The Noakhali gang-rape survivor was previously raped multiple times at gun-point by prime accused Delwar Hossain, the National Human Rights Commission found after visiting the survivor today.
“Whenever the woman protested or refused, she was threatened with gang-rape by the whole team of ‘Delwar Bahini’,” informed Al Mahmud Faizul Kabir, the director of investigation at NHRC, while briefing journalists at the Noakhali Chief Judicial Magistrate Court’s auditorium in the afternoon.
“One and a half years ago Delwar first entered her house and threatened her with weapons. He proceeded to rape her and when she screamed, he threatened to murder her and gang-rape her,” he said.
“A few days after that the woman was taken out to a remote lake on a boat by Delwar and his colleague Kalam. They both tried to rape her, and she fell to Kalam’s feet for mercy. He let her go, but Delwar proceeded to rape her inside the boat. Since then Delwar has attempted to rape her several times, and failed, leading him to become enraged,” said Kabir.
The Noakhali district woman and children affairs’ department’s deputy director Kamrun Nahar was present during the interview of the woman.
“We will create a report of our findings and submit it to the NHRC chairman,” said Kabir.
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Officer-in-charge of Begumganj Model Police Station Harunur Rashid Chowdhury said that he was not aware the victim was repeatedly raped by the accused. “She did not tell me, nor did she tell the magistrate on Monday. I only learnt of this when NHRC told me,” he said.
Rapid Action Battalion-11 informed our correspondent that after interrogating the accused rapists, they found out that the video was released on social media because the woman had refused their proposals for sex.
“Delwar had a gun on him which is illegal. There are two existing murder charges against him. He will be transferred to Shiddhirganj police station for further interrogation, while his accomplice Badal will be sent to Begumganj police station,” said commanding officer of Rab-11 Saiful Alam.
Meanwhile, more than 24 hours after the High Court instructed Bangladesh Telecom Regulatory Commission (BTRC) to ensure that the video is taken down from websites and social media, the video is still easily available through a simple search.
BTRC Director General of Systems and Services Division Brig General Md Mustafa Kamal said they are actively taking down links as they see them, but more keep cropping up. “We identified 17 links and reported them to the authorities and we are still actively on the lookout for more. If anyone finds any link with the video, and refers the link to us, we will take action,” he said.
The survivor is a mother with a married daughter and a teenage son. “My life is already ruined. I am now worried about my children, especially my daughter. I cannot bear the thought that my daughter’s in-laws’ may have seen the video. What are they thinking? What if they take it out on my daughter and throw her out?” the survivor told our correspondent.
Not only is the survivor hiding outside the village, but so is her family. Her father used to run a tea-store in the area but that too has its shutters down, reported our correspondent.