Mehiya Aktar Babli, an acid attack survivor, was found hanging from the ceiling fan of her room on February 21. She was an SSC examination candidate from Tangail and was living as a subtenant with a family.
Babli was born in December 1999 in Dhaka's Sayedabad. Her father, Bakhtiar Rana, threw acid on her face, ear and other organs of her body for five days when she was just six months old. She luckily survived the attack but one of her ears had been damaged totally, while her throat, tongue and face had been damaged partially.
Babli's mother Parul Begum filed a case with Mirzapur police station alleging that her daughter was provoked into committing suicide. However, her relatives allege that her body was hanged after murder.
Police recovered her body from the sublet room of Lokman Miah's rented house in Mirzapur municipality of Tangail. She was living with Fatema Akhtar, her landlord, and her daughter Asia Akhtar Joya.
Parul said her daughter was studying with the assistance of Acid Survivors Foundation and was admitted to a boarding school, Bharateswari Homes, in Tangail's Mirzapur. However, six months ago, the boarding school's authorities expelled Babli along with six others for allegedly breaking the rules by making their own paratha (flat bread).
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However, she was given the chance to sit for the SSC exams outside the boarding from Tangail. Babli then rented a room as a subtenant and was living with the family in a rented house in Mirzapur.
Parul alleged that her daughter died because of mental torture inflicted by her landlord. She said after Babli went back to her Mirzapur home from Dhaka on February 21, she immediately called her and complained that she (Babli) could no longer tolerate the abuse of the landlord and her daughter.
“I tried to convince her [over the phone] that the torture will be over just after two exams. Later [after the phone conversation] something bad must have happened which is why we got the news of her suicide shortly afterwards.”
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This 2006 file photo of Mehiya Aktar Babli, centre, with actor Shomi Kaiser, left, and, singer Fahmida Nabi, pose for a photo op at a Acid Survivors Foundation programe Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune
On February 20, Babli came to her mother's place in Dhaka. “I am coming to you because I have something to share with you. Please do not share it with khalamma [the landlord],” Babli was quoted as saying by her mother before coming to Dhaka.
After coming to Dhaka, Babli told her mother that the landlord, along with her daughter Joya, picked on her over trivial matters such as her eating habits.
Her mother sent her to Mirzapur the next day. As soon as she reached, Babli called her mother and told her that the landlord was at it again. Her mother called Fatema immediately but the call went unanswered.
Parul then phoned a neighbour and asked her to tell Fatema that she would come to Mirzapur and pay off any dues by February 24.
“After a while we heard the news about Babli. I reached Mirzapur at midnight and found my daughter’s hanging body,” her mother said.
Mirzapur police station Officer-in-Charge AKM Mizanul Haque said Babli's mother had filed the case against three people.
Police arrested one of the accused, Fatema Akhtar, and sent her to jail.
The OC said police was probing whether Joya, another accused in the case, was involved with the incident. They are also questioning a third accused, Hridoy, from Dhaka's Wari area.
During preliminary investigation, police found that Hridoy had a romantic relationship with Babli.
This article was first published on banglatribune.com