16 People Have Been Charged For Burning Madrasah Student Who Reported Sexual Harassment

The headmaster, who is the prime accused, has confessed that he ordered the murder.

Cover image via BDNews

On Wednesday, Bangladesh police charged 16 people for burning alive a 19-year-old girl at her Madrasah in April. She had reported sexual harassment against the religious school's headmaster.

According to Banaj Kumar Muzumdar, Deputy Inspector General of the Police Bureau of Investigation (PBI), 19-year-old Nusrat Jahan Rafi was set on fire on 6 April.

The alleged sexual assault took place on 27 March when she was called by the Sonagazi Islamia Fazil Madrasah's headmaster Siraj-Ud-Doula into his office.

Nusrat Jahan Rafi had filed a complaint of sexual harassment with local police and named her school principal as one of the accused, the head of the PBI told CNN.

"She protested [against the harassment] and complained that the principal of the school was harassing her and she filed that case," CNN quoted Muzumdar as saying.

Explaining the charges, PBI lead investigator Mohammad Iqbal told AFP news agency that they have been charged under the women and children repression law and that the investigators recommend the death penalty for all 16 accused.

Bangladeshi women hold banners of Nusrat Jahan Rafi and the headmaster at a protest in Dhaka in April following her murder.

Image via BBC

While police submitted the charges against the headmaster and 15 others to a local court, the victim's family want a fast-track trial

"In Bangladesh, legal tangles delay many cases. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said no one involved in the murder will be spared. So I hope it will be a fast-track trial and we will get justice," the girl's brother, Mahmudul Hasan Noman told Al Jazeera.

According to AFP, the girl's family want "all the culprits to be hanged" to death.

BBC reported that of the 16 charged in the murder case, there are students of the madrasah and two local politicians from the governing Awami League party who were in prominent positions at the religious school. However, the two politicians have not admitted any involvement in the crime.

According to police, the headmaster has confessed in court that he ordered the murder, with 12 others also giving their statements of confession.

Image via CNN

According to PBI lead investigator Mohammad Iqbal, he hopes the court would soon pass an indictment order to begin the trial

Another PBI investigative officer in the case who submitted the charges was quoted by Al Jazeera saying that Nusrat was killed for taking a stand against the principal.

The principal, Siraj Ud Doula, had ordered the murder from jail. He has been made the prime accused in the murder case, a trial date for which is yet to be set.

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