The girl, with 75% burns on her body, is currently undergoing treatment at DMCH
Police have said that they are looking into two issues going forward with the investigation into the arson attack on an 18-year-old female madrasa student in Feni’s Sonagazi, currently undergoing treatment at the burn unit of the Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH).
DMCH authorities on Sunday formed an eight-member medical board to treat the critically injured Alim examinee, who was set on fire by four burqa-clad girls Saturday.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has also ordered immediate arrest of those involved in the attack and asked the hospital to provide all necessary treatment to the victim.
While visiting the crime scene Sunday, Chittagong Range Police Deputy Inspector General Md Abul Foyez said they were investigating whether it was a suicide attempt or the four miscreants really tried to burn the girl to death.
“We have already detained a madrasa teacher and another Alim examinee for questioning. Since the incident is still a mystery, it will take some time to unearth the details,” he said.
The arrestees were identified as Absar Hossain, an English Department teacher at the Sonagazi Islamia Fazil (Degree) Madrasa, and the victim’s classmate Arifur Islam.
DIG Foyez added that they would take further steps after the victim’s family files a case. The two detained will also be produced before a court and sent to jail showing them as suspects following interrogation.
Who were the perpetrators?
Talking to the Dhaka Tribune, the victim’s family has alleged that the girl was set on fire by the supporters of madrasa Principal Sirajuddaula for lodging a case against him over sexual harassment charges.
The victim’s brother said his sister gave him a brief description of the attack when she was being taken to Dhaka in an ambulance on Saturday.
Quoting her, the brother said a student took his sister to the madrasa rooftop on Sunday, saying that a friend named Nishat was assaulted by someone.
“When my sister went to the roof, she found four girls wearing burqas, glasses, veils and gloves instead of Nishat. Two of them asked her to announce that the complaint against the principal was false, but my sister rejected.”
The four girls then tied the victim’s hands with rope before setting her on fire using kerosene, added the brother.
“We are absolutely sure that Nuruddin, a dakhil student of the same madrasa, is behind the incident,” said the brother. “Nuruddin has always supported the principal and has been writing Facebook posts demanding his release since his arrest.”
Also Read- Female madrasa student set on fire in Feni
Justifying their suspicion regarding Nuruddin, he added: “If he’s not involved, why did he go into hiding?”
On March 27, the victim’s family had filed a case against madrasa Principal Sirajuddaula, accusing him of attempting to rape the girl in his office.
After police found the allegations to be true following investigation, Sirajuddaula was arrested, and has been in the district jail since then. He has also been suspended by the madrasa.
Medical board formed
The victim’s brother said her sister should be sent abroad for better treatment.
Dr Partha Shankar Paul, the resident surgeon at the DMCH burn unit, said the victim’s condition was still critical since she suffered 75% burns on her body.
But she can be treated properly here, he added.
Dr Samanta Lal Sen, coordinator of the Sheikh Hasina National Institute of Burn and Plastic Surgery at DMCH, said they formed the nine-member strong medical board to ensure proper treatment of the victim.
The board later in the day also examined the victim.
Meanwhile, Education Minister Dipu Moni said the prime minister will bear all the expenditure of the victim’s treatment.
After paying a visit to the victim at DMCH Sunday night, she also said those responsible for the attack would not be spared.
No case yet
No case has been filed over the brutal arson attack even after two days.
Police are also yet to get any important information from the two detainees.
Sonagazi model police station OC Moazzem Hossain said family members of the victim, who are in Dhaka, have not filed a written complaint yet over the incident.
“But we are trying to figure out the whole matter. If the victim or her family lodges a complaint, we may file a case too if we find any substantial evidence based on that complaint,” added the OC.
The victim's brother also said that they were in touch with police about filing a case accusing Nuruddin and several unidentified others.
Multiple cases against Sirajuddaula
The prime accused in the rape attempt case, Sirajuddaula, was a rokon in Jamaat-e-Islami and he went into hiding in 2009, said Sonagazi police OC Moazzem.
He said Sirajuddaula was also accused in six cases, including those filed over sabotage, sexual harassment, and cheque forgery charges, at the Feni and Sonagazi police stations.
Madrasa shut down
The governing body of Sonagazi Islamia Fazil (Degree) Madrasa has also suspended all academic activities, except Alim examinations, until April 17, after the arson attack made headlines and sparked outrage across the country.
Sonagazi police OC Moazzem said they have also cordoned off the institution.
The madrasa management committee on Sunday also announced that the institution would give Tk2 lakh to the victim’s family for her treatment, assist the police in catching the attackers, install CCTV cameras in the institution premises, make senior madrasa teacher Hossain Ahmad acting principal, and urge upazila administration to ensure security during the Alim exams.
Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (Blast) in a press release also expressed deep concern over the attack on the student, and called for immediate arrest and punishment of the perpetrators.
Blast also said it would provide all necessary legal aid to the victim.