Source: The Daily star
Ten activists of Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) allegedly gang-raped a teenage girl Friday night and were later handed down mere punishment at village arbitration arranged to ensure their escape by local Awami League leaders.
Family sources say the AL leaders compelled the victim's father not to go for legal action and also took their signatures on three blank sheets to stop any future move to that end.
Police also released two of the accused held on the spot while handing the victim over to her father early Saturday morning.
A band of 16 youths kidnapped the girl, a class VII student of Pakhimara in Kalapara upazila, Friday night when she was returning home on a rickshaw from a Puja mandap with her cousin Nasir Uddin.
The BCL men beat up Nasir, drove him away and took the girl to a nearby garden. Ten of them raped the girl until her relatives with police rushed to the scene to rescue her around 2:00am.
Sub-inspector Kabir Hossain of Kalapara police station held two of the culprits -- Rajib and Sohag -- from the spot but freed them later after handing over the girl to her family.
Later on Sunday, local AL leaders including Kalapara upazila unit Secretary Rakibul Ahsan and Upazila Parishad Vice-Chairman Sultan Mahmud arranged the arbitration at Kalapara Girls' School in the evening.
The village arbitration in a farcical judgement fined all the 16 Tk 10,000 each and that they all be whipped 100 times each.
But four days into the grisly incident the victim's father, a poor farmer, still does not dare to file a case.
He said, "Rakibul (AL leader) and his men took signatures of me and my daughter on three blank sheets asking us not to seek justice anywhere else."
Rakibul Ahsan denied the allegation. He claims, "The youths did not rape the girl, they just made an attempt. We punished them so that they don't indulge into such activities in future."
The Kalapara AL leader also denied their political identity as BCL activists dubbing them as "spoilt brats".
Contacted, Kalapara police Officer-in-Charge (OC) Ishaq Ali said they released Rajib and Sohag as the victim's father did not file any complaint.
He says he does not know anything about the village arbitration, adding the police would not file any case of their own and "take legal steps if any complaint is filed".
The gang members were identified as Rajib, Rubel, Ratul, Pobitra, Mojibur, Omer, Rana, Sohel, Regan, Lalu, Jewel, Sohag, Bappi of Nayapara, Saiful and Munim of Madrasa Road in Kalapara upazila town and Al-Amin of Dhankhali.