Every individual who was involved in this crime must be investigated and punished
The death of Nusrat Jahan Rafi, an 18-year-old student of Feni’s Sonagazi Islamia Senior Fazil Madrasa who had accused her principal of attempted rape, should shock us all to our senses.
First she was abused by a principal entrusted to care for her, then her cry for help was not treated seriously enough by the authorities; after that, she was the victim of brutal retaliation, and finally, she succumbed to her injuries and passed away.
Her death came about from actions as odious as they come: She had been set on fire by the principal’s supporters, and after battling with 80% burn injuries for what must have been five torturous days, she breathed her last on Wednesday night.
How much does a society have to fall to so completely fail its innocents?
What Nusrat showed by coming forward with her accusation was incredible bravery. What she got in return was the worst kind of death. She did not deserve this.
This case continues to highlight why women find it so difficult to come forward after incidents of sexual harassment and rape, and why, time and again, perpetrators continue to carry out such deplorable acts in the first place.
But now, the cry for justice is too loud to ignore. Every individual who was involved in this crime must be investigated and punished to the full letter of the law -- from the principal who started it all, to his supporters who burned her alive, to the police officials who were criminally negligent in their handling of the case.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has called for stern action against the perpetrators, and we hope the authorities will do the needful -- because without exemplary punishment, this toxic culture of impunity will continue, and there will be more victims of our negligence.