The mother of six children was gang-raped for voting against the winning candidate
In just three months, a third incident of a gang rape used as means of political violence has been reported in Subarnachar upazila of Noakhali.
On Sunday evening, a married pair was returning home in Charjabbar union after voting for a vice chairman candidate. Their motorcycle was waylaid by a dozen men led by Yusuf Majhi, a known supporter of another vice chairman candidate who won the election.
The husband and wife were thrashed for their audacity to vote for a different candidate.
The woman, a mother of six children, was dragged to a nearby fish farm owned by a local named Ruhul Amin and raped by the attackers.
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Her husband’s desperate screams drew attention from the locals who rescued them and sent them to Noakhali General Hospital.
Hospital authorities said the pair has suffered injuries; the rape survivor in particular has extensive injuries. She is scheduled for a rape test on Monday
Additional Superintendent of Police Deepak Jyoti Khisa said the police have spoken to the rape survivor and her husband.
The husband filed a case with Charjabbar police station on Monday afternoon. Police have arrested Yusuf Majhi and Abul Bashar, both local residents. Police have said they have a list of suspects, but have refused to disclose names so as to not affect the investigation.
Newly-elected Vice Chairman Farhad Hossain Bahar, whose supporters are accused of raping the woman and attacking her husband, denounced the heinous crime and said his supporters were not among the attackers.
Noakhali Awami League President Khairul Anam Selim claimed the victim’s family and the people accused have a history of land dispute. He said the rape allegations are for the police to investigate, but refused to elaborate on his remarks.
Of note, on the eve of the national elections on December 31, 2018, a woman was gang-raped by 10-15 associates of an Awami League leader in Subarnachar’s Charjabbar after she voted for a BNP candidate. The case sparked widespread criticism of political violence, which saw the Awami League leader – the prime suspect – expelled from the party, and his lawyer held in contempt of court after manipulating to secure his bail.
Just a month later, a 13-year-old girl was raped by two men in Subarnachar’s Purbacharbata union on January 31.