Merciless Murder of Nusrat Jahan Rafi
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter.”
Nusrat Jahan Rafi, a 19-year old teen who spoke against sexual assault was set ablaze by 5 people, 3 men and 2 women as a result of refusing to withdraw the complaint she had filed against the headmaster of her Madrasa, the filthy sexual- harasser, Maulana Siraj-Ud Doula. Nusrat was reported to have filed a complaint on March 27, right away followed by the headmaster’s inappropriate behavior of calling her into his office and repeatedly touching her.
Followed by the complaint on March 27, the authorities arrested the headmaster after which he was successfully released on bail within just hours, according to a few other sources. This release of the supposedly sexual-harasser happened because a group of people along with a few local politicians were protesting outside the police station as soon as he was arrested, demanding for his release.
On April 6, Nusrat attended her Madrasa despite not being given any form of security safeguarding her from threats and blames she used to often receive since her complaint to the authorities regarding her Madrasa’s very own senior headmaster in order to sit for her final Alim (Islamic law and theology) examinations.
A few minutes prior to the start of the examination was when, in a statement given by Nusrat, she was taken to the rooftop by another female student saying one of her friends was being beaten upstairs by a group of men. On the rooftop were a bunch of women wearing burqa (a long, loose black garment worn by women covering head to feet) who were forcing her to withdraw her complaint. As a response to her refusal, they, the five of them (3 men and 2 women) poured Kerosene all over her body and burnt her mercilessly. Murdered her in broad daylight on the rooftop of a Madrasa.
While being rushed to the hospital, in the fear of losing her life, Nusrat recorded a statement on her brother’s mobile phone saying:
“The teacher touched me, I will fight this crime till my last breath!”
On April 10, 4 days later, Nusrat died as a result of the excessive burns which had covered 80% of her body. May 27 have been set as the target date by the Bangladeshi Cyber Crime Tribunal for the Police of Bangladesh to submit all the reports regarding this case. Ain O Salish Kendra from the Bangladeshi Human Rights Organization has reported that there were 730 cases and more of rape that were recorded in 2018, among which 63 victims died right after being assaulted.
Not just the victim, Nusrat Jahan’s family but half of Bangladesh including a few prominent celebrities have been waiting for them to be served with proper justice, as promised by the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina who assured that none of the culprits will be spared from legal action. Besides, in order to prevent or at least reduce the rates of similar incidents taking place in the future, like Sabrina Zarin, an advocate of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh previously addressed in an interview, there should be an official website and or a Hotline through which complaints regarding sexual-assaults can be filed including provision of punishment to officers who fail to register such complaints. All the police stations in Bangladesh should additionally have a female police officer in order to ensure that the identities of the victims are kept confidential and they aren’t further molested while filing their complaints by being taken video and mocked at like Nusrat did.
The citizens of Bangladesh are stubbornly protesting for both, justice for Nusrat as well as an urgent change of systemic law and culture in the country. We can only wait until the final verdict is passed on by the Supreme Court Of Bangladesh regarding this case in order to come to an accurate conclusion of whether the law will elongate this case for months and years until the general public eventually forgets about it and god forbid, a similar incident takes place in the near future just like it has been occurring one after the other due the lack of impunity for years in India (Ranked as the first most dangerous nation for women in 2018) OR tighten the laws regarding sexual assault and any other types of similar acts related to it, taking urgent, strict and legal actions as soon as possible safeguarding the well-being of their state’s women. But the real question is, do we tell the women to stay put or the men to quit harassing? To tighten the protection is to reduce the threat in the first place.
You can tell the condition of a nation by looking at the status of its women.
– Jawaharlal Nehru