2yrs of Nusrat murder: Family expects justice in High Court too
Published: 12:21 PM, 6 April 2021
Today is the two years of killing Nusrat Jahan Rafi, a madrasa student of Feni’s Sonagazi who was torched fire by her classmates on April 6, 2019. In this, 85 percent of her body was burnt. Nusrat died on April 9 while undergoing treatment at Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) for four days. She was buried on April 10 in a cemetery after the Namaz-e-Janaza at Sonagazi Mohammad Chaber Government Model Pilot High School ground with the presence of million people. Since then, Rafi is sleeping in that grave forever.
While visiting her house in Feni, it was seen that three policemen are guarding the house for the safety of Nusrat’s family members.
When asked Nusrat’s mother Shirin Akter about the emptiness of her beloved daughter, she said, “We got justice in the court. We heard the convicted accused appealed to the High Court. We urge the Prime Minister to affect the verdict quickly.”
“Today, for two years, I have not been able to hear mother’s call from my daughter’s voice,” she cried. “I can’t sleep at night.”
“My daughter was kept alive for four days by Allah Almighty so that the names of the murderers revealed from my daughter herself.”
“If my daughter had died of a disease today, I could have made up my mind,” Shirin Akter further said, adding: “I told my daughter to sign a white paper to lift the case. Then you would not be in this situation today. Then my daughter told me, ‘I am not afraid of death.”
The Law Minister announced that Nusrat Day would be observed on April 10. But last year was not observed. “I have been demanding the observance of this day since this year. Police have been deployed at the house for our safety on the instructions of the Prime Minister,” said Nusrat’s mother.
“The Prime Minister has done a lot for us – which we will never forget,” she added.
Nusrat’s elder brother Mahmudul Hasan Noman, the plaintiff in the case, said, “We got justice in the court. We also expect justice in the High Court.”
“We do not know anything about the latest status of this case,” he also said, mentioning their lawyer Shahjahan Saju informed that the formation of the bench of the case is being delayed due to the COVID situation.
On March 27, 2019, Nusrat’s mother Shirin Akhter lodged a sexual harassment complaint with Sonagazi police station against Sonagazi Islamia Senior Fazil Madrasa principal Md Sirajuddaula. Police arrested the principal in the case. Later, Siraj’s followers tried to form a public opinion to get him out of jail. They also staged a demonstration demanding the release of Siraj.
On April 3, the killers went to jail to meet Siraj and made a plot at Madrasa dormitory on April 4 to kill Nusrat. Following the plot, Nusrat was set on fire on the rooftop of a Cyclone Centre on her madrasa premises on April 6, by Siraj’s followers.
Later, Nusrat was taken to Sonagazi Upazila Health Complex from where she was shifted to Feni 250 Bed District Sadar Hospital. As her condition was so critical, she was taken to the burn unit of DMCH, where she was being under treatment until her death.
On April 8, Nusrat’s brother Mahmudul Hasan Noman had filed a case naming eight people, and four other unnamed people, who were wearing burkas during Nusrat murder.
The Women and Child Repression Prevention Tribunal framed the charges on June 20 after the chargesheet was filed on May 28 in the case. After taking evidence and arguments, the court fixed October 30 for the verdict. The case was heard in just 61 working days with the testimony of 87 witnesses. Judge Mamunur Rashid of the Feni Women and Child Repression Prevention Tribunal sentenced 16 accused to death on October 24. Besides, each accused was fined Tk one lakh.
The death awardees are - former principal of Sonagazi Islamia Senior Fazil Madrasa Md Sirajuddaula, Nur Uddin, Shahdat Hossain Shamim, Sonagazi municipality councilor Maksud Alam, Saifur Rahman Mohammad Jobayer, Jabed Hossain alias Sakhwat Hossain Jabed, Hafez Abdul Kader, Afsar Uddin, Kamrun Nahar Moni, Umme Sultana alias Popy alias Tuhin alias Shampa alias Champa, Abdur Rahim Sharif, Eftekhar Uddin Rana, Imran Hossain alias Mamun, Mohammad Shamim, Vice-President of the Governing Body of Madrasah Ruhul Amin and Mohiuddin Shakil.
Plaintiff’s lawyer M. Shahjahan Saju said that all the proceedings of the case for the approval of the death sentence of the accused (death reference) have reached the High Court on October 29, 2019.
According to the Criminal Procedure Code, if a death sentence is passed in a judicial court, all the proceedings of the case have to be sent to the High Court for approval. As per that, the death reference came to the High Court. Paper books (all case documents) were printed on a priority basis. The case was later presented to the Chief Justice for hearing after completion of necessary work, he added.
The Chief Justice formed a bench to hear the appeal on a priority basis. A bench headed by Justice Hasan Imam and Soumendra Sarkar was scheduled to hear the case, however, the bench was dismissed due to COVID. Later, the bench was not formed, as a result, the case is not being heard. “Once the coronavirus crisis is over, hearings will be held on a priority basis,” said lawyer M. Shahjahan Saju.