• Monday, Sep 23, 2019
  • Last Update : 11:13 pm

Was a rape survivor framed as a sex worker?

  • Published at 12:19 am April 5th, 2019
Rape survivor
Representational photo Bigstock

Judge Joyoshree Samaddar has ordered a judicial probe to investigate the allegations

A woman has been produced before court on charges of engaging in sex work, even though she had reportedly tried to file a rape case with the police in Dhaka.

The woman was later released after paying a fine, and then she filed a case against 11 people—including Jatrabari Police Station Officer-in-Charge Kazi Wazed Ali and two of his officers,  sub-inspectors ASM Mahmudul Hasan, and Laizu—under the Women and Children Repression Prevention Act.

Judge Joyoshree Samaddar of the Women and Children Repression Prevention Tribunal 3 ordered a judicial probe after a primary hearing of the case.       

In the case statement, the 27-year-old woman—a mother of two—said she had been struggling to provide for her family after her husband abandoned them. She claimed that she had been victimized by a gang while she was desperately searching for employment.

The prime accused in the case, Md Shafiqul Islam Roni, allegedly lured her to a flat in Koratitola on March 12 with the promise of a job at an online women’s clothing store. The flat belongs to two others accused—Farjana Akhter Shashi and Bilkis Akhter Shila—according to the case statement.

At the flat, Roni and his cohort Md Swapan allegedly raped the woman. When the victim screamed for help, Farjana and Shila reportedly put a knife to her throat. The victim alleged that the culprits also threatened to video record the rape, prompting her to stay quiet.

After a while, the accused—Jibon, Biplob, Hanif, Sagar, and Alauddin—along with some other youths, allegedly beat her up and raped her again. Eventually, she was able to escape from the flat. 

She sought the help of a man named Nazmul Hossain, who took her to Md Rezaul Karim and introduced him as a human rights activist. With his help, the victim went to Jatrabari police station in the afternoon.

The victim said, in the case statement, that she did not receive any help from the police that day. Nazmul called the assistant commissioner of police of the Demra zone and sought his help. They were asked to wait at the police station for him, but he did not appear there.

The next day, they went to the police station again and asked SI Laizu to take steps. He led a drive and arrested Shashi and Shila with 18 yaba pills.

The SI allegedly wanted Tk1 lakh from the rape survivor, to give to OC Wazed and two other officials, otherwise no case would be filed. They also threatened to file a case against the victim.

The victim claimed that since she was not able to pay the amount, she was produced before the court as a sex worker under the DMP act. The policemen filed a general diary on this matter.

The woman, who lives in Keraniganj, was released from the court after paying a fine of Tk200.

She later went to different government offices and police officials but reportedly did not receive any assistance. Keraniganj police suggested she file a case with the court. Following this advice, she filed a case on Thursday. 

Advocate Zakir Hossain Talukder, the woman's lawyer, told Dhaka Tribune that the court did not give a deadline to the probe committee to submit the report. This deadline will be set later.