An indigenous Garo woman gang raped in a moving micro bus in Dhaka

On 21 May 2015, Thursday around 9:30 pm 21 year old indigenous Garo woman was abducted and gang raped on a moving microbus in Dhaka while she was waiting for a public bus at the Kuril Bus stand. The victim is a student and works as a sales person at a clothing shop in Dhaka for her living.

According to her statement, after finishing her work she started on her regular way back home around 9:00 pm, waiting at the Kuril bus stand in front of the Sinha CNG Motors and Steel Company to start for her house at Uttara. At around 9:30 pm a grey colored microbus appeared in front of the shop and two young men – aged around 22 to 28 – came out form the microbus. One of them all of a sudden pressed her mouth and the other showed her weapon and fiercely instructed her to get in the car. She confirmed on her statement that after her abduction she found 5 men inside the microbus, which includes the driver.

The victim woman requested repeatedly to the culprits not to rape her, however, they replied “we’ll test tribal today”, informed elder sister of the victim.

After her abduction the driver slowly drove the vehicle for an hour while the rest four forcefully raped her one after another at the back sit of the microbus. Later the driver parked the car at an unknown place and he also forcefully raped her.

Around 10:45 pm the perpetrators drop her in Jashim Uddin road at North Uttara with threatened to kill if she discloses the incidents to any and drove the microbus to the north direction.

After then she managed herself to reach her home, where she lives with her relatives. Since she was traumatized of the incidents, after her arrival by looking at her face and asking the reasons to get home late, her relatives found out the truth. After listening to the victim, the family members called the victim’s employer and decided to file a case.

Negligence of police:

The family of victim and news sources confirmed that the police administration of Khilkhet and Uttara showed negligence and ignorance when victim along with her relatives went to these two police stations to file a case at mid-night.

The victim along with her elder sister first went to Turag police station to file a case as their residence was within its jurisdiction. However, police did not record the case saying that the place of incident was not within their jurisdiction. Around at 5:00 amthey went to Gulshan police station and were refused by officials who gave the same reason.

Later the duty officer at Gulshan police station referred the family to seek legal aid from the Bhatara Police Station, as the incident took place primarily in that region. After around one and half hours, they went to Bhatara police station but they were kept waiting for the Officer-in-Charge (OC) to come. The OC came to the station after three hours and recorded the case at around 12:30 pm
Friday on 22 May 2015 under Women and Children Repression Prevention Act 2000, Case number 26, date 22/5/15, amendment 2003, 7/9 (3) on Friday night accusing five unnamed persons.

Primary investigation by Police:

During the primary investigation, it is excavated that it was a pre-planned crime by the gang. On her statement the victim identified one of the perpetrators as a customer to her working place couple of days before the incident night. She and her close relative again work collogues confirmed that one of the perpetrators came to the shop with two other foreigners and asked her many personal questions. Later on, she remembered the perpetrators said to target her as she belongs to the indigenous minor community while she was on the microbus. The investigation officer, Sazzad Hossain of Bhatara Police station stated that they are looking for the evidence based on the victim’s statement and they are looking on the CCTV footage at the Jamuna Future Park and the Jashim Uddin road at Uttara to identify the perpetrators. No culprit was arrested so far.

Medical test:

On 23 May 2015 she was taken to the one stop crisis centre at Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) and the Forensic Department of the DMC conducted her medical test. One of the doctors involved the test confirmed media that primarily they have found positive result of rape. However, it will take one week to get full forensic report of victim’s medical test.

Physical condition:

According to the coordinator of One-stop Crisis Centre (OCC) at DMCH Dr. Bilkis Begam, the victim is totally down mentally and traumatized. She needs mental counseling along with physical treatment.

High Court rule:

On this regards, 24 May 2015, seeking necessary orders from the High court over the gang rape and other violations against women a writ petition was lodged by five human rights organizations- Nari Pakkho, Mahila Parishad, Jatiya Adivasi Parishad, Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust, and Ain O Salish Kendra against the home secretary, the inspector general of police, and the commissioner of Dhaka Metropolitan Police. The High Court has ruled the government and asked the authorities concerned to order all police stations to record any rape complaint without delay and ensure that services are provided without discrimination on the basis of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth. The court further sought explanation from the police for delaying to register a case over the gang rape of an indigenous women in the capital on May 21. The High court bench of Justice Farah Mahbub and Justice Kazi Md Ejarul Haque Akondo fixed June 14 for giving further orders on this issue.

Reactions in the society:

Many organizations and the civil society have shown their anger and concern to this heinous violence against the victim. Separately in many places there are protests, human chains and demonstrations are occurring till the report is been written. One significant protest was held on 24 May 2015, around 3:00 pm at Shahbag, Dhaka. A human chain was formed by 30 different rights organization, including Kapaeeng foundation, Bangladesh Indigenous Peoples Forum, Bagachas, Naripokkho, Bangladesh Indigenous Women’s Network, Bangladesh Mohila Parishad, Nijerakori, Manusher Jonno Foundation, Hill Women’s Federation, Hill Student Council, Bangladesh Adivasi Chatra Sangram Parishad and BLAST. In this human chain and protest gathering some renowned persons like Fazle Hossain Badsha MP, Hazera Sultana MP, Advocate Sultana Kamal, Khushi Kabir, actor Mamunur Rashid, Comrade Ruhin Hossain Prince, Junaed Saki, Kafee Ratan, Sanjeeb Drong, Prof. Noor Mohammad Talukdar, Numan Ahmed Khan, Prof. Robaet Ferdous, Prof. Razib Mir et al were also present and showed their concern on this incident.

Referring the previous sexual violence cases they all blamed the government’s carelessness due to whom the perpetrators are moving free in the country and committing crime one after another. They also blamed the police personnel who did not provide necessary help and support to the victim girl rather neglected to fill a case on the night of 21 May 2015.

Finally, the rally declared another protest programme on this issue on 30 May 2015 at Central Shaheed Minar.

Current Situation of the victim:

The victim is under the protection of police and the human rights organizations. She is still emotionally broken and traumatized by the incident, was acknowledged by her close relatives.