The arbitrators also pressured the rape survivor’s family not to seek legal help
A union parishad chairman in Khagrachhari has been accused of holding a local arbitration and dismissing rape allegations raised by a teenager, by fining the accused a mere Tk10,000.
The family of the teenager has allegedly been pressured not to seek any legal help, witnesses of the arbitration said.
The arbitration was held at the Thalipara Club House in Mohalchhari sadar upazila on Tuesday afternoon, in the presence of local influentials, including Mohalchhari Union Parishad Chairman Ratan Shil, who is also the president of Awami League unit in the upazila, and Kalachan Chowdhury, headman of Thalipara Mouza 252.
According to local sources as well as those present at the arbitration, the accused youth, whose identity could not be confirmed, took the girl to Thalipara area on Monday evening, where he raped her.
After the incident came to light, a meeting was arranged on Tuesday in the presence of Chairman Ratan Shil.
At the meeting, the accused was fined Tk10,000 for raping the teen, the sources said.
The teenager’s family was also intimidated into not taking any legal action, and not to disclose anything to anyone.
Although the survivor is physically ill, she is unable to go to the hospital for treatment in fear of others.
Admitting his presence at the arbitration, Kalachan Chowdhury, headman of Thalipara Mouza 252, told Dhaka Tribune over phone that UP Chairman Ratan Shil called him to the arbitration. After sitting at the arbitration, he came to know that a teenager had been raped.
The chairman then fined the accused Tk10,000 for the treatment of the girl, Kalachan said.
However, when contacted, Ratan Shil refuted the allegation and said people were spreading rumours about him on Facebook, and he was not aware of any such incident.
Mohalchari police station OC Md Jahangir said a team of police had been sent to the spot after they learnt of the rape.
However, police could not take any action as the survivor’s family did not want any legal help in this regard, he added.