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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Bike-riding stalker kills a mother

Source: The daily star

The mother (middle) of these four daughters paid dearly with her life for protesting stalking. Photo: Rezaul Karim

A motorbike-riding stalker ran over and killed a mother for protesting his harassing her two daughters in Madhukhali upazila here on Tuesday.

Deceased Chanpa Rani Bhowmik, 45, an employee of Faridpur Sugar Mill and wife of Swapan Biswas, was run over by Rony Saha, son of Ratan Saha of the upazila, police and relatives of the victim said.

Chanpa's killing came just three days after the sad demise of a Natore college teacher, Mizanur Rashid, who was similarly killed by stalkers riding on a bike on October 12.

Soma, one of her daughters, said Rony, aged about 21, ran her mother down near their house around 4:45pm when she came up to the road to see off some guests.

She succumbed to her injuries at Faridpur Medical College Hospital around 6:00pm.

The death of Chanpa Rani once again exposes the vulnerability of those protesting harassment of women.

Arun Kumar Bhowmik, Chanpa's brother, filed a murder case with Madhukhali Police Station in this connection yesterday. The case statement said Rony had been stalking and harassing his twin nieces -- Hira and Mukta -- for the last one year.

Faridpur Superintendent of Police Awlad Ali Fakir said the case was recorded as a murder case, since Rony ran over Chanpa.

Police, however, have yet to arrest the culprit, as he has gone into hiding. His stepmother told The Daily Star that he has not returned home since the incident.

Rony's father Ratan Saha, a liquor trader at west Garakhola in Modhukhali, is also hiding, locals said.

Faridpur Sugar Mill High School headmaster Shahid Hasan Md Atikul Haque said Hira and Mukta, candidates of the upcoming SSC examination, are very meritorious students. A few months ago Chanpa told him that Rony had been stalking her twin daughters and waylaying them with his bike.

Konok Hasan Masud, convener of an anti-stalking committee of the school, said Rony threatened Chanpa and her husband Swapan Biswas to pick up Hira to teach them a good lesson for their complaints and protest against him.

Swapan said Rony also threatened over the phone to kill him a few days ago.

Meanwhile, workers and employees of Faridpur Sugar Mill and students of Faridpur Sugar Mill High School blocked the Dhaka-Khulna highway for nearly half an hour protesting the death and demanding punishment of the “killer”.

They also demonstrated in front of the Madhukhali Upazila Parishad and formed a human chain in front of the sugar mill.

Workers and employees of the mill have threatened to go on a strike if Rony is not arrested within 24 hours.

Stalking of women has taken a turn for the worse with a growing number of people being killed for trying to resist the menace.

In last nine months, at least 25 women killed themselves to escape the horror of abuse, while nine males lost their lives for standing up against stalkers, says a report of rights group Ain O Salish Kendra.

During the same period, a father committed suicide, unable to withstand watching her daughter being humiliated.

Failure of the state and the society to protect women from stalking has led many young girls and, in some cases, parents to commit suicide.