Nusrat Jahan Rafi’s death portrays a rather shocking but real picture of our societal and administrative failure. How law enforcement forces, local ruling party politicians and administration personnel are involved in a killing mission and covering up the crime — Nusrat is a big example of that, writes Shiblee Hasan
‘I WILL urge the entire Bangladesh to tell the whole world to protest against this injustice’, with her entire body in bandage, pipes through her nose — her both eyes have fallen into slumber. Nusrat Jahan Rafi continued her protest.
Her courageous statement stirred the concerned people quarters and everyone took to the street demanding authority’s actions against her murder — in both home and abroad.
Nusrat is not only the name of a victim, but also an outstanding and courageous spirit. So, on the first day of Boishakh, the Bengali new year, Nusrat has become the new voice of the country against oppression.
Besides celebrating the new year, many people demonstrated at crucial points of the country demanding justice for the murder of Nusrat. Her case is repeatedly reminding us what happened to Tanu and state’s failure to ensure that the perpetrators get what they deserve.
Nusrat's death portrays a rather uncomfortable but real picture of our social degradation and incompetent administration. How law enforcement forces and administration personnel are involved in a killing mission and covering up the crime — Nusrat is a big example of that.
After observing the role of local administration and police, it is seen that Nusrat Jahan Rafi's family did not receive any assistance or co-operation from them. From the Students Community against Rape and Sexual Violence, we arranged a road march at Sonagazi on April 30.
During this field trip, we have seen that the real scenario is far deep and complicated than the mainstream media reports. We have monitored the situation and found out that officer-in-charge (closed) Moyazzem Hossen, Feni police super Jahangir Alam Sarker and additional district commissioner Enamul Karim — all have contributed in assisting the perpetrators.
After the complaints of sexual harassment, Nusrat was questioned in front of a mobile camera by OC Moazzem. Female members of police must be around during such types of interrogation, but none were present. Later, after the death of Nusrat, the video went viral in different social media platforms.
Moazzem tried to identify the murder as suicide with the help of Ruhul Amin, the expelled president of Sonagazi upazila Awami League. Even financial transactions were made to arrange the necessary equipments for the killing. Yet, we saw that Moazzem was not arrested and not brought under trial, he has been closed only.
Considering the crime of Moazzem he must be in jail now, closing must not be a solution there. One thing needs to be kept in mind that Moazzem was closed from Feni's Chagalnaya in 2014, for a number of crimes including gold theft, bribe scandal and extortion. This means, if he was brought to justice in 2014, we would not have to see Nusrat's killings in 2019.
We repeatedly said that closing is not a solution. If the police officer is not brought under punishment, there is a bigger field to commit more crime in the future and Moazzem is a burning example of that.
After the miscreants set Nusrat on fire, SP was informed but he did not give any importance. Even he did not think it was necessary to go to the scene. Despite knowing Moazzem's crime, SP Jahangir Alam spoke on favour of the OC in police headquarters to the higher authority.
Furthermore, Moazzem tried to cover up the murder as suicide, and received support from SP Jahangir. Tragic incidents like burning a young woman alive who protested at sexual harassments did not even touch the local police administration.
Despite showing such indifference to duty and a victim, such person should not be holding a post like superintendent of police but here we are. Jahangir is still the SP.
A major role in the murder was played by Feni additional deputy commissioner Enamul Karim, who is happen to be the president of the madrasa committee where Nusrat was murdered. After the case of molestation, the local administration did not stand beside Nusrat. Moreover, they threatened her family.
Nusrat's mother Shirin Akhter confessed that after filing a case against the principal of the madrasa, Feni's ADC Enamul called Nusrat and said, 'principal is bad, everyone knows that. When you cannot tackle him, why you went to the principal’s room? Did you play a drama to get your father a position in the madrasa committee? If you cannot prove the case, the principal's people will file a defamation case against you. Mind it!'
The above statement from the victim’s mother indicates that ADC Enamul Karim is a man of poor dignity with no sense of justice. Some points from this statement are clear. The first, madrasa president ADC Enamul Karim already knew that the principal had a loose character but still backed him up. The second, by referring to Nusrat’s father, ADC tried to put blame on the victim. Finally, he threatened the family of the victim by defamation case.
The sad fact is that the ADC Enamul Karim has been made the head of the investigation committee which is formed by district administration for the murder of Nusrat Jahan Rafi. On the one hand, Enamul Karim is being recommended for punishment due to negligence of his duty in the investigation of Police Bureau of Investigation and police headquarters and on the other hand, ADC is acting as the head of the administrative investigation team. It obviously mocks the idea of justice.
Nusrat also left an example of what might be the consequence if lawlessness is institutionalised in the society. In 2017, the events that could have ended, that took the form of murder in 2019, due to a number of irregularities and indifference of police and administration.
In 2017, the then Sonagazi UNO Minhazur Rahman and OC Humayun Kabir said the culprit must be brought under the law. However, they did not bring anyone under justice.
Two years later in 2019, culprit Nur Uddin attacked Nusrat with the help of principal Siraj and his followers. Nusrat protested again during the second round of torture, but again the administration were silent, they did not take any action.
Then comes the third attack on Nusrat and it was targeted killing. Here the question is why the administration was silent after a girl filed a case of sexual assault? Why they could not arrest Nur Uddin at that time?
When Nur Uddin took to the streets demanding the release of Siraj, the administration was doing exactly what? If Nur Uddin was punished previously, then Siraj could not gather courage to do something like this.
In the murder of Nusrat, many leaders of the local wing of the ruling party, as well as police and administration are involved. So far, about 23 criminals were arrested but none from the administration has been arrested.
The trial that is being carried out without arresting them should be considered as a questionable trial. Judicial investigation into the role of police and administration is now the time of demand.
Moazzem, Jahangir Alam and additional deputy commissioner Enamul Karim must be brought under trail for their parts in the murder of Nusrat.
We want to say explicitly that the country which is achieved through the liberation war cannot be the pasture of any killers. Everyone is demanding that the trial of the Nusrat murder be done faster.
We hope that justice does not get seised by the prolonged period of the trial process.
Shiblee Hasan is the convener of Students Community against Rape and Sexual Violence.
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