Trapped in a hell for 4 days

Gangrape comes to light after 3 weeks; 4 rapists, their female aide remanded in Tangail

For four days she was raped not by one, not by two but by four brutes. Brutes they are, they not only raped the 15-year-old schoolgirl. They also took the obscene photos and videos on their video cameras. On the fifth day, they left her by the rail line in Tangail, a village away from her home. Her brother recovered her from there, unconscious.

The girl has lost her mental balance, say doctors at Dhaka Medical College Hospital where she is undergoing treatment. She screams at the sight of any unknown man.

The gangrape took place between December 6 and 10 last year in Madhupur of Tangail. The four violators and their abetter were arrested on December 31 and were all placed on police remand yesterday.

Ironically, the abetter is a young woman, Bithi Akter, who befriended the victim just a month before handing her over to the culprits.

Bithi, 18, and the victim became friends in November last year when the two took a tailoring course in the last year when the two took a tailoring course in the area, family members said.

On December 6, Bithi came to the girl's house and told the latter's mother that she was going to a wedding where she wished to take the girl. They would return home by evening.

But they did not. The girl's family tried to reach her over the phone, but it was found switched off.

Her brother said first they thought her mobile battery was dead and that she would come home by herself. But when she did not even as the night wore on, they thought she might have stayed back with the wedding party-goers. Over the next three days, they looked for the girl at close relatives and friends' houses in vain.

Bithi in the meantime handed the girl over to the rapists — SM Nuruzzaman alias Gada, 42, Shajahan Ali, 40, Moniruzzaman Moni, 39, and Harunur Rashid Harun, 27. Her taking the girl to a wedding seems a mere excuse to do so, police said.

It was not immediately clear if Bithi took any money from the four men for handing over the class-IX girl to them.

After the victim was brought home by her brother on December 10, she described the deception and the subsequent horror she was a victim to.

According to her account to the family, Bithi took her to a house in a hilly area of Madhupur. There she was repeatedly raped by “several” men for four days.

On December 11, the victim's brother managed to collect Bithi's mobile number and then called her. Bithi told him that she along with the girl went to the wedding but later they got separated. She said she had no idea of what happened to the girl afterwards.

For fear of social stigma, the girl's family initially decided not to take her to a doctor, lest it becomes public. But by December 12, she was showing growing signs of mental disorder when the family took her to Tangail Sadar Hospital.

There they said the girl was physically assaulted, not mentioning of the rape. Doctors, who had no idea of what the girl underwent, released her after initial treatment.

To the family's surprise, Bithi went to their house on December 14, and inquired about the girl's condition when the family members beat her up and handed her over to the village elders.

On the same day, locals arranged an arbitration that found Bithi guilty of handing the girl over to the four men. Bithi's family present at the arbitration offered Tk 1 lakh in compensation to settle the matter, said union council member Shawkat Ali.

Bithi's family finally agreed to give Tk 30,000 within a few days, but eventually fled the area with Bithi without paying.

Shawkat, who was also present at the arbitration, however, said he asked the girl's family to file a case in this regard.

Victim's brother told The Daily Star yesterday that the arbitration was already too embarrassing a thing for the family and that they initially did not want to file a case, fearing it would damage his sister's future.

In the meantime, the family sent the girl to an uncle's house, hoping it would improve her mental condition. But as her condition worsened, she was brought back home on December 22.

On December 30, the family went to the Madhupur police and told them everything. Police raided Bithi's house in the early hours of December 31 and detained her. During interrogation, she gave police the names of the four culprits.

By 8:00am the same day, police caught the four men from different places in the area.

During primary interrogation, they confessed to raping the girl but denied taking any photo or video, police said.

Meanwhile, a Tangail court yesterday placed the five accused on police remand. Prime accused Bithi was taken on a one-day remand and the four others on three days' remand each, reports our district correspondent.

The girl was brought to DMCH on Monday night with a critical mental state.

Bilkis Begum, chief coordinator of the One-Stop Crisis Centre, said the girl was mentally disturbed and scared of unknown men. In a traumatic case as this, victim's mental condition usually deteriorates after an initial period of reasonable normalcy.

Doctors were treating the girl with psychiatric treatment, sedative injections and tablets. She was on saline as she was not taking any food or drink, added Bilkis.

Iqbal Khan Chowdhury, additional secretary of the education ministry, visited the girl at the hospital on Tuesday when he said they would work with the home ministry to ensure that the culprits are punished.

Advocate Salma Ali, executive director of Bangladesh National Women Lawyers' Association, also visited the girl on Tuesday. Talking to journalists, she said those violating and torturing women must be prevented through a concerted effort of all.

Visiting the girl at the DMCH, Shirin Sharmin Chowdhury, state minister for women and children affairs, yesterday directed the authorities concerned to look after the girl's treatment and bring the culprits to book.

Source:The Daily Star