Police Bureau of Investigation (PBI) yesterday arrested two more accused, including a local Awami League (AL) leader, in the case filed over the murder of Feni madrasa student Nusrat Jahan Rafi. Nusrat, an Alim examinee, was set ablaze after she went to Sonagazi Islamia Fazil Madrasa to sit for an exam last Saturday. Having sustained severe burn injuries, she died on Wednesday while under treatment at the Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH).
A total of 11 people, including the madrasa"s principal Siraj, have so far been arrested in connection with the arson attack and murder. Meanwhile, a National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) team termed the death of Nusrat in arson a "pre-planned murder" after visiting the Feni madrasa yesterday.
The PBI arrested one of the accused, Nur Uddin, in the Nusrat murder case from Mymensingh"s Bhaluka area around 11am yesterday (Friday).
Mymensingh PBI additional superintendent of police (ASP) Abu Bakar Siddiqui said: "We have arrested Nur Uddin and he has been sent to Feni.”
According to the investigators and locals, Nur Uddin was among the four persons who set Nusrat Jahan Rafi on fire at Sonagazi Islamia Senior Fazil Madrasa on April 6.
In another development, a PBI team arrested Feni AL leader Moksud Alam at a hotel in Dhaka in connection with the murder of Nusrat.
Moksud, a councillor of Sonagazi municipality and acting general secretary of the Feni unit of the AL, was arrested around 10pm on Thursday night, said Feni additional superintendent of police (ASP) Mohammad Maniruzzaman. Moksud is also a member of the governing body of Sonagazi Senior Fazil Madrasa.
The ASP said, "Acting on a tip-off, a PBI team conducted a drive at the hotel around 10pm, and arrested Moksud. He was leading some demonstrations urging the release of Siraj Ud Doula, who is the key suspect in the case.”
According to the superintendent of police in Feni, Jahangir Sarkar, on April 8, the victim"s
brother filed the case with the Sonagazi police station accusing several people, including the four girls in veils who—according to what the victim told her brother on the way to DMCH on Sunday—set her on fire on the madrasa"s rooftop.
Meanwhile, two members of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) visited Feni"s Sonagazi Islamia Senior Fazil Madrasa to obtain a first-hand report on the tragic killing. The NHRC described the incident as “a pre-planned murder”.
During the visit, Al-Mahmud Faizul Kabir, director (complaints and inquiries) of the NHRC, talked to teachers and female students of the madrasa to know the facts.
The two-member NHRC delegation also visited the victim"s village, North Charchandia, and talked to her family members, relatives and some locals to know more about the incident.
Faizul Kabir told reporters that the incident was a pre-planned murder.
“If the madrasa authorities and local administration had taken steps against Siraj Ud Doula (principal of the madrasa), the girl might not have met the tragic end,” he said.
The NHRC official said he found a connection between the April 6 incident and the incident of her sexual harassment last month.
According to media reports, it is known that the Directorate of Madrasa Education (DME) had written a letter to the authorities for scrapping the monthly pay order (MPO) of Feni"s Sonagazi Islamia Senior Fazil Madrasa Principal Siraj Ud Doula, the main suspect in the killing of Nusrat Jahan.
The DME wrote to the Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education (DSHE) to cancel the MPO of Afsar Uddin, a lecturer of the English department of the madrasa, on the same grounds, said a letter issued by the DME yesterday (Friday).
The duo was named as the accused in two separate cases lodged with Sonagazi police station allegedly for assaulting Nusrat sexually and setting the madrasa student ablaze, the letter said.
Meanwhile, common people expressed their anger and demanded justice. A procession, under the banner of "Gaurab 71", started out from the intersection around 11am on Friday, and ended at the Shaheed Minar an hour later. Earlier, around 10am, the protestors formed a human chain in front of the National Museum. They expressed their outrage at the vicious attack on Feni student Nusrat.
Dhaka University (DU) pro-vice-chancellor Prof. Md Samad, DU associate professor of the Mass Communication and Journalism Department, Robaet Ferdous, an organiser of Ganajagaran Mancha, FM Shahin, Sammilita Sangskritik Jote President, Golam Kuddus, and others spoke at the demonstrations.
The Shahbag protests are a part of the nationwide demonstrations that have continued since Nusrat"s death, seeking justice for her murder, including a human chain that was formed at a Tangail intersection yesterday morning.
In her dying statement, the victim said the madrasa principal had been harassing female students for some years.
He used to lure students by promising to give them question papers before examinations. If someone did not agree to his advances, he used to harass them.
On March 27, the principal abused the victim. When she narrated this to her family, they filed a case against the principal. “The matter was also known to other students,” the victim added in her statement.
The victim said when she entered the examination centre on Saturday, four persons wearing veils set her on fire.
It is known that the accused principal had earlier faced allegations of sexual harassment and had been sued for cheque forgery, vandalism and arson. He was arrested, but had managed to secure bail from court.