Mirza Shahjahan, a man already in his mid sixties, was affected deeply by the incident in which a college student named Jakia Sultana Rupa was gang-raped and murdered inside a moving bus in Tangail on August 25, 2017.
Shocked by this inhuman act, Shahjahan decided make a stand for Rupa, by running around the court premises in a bid to garner public support for the trial of the culprits who committed this heinous crime.
He started running ten kilometres from September 6, beginning his journey from the District and Sessions Judge Court of Tangail on Wednesdays of every week.
Shahjahan was determined and focused to continue his one man demonstration throughout the city of Tangail.
On February 12 this year, the verdict in the case was delivered. On the day of the verdict, Shahjahan was present at the court premises from the morning. He ran around the court area carrying posters and demanding that the criminals be given capital punishment.
Later that day, Women and Children Repression Tribunal's acting Judge Abul Monshur Mia sentenced four convicts to death while the fifth convict was given seven years imprisonment.
Shahjahan, who was patiently waiting at the court premises, became ecstatic after learning about the verdict. However, with a steely resolve, he decided that his demo will continue until the killers of Rupa are executed.
Speaking to the Dhaka Tribune, Shahjahan said: “I am satisfied with the verdict, and hope that the execution of those criminals is carried out as soon as possible.”
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He said: “I will continue to run on Wednesdays until the convicts are executed. If the convicts appeal against the verdict in the High Court, I will visit Dhaka and run there also.”
Shahjahan, with a stern voice pointed out that he will continue to hold demonstrations against such heinous crimes.
“From this verdict, we must learn about the consequences of committing such crimes,” he said.
Mirza Shahjahan is a resident of Thanapara area of Tangail.
Rupa was gang-raped aboard a moving bus of “Chhoa Paribahan” and murdered when travelling to Mymensingh from Bogra on August 25, 2017. Her body was dumped in Modhupur upazila of the district.
She was studying law at Dhaka Ideal Law College after obtaining an MA from Bogra Azizul Haque College. Rupa worked at Unilever Bangladesh Limited’s Sherpur branch.
Police filed a murder case at Modhupur police station accusing five people on August 26, and arrested bus driver Habibur, supervisor Safar Ali, and assistants Shamim, Akram and Jahangir two days later.
All five men confessed to being involved in the rape and murder of Rupa.
Police pressed charges against them on October 25 last year. The Women and Children Repression Prevention Tribunal of Tangail indicted them on November 29.
Rupa’s elder brother Hafizur Rahman and younger sister Poppy Khatun, who were present at the court during the announcement of verdict, said: “If the accused are executed, our sister will finally get peace.”