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Village elders force rape survivor to divorce husband in Rangpur

  • Published at 04:26 pm November 3rd, 2020
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The arbitrators also fine the husband Tk70,000 and the alleged rapist Tk110,000

A housewife, who was allegedly raped, has been forced to divorce her husband at a village arbitration in Rangpur’s Pirgachha union. 

The village elders fined the husband Tk70,000 while the rape accused was fined Tk1,10,000.

The incident took place at Sheikhpara village in Tambulpur union of the upazila on Monday night. 

Pirgachha police station Officer in-Charge (OC) Azizul Islam said that after hearing of the matter from the locals, beat officer SI Jagadish Chandra was sent to the spot to investigate the issue. 

According to local residents, the husband, Faizar Rahman, married the daughter of Maqbul Miah of Sonaraya village in Tambulpur union seven years ago. Faizar lived in Dhaka to work as a mason while his wife lived in the village. 

Also Read - Rape: Law reform first, or implementation?

The accused, Sumon, who lived next door, had been harassing the wife for a long time.

On Sunday, Sumon entered the woman’s bedroom and raped her. Hearing her screams, local residents rushed to the scene and held Sumon.

On Monday afternoon, the elders of the village called an arbitration in this regard. An 11-member committee was formed for the arbitration. Former local UP member Fazlul Haque chaired the village arbitration committee.

Sumon was fined Tk1,10,000 while husband Faizar was fined Tk70,000. The local leaders also forced the woman to divorce her husband. All the decisions were executed in the middle of the night.

Atowar Rahman, who represented the woman at the arbitration, said: “Everyone accepted the decision taken at the arbitration. Sumon was punished and then released because the woman had some faults too. Currently, she is living at her father’s house.”

Also Read - Dhaka Tribune Survey: 54% people molested by family, friends

Fazlul Haque, who chaired the arbitration committee, said: "The incident of rape is true. The UP member of that ward has been given the responsibility to solve it as I am busy."

Sadek Hossain, the UP member of the ward, said the issue had been settled at the arbitration meeting with both families consenting to it. 

But when asked why they had been forced to pay such fines and the woman was forced to divorce her husband, despite relevant laws prevailing in the country, he said whatever the village elders decided was the law. There was no chance to go elsewhere.

When contacted, Pirgachha police station OC Azizul Islam said he did not know about the rape incident. 

The police official said: “However, I heard that the young man had an extramarital affair with the housewife. SI Jagadish Chandra was sent to the spot to investigate. If we find that the rape actually had taken place, a case will be filed and action will be taken against those who have fined the husband and the accused.”

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