisions were taken after the victim’s family complained that the OC was not cooperating with them.
‘This is a highly sensitive case and we do not want to keep any doubt in the minds of the victim’s family members. The OC was withdrawn so that none can influence the investigations,’ a PHQ official told New Age.
Feni police superintendent told New Age that the Sonagazi OC had been withdrawn and was attached to the district Armed Police Battalion.
The government high-ups had earlier asked DMCH to send her to Singapore for better treatment at the cost of the government.
But she could not be flown to Singapore as her health did not permit, said Burn Unit’s Dr Samanta.
The victim was on life support until the end came, said Burn Unit doctors.
Political, social and cultural organisations in the capital and elsewhere in the country continued their protests against the arson attack and demanded speedy trial to ensure punishment of the perpetrators.
The incident of burqa-clad attackers pouring kerosene on her and setting her on fire took place nine days after the victim’s mother, on March 28, lodged a case accusing the madrassah principal SM Siraj-ud-Doula of harassing her daughter sexually on March 27.
Setting the girl student on fire drew nationwide protests.
Dhaka University law students on Wednesday formed a human chain on the campus demanding the arrest and exemplary punishment of the perpetrators.
Expressing solidarity with the protesting students, Dhaka University Central Student Union vice-president Nurul Haque Nur said if the victim’s family was denied justice, such crimes would continue.
The Socialist Women Forum also held a protest rally in front of the National Press Club Wednesday afternoon demanding exemplary punishment of the perpetrators.
Addressing the rally, speakers said the prevailing culture of impunity in the society prompts the assaulters to stage such horrific crimes on a regular basis.
They also urged general people to build social resistance to curb violence against women and girl children.
New Age correspondent in Satkhira reported that different socio-cultural organisation of the district also formed a human chain in front of the district press club protesting the barbaric attack on the madrassah student, according to New Age Satkhira correspondent.
Addressing the human chain, speakers demanded exemplary punishment of the culpable individuals so that no one could dare to repeat such crimes in the future.
Feni senior judicial magistrate Sharaf Uddin Ahmed, responding to an appeal of the investigation officer of the case inspector (investigation) Md Kamal Hossain, on Wednesday, granted a seven-day remand for Siraj and five-day remand for Nurul and Ariful.
The IO also produced the victim’s classmate and Siraj’s relative Umme Sultana Popy and Jobayer Ahmed, who were arrested on Tuesday, before the court seeking a seven-day remand. But the court sent them to jail, setting the hearing for a later date.
On Tuesday four other suspect were remanded by the same court.
A total of seven accused out of nine arrested so far are now facing interrogation in police custody.
In his case, the brother of the victim, Mahmudul Hasan Noman, named eight people and unnamed others as accused, including four donning burka, veil and gloves.
Of the named eight, Siraj, Absar and Jobayer are now detained in jail, said Kamal.
According to two unsent chits she allegedly wrote to her two friends in her copybook, which the police said they recovered from her bedroom, she expressed deep anger over the principal groping her.
She said that she wanted to commit suicide but later changed her mind to fight out the issue till the last.
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