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Dhaka Tribune

A predator long in the making

The man tried to molest Nusrat alone at least three times before her family filed the sexual harassment case last month, which reportedly led him to hatch a plot and have his cohorts kill the girl

Update : 12 Apr 2019, 12:32 AM

The brutal killing of Nusrat Jahan Rafi has exposed Sonagazi Islamia Fazil (Degree) Madrasa Principal Siraj-ud-Daula’s illicit activities, but investigations have found that such activities are nothing new for him as he managed to evade punishment every time in the past.  

The man tried to molest Nusrat alone at least three times before her family filed the sexual harassment case last month, which reportedly led him to hatch a plot and have his cohorts kill the girl.

Though he was once the ameer of Jamaat-e-Islami’s Sonagazi upazila unit, he was given shelter by the local Awami League unit and administration as they reportedly enjoyed some financial benefits through him.

Jamaat had expelled him from the party over a number of allegations against him three years ago. Siraj-ud-Daula even managed to push some students to the street to demonstrate for his release from jail after police arrested him over the sexual assault on Nusrat.

Previously, the principal was accused of unethical acts and sexual harassments a number of times, but he never faced action — till now.

A madrasa teacher, who knows the principal for a long time, claimed that on October 3 last year Siraj-ud-Daula sexually harassed a female Alim student.

Her father had filed written complaints to the madrasa governing body chairman and Additional Deputy Commissioner PK Enamul Kabir and a copy to the UNO, but nothing happened.

Rather, the principal issued a show-cause notice against three teachers — Abul Kashem, Belayet Hossain and Hasan, who were vocal for justice.

Kashem said they asked the principal to stay away from such illicit activities in future for the sake of the madrasa’s image. They were threatened by the notice in response.

UNO Sohel Parvez said police will look into all of the allegations which have come to spotlight after the attack on Nusrat.

Additional DC Enamul Karim, in his defence, said: “It is true that there were a number of complaints, but it was difficult for me to scrutinize. I had taken some steps but nobody assisted me. Now we have expelled him.”

‘Managing’ everyone

According to local sources, after the Jamaat expelled him Siraj-ud-Daula resorted to local Awami League leaders, which he managed by spending money from the madrasa funds, including rent from a three-storey Madrasa Market.

The madrasa was Jamaat-dominated from the beginning, but he and his supporters, including madrasa teachers, joined the Awami League after Jamaat threw him out. He even formed a Bangladesh Chhatra League unit at the madrasa with his students who were once involved with Islami Chhatra Shibir.

The local Awami League unit also appeared divided in two factions over getting paid by him. Police and local administration, who never stood against Siraj-ud-Daula’s misdeeds, also did not respond to the sexual harassment allegations against him, including Nusrat’s, as they were buried by the committees formed to probe those incidents.

After Nusrat’s family filed the attempt to rape case, her brother used to accompany her to the madrasa for her safety, but he was not allowed on the madrasa compound on the day she was set on fire alive. There were police posted on the main gate as Alim exams were going on, but nobody saw when she was attacked on the madrasa roof. Some people even called the attack a suicide attempt in a bid to sway the people’s view.

Locals said the attackers were waiting at the madrasa and they had an escape route ready. Evidences were also removed from the scene quickly after she was rescued and taken to the hospital.

The protectors

Sources say Siraj-ud-Daula was protected by at least 15 influential people of the Awami League, BNP, and Jamaat units, as well as the local administration in exchange of money and gifts for the last 18 years.

In the attempt to rape case, Nusrat’’s brother had named some of them — Sonagazi municipality Awami League unit General Secretary and ward Councillor Moksud Alam, Abdul Kader, Nuruddin, and Shahadat Hossain Shamim.

Siraj-ud-Daula also managed to establish close ties with every police OC and UNO who were posted there.

One of the influential individuals who had been protecting him was the madrasa’s managing committee Vice-Chairman and upazila Awami League unit President Ruhul Amin.

However, Ruhul denied being close to Siraj-ud-Daula while talking to the Dhaka Tribune.

Locals said people also stayed away from protests after Moksud Alam’s followers beat up the demonstrators who organized a human chain after Nusrat was sexually assaulted by Siraj-ud-Daula.

The principal also had two students — Nuruddin and Shahdat — continuously disturb Nusrat since 2017, after he started making with illicit proposals to her and she denied.

Several madrasa teachers, seeking anonymity, said, during the last BNP-Jamaat government’s rule, BNP municipality unit leader Alauddin, Jamaat leader Golam Kibria, Saleh Ahmed and Md Mohsin used to give Siraj-ud-Daula political shelter.

However, talking to the Dhaka Tribune, Alauddin claimed he had helped Sirajuddaula to do some development work at the madrasa only, and nothing else.

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