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Student Burnt for Not Withdrawing Sexual Assault Case Against Principal

A Bangladeshi girl has set on fire allegedly by some of her peers after she refused to withdraw sexual abuse charges against the Madrasa principal in Feni. The girl with 75% burns, is struggling for life at the Dhaka Medical College Hospital.

The 18-year-old Nusrat Jahan Rafi had accused Sonagazi Islamia Senior Fazil Madrasa Principal Siraj-Ud-Daula of sexually harassing her. The principal was arrested on March 17 and subsequently suspended.

Nusrat said she had rushed to the roof on heating about a rumor that one of her friends, who is a witness in the case against Principal , had been killed after Nusrat had gone to the madrasa to sit for Alim exams, equivalent to HSC, on Saturday morning.

Some masked women there asked her to withdraw a case against Principal, who had already been in jail. They poured kerosene on her body and set her on fire when she refused to oblige them, Nusrat told the media.

With all of her body in flames, she ran down the stairs screaming for help”. Police and others at the institution rescued her and rushed her to a local hospital. She was later transferred to the DMCH.

Teachers and students of the madrasa got divided into two groups. One group called for punishment of the principal while the other demanded his release. Police detained a lecturer and a student of the madrasa for questioning.

The madrasa has been shut down until April 17. Only Alim examinations will be held and the madrasa management committee has decided to provide Tk 200,000 for the victim’s treatment.

“All in the burqa, the four attackers had their faces mostly covered. They were wearing spectacles and gloves. So she could not recognize any of them, but all of them seemed to her to be female” said the victim’s brother.

For the first two exams, the victim’s brother accompanied her to the exam hall as she was still in trauma. He came out just before the exams began.

“Like the two other days, I tried to accompany my sister to the exam hall, but a madrasa peon barred me saying police guarding the entrance not to allow me inside.” “Had I accompanied her, she would not have gone to the rooftop.”

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has ordered immediate arrest of those involved in the attack and asked the hospital to provide all necessary treatment to the victim.

Education Minister Dipu Moni visited the girl and said “the treatment of the victim is important now” and those responsible for the incident will not be spared. She informed “Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said she will pay the expenses of Nusrat’s treatment”.

>Juthy Saha

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