Police are questioning six people in connection with the murder
Evidence suggests that a seven-year-old girl, who was found dead in Dhaka, was raped before she was killed, forensic experts have said.
The body of Samiya Afrin Sayma, a nursery student of Silverdale Preparatory & Girls High School, was found with a rope around her neck, in an under-construction apartment above her family’s residence in the capital’s Wari area on Friday evening.
Dhaka Medical College Head of Forensic Medicine Department Dr Sohel Mahmud told journalists, Samiya’s body had injuries near her genitals and lips, and DNA tests are being run to confirm whether she was raped.
He added that the seven-year-old had been strangled with a rope.
Wari police Sub-Inspector (SI) Harunur Rashid, who made the inquest report, said: “There were blood spots on, and around her eyes. Blood was dripping from her mouth, with the left side of her head badly injured.”
The front part of her shorts had been torn and her genitals were bleeding, the report says.
Samiya’s body has been sent to the Dhaka Medical College morgue, and the cause of death will be confirmed after the autopsy report is published.
A parent’s nightmare
Samiya’s father Abdus Salam, a businessman, said he returned home from the mosque around 7pm on Friday, but did not find Samiya in her room. He promptly began searching for Samiya along with his wife Sanjida Akhter.
When the couple failed to find their daughter in their sixth-floor apartment, they began checking the other floors, some of which were under construction.
Around 8pm, they discovered Samiya’s body with a rope tied around her neck in the kitchen of an unfinished apartment on the eighth floor.
After being informed of the matter, police retrieved the body.
Samiya was the youngest of two brothers and two sisters. According to her father, she was still home when he went to a nearby mosque to say his prayers on Friday evening.
“She took permission from her mother to play with other children in a nearby apartment, on the condition that she would return in ten minutes,” Salam said.
When Samiya went to the seventh floor to call her friend, she was turned away as the child was ill. However, she did not return home, prompting her parents to begin searching for her.
“At one stage, we went to the eighth floor (the roof) and found Samiya’s shoes. I entered one of the two under-construction apartments there, and saw her lying underneath a basin in the kitchen,” he added.
A rope was tied around her neck and she was no longer breathing.
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When asked whether the family suspected anyone of committing this heinous crime, Salam said: “We have been living here since February. We do not have any enemies and do not suspect anyone.”
Six detained for interrogation
Wari police Officer-in-Charge (OC) Azizur Rahman said they have taken six people into the police station for interrogation. The six include the building caretaker, security guard, and some men living on the seventh floor.
Dhaka Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner (Wari Zone) Mohammad Shamsuzzaman said: “We are giving utmost importance to the matter. However, we are yet to identify the killer or killers.”
The victim’s family filed a case under the Women and Children Repression Prevention Act over the incident on Saturday morning.
<Dhaka court sets July 24 for submission of probe report>
A Dhaka court on Saturday set July 24 for submission of the probe report in the case filed over the rape, and murder of the seven-year-old girl, reports BSS.
Dhaka Metropolitan Magistrate Atiqur Rahman issued the order after accepting the First Information Report (FIR) in the case.
Alarming rise in child rape
Bangladesh is witnessing an alarming spike in child rape, and abuse cases, with rights activists blaming a weak justice system, culture of impunity, and negligence.
A third grader was admitted to Madaripur Sadar Hospital on Thursday, after she was allegedly raped by a 55-year-old man on Monday.
On Thursday, a seven-year old girl was reportedly raped at a hospital in Dhaka by a 16-year-old boy.
On the same day, a 70-year-old man from Natore’s Singra upazila was accused of raping a second grader.
A recent report by Bangladesh Shishu Adhikar Forum says, rapes against minors doubled in the second quarter of 2019, as compared to the first.
At least 164 children were raped in the first quarter of 2019, but the rapes doubled within three months, ballooning up to 332 from April to June at 102%, according to a report published on July 1.
The numbers indicate that at least 496 children were raped in the first six months of the year, with a minimum of 82 victims per month.
The number of rapes over the same period in 2018 was estimated to be at 351.