Holding a human chain in front of Satkhira Press Club on Friday, a rape survivor threatened to kill herself if the perpetrators are not brought to book.
She also alleged that the police officials concerned are keeping mum over the incident as they received, according to her, a lump sum from the assaulters.
Reading out a written statement at the human chain, the victim said some local hooligans, including Md Ashik, son of Ahmed Sheikh of Kharitala village in the district’s Shyamnagar upazila, and Md Rafiqul, son of Gaffar Sardar of Dhapuar Chak in the same upazila, used to trouble and sexually harass her on her way to school.
She said: “They became even more furious and threatened to abduct and rape me as my mother brought the matter to the attention of the community leaders.”
Frightened by their threats, the victim’s guardians decided to marry her off right away and were looking for a suitable groom.
On August 8, when a prospective groom from Manirampur upazila of Jessore and his guardians were returning home after visiting the girl’s house, Ashik had them held by Shyamnagar police, she alleged.
“Introducing themselves as policemen, Ashik and his accomplices Ruhul Amin, Pabitra Kumar Mondol, and Abdur Rahim picked me up by a car on August 11, when my mother went to the police station to get them [the groom and his relatives] released,” she said.
Instead of taking her to the police station, they took the girl to Rahim’s Bangshipur house, where Ashik, Rahim, Ruhul, Mondol, Rafiqul and their associate Shafiqul gang-raped her, according to the victim.
They dumped her by a road at Islampur as she fell unconscious. Later, her mother with the help of locals rescued and took her to Shyamnagar police station and then to the One Stop Crisis Centre at Satkhira Sadar Hospital.
“After returning from the hospital, I went to the police station on August 20 to file a case against the rapists, but the police refused to accept it. Later, I filed a case with the Women and Children Repression Prevention Tribunal in Satkhira,” the girl said.
She added that the accused are roaming around their localities as the police turn a blind eye to them, despite the tribunal’s directives to take legal action against them.
She also alleged: “We learned that the police received a good amount of money from the accused, and this is why they are refraining from arresting them.”
When asked, Officer-in-Charge Syed Abdul Mannan of the police station denied the allegations and said they were taking action according to the tribunal’s orders.
Meanwhile, seeking security for their lives, the girl’s mother made a plea to the Judicial Magistrate’s Court in Satkhira on September 3, with the accused issuing death threats to their family to get the case withdrawn.
The victim’s family also sought the Satkhira police superintendent’s intervention in the matter and urged him to take immediate action against the perpetrators.