The reported gang rape took place inside the Khulna GRP station between the night of August 2 and early hours of August 3
A Khulna court has finally accepted a gang rape case against five officers of the Khulna Government Railway Police Station, a day after it said it would not be able to over jurisdictional issue.
Judge Md Mohiduzzaman of the Women and Children Repression Prevention Tribunal 3 on Monday took the case into cognisance after questioning the victim woman for over 30 minutes during a hearing, confirmed the plaintiff’s lawyer Md Mominul Islam.
He said the court also ordered the Police Bureau of Investigation (PBI) look into the allegations, but did not set any date for the probe report’s submission.
However, police are obligated to submit their findings in court within 60 days in line with the current laws.
Mominul said the court also ordered to document the case at the Sadar police station.
After a medical report confirmed her sexual violation, the gang rape survivor on Sunday had filed a formal complaint against the five railway policemen at the tribunal.
Advocate Mominul submitted the documents in court on behalf and in presence of the victim.
He said at the time: "The victim’s medical report mentions that all signs of her rape have been found… We will now move [the court] for DNA tests."
The case accuses Khulna GRP station’s OC Osman Gani and four other officers. The victim could not name the four, but added details of their physique in the complaint and said she would be able identify them if she saw them in person.
The reported gang rape took place inside the station between the night of August 2 and early hours of August 3, after the woman was detained on theft charges from the Phultola Railway Station.
After the victim filed the complaint on Sunday, the tribunal said it would not be able accept the complaint as the station does not falls under its jurisdiction.
The GRP station in question sits right outside the area where Khulna police station’s jurisdiction ends, subsequently putting it outside the tribunal’s jurisdiction – and leaving it under the jurisdiction of the Bangladesh Railway authorities and the Pakshi district railway police.
The tribunal on Sunday did not give any order on the complaint due to this, and referred the case to the district’s Women and Children Repression Prevention Tribunal 1.
But the plaintiff on Monday again moved the third tribunal, the judge of which then interrogated the victim and subsequently accepted the case.
However, no explanation was found as to why the tribunal decided to accept the case after refusing to do so earlier.
The tribunal’s Special Public Prosecutor Farid Ahmed said the Law Ministry has been notified about the jurisdictional issue. “A new gazette in this regard will be issued soon.”
The arrest and the rape
According to the rape survivor and her brother-in-law, she was apprehended by the Khulna GRP officers on August 2 night at the Phultola Railway Station for allegedly stealing a mobile phone from a train coming from Jessore.
She was kept in the Khulna GRP station lockup overnight. The next morning, however, police produced her before a court in a drug case. She was sent to jail after a hearing.
On August 4, when the woman was in court for a bail hearing, she alleged that GRP station OC Osman Gani and four other policemen had raped her in turns.
The next day, to verify her statement, the woman’s medical check-up and test was conducted at Khulna Medical College and Hospital following a court order.
The victim's family also alleged that OC Osman had demanded Tk1 lakh on August 2 to release the woman from police custody.
Later, two separate committees were formed to investigate the allegations.
The OC denied the rape allegation, but he and SI Nazmul Haque were closed on August 7 and attached to GRP Lines at Pakshi.
On August 8, the custodial torture case was filed against the five policemen at the GRP station.
Later on August 15, the medical test report was sent to the court.
Khulna railway circle Assistant SP Firoz Ahmed, the investigation officer of the custodial torture case, declined to comment on the matter as he was yet to get a copy of the report.