Since the girl an indigenous, will there be no trial for rape?

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Imtiaz Mahmood

A schoolgirl from Mahalchari in Khagrachari district has been raped. Al Amin (24), a resident of Tilapara in Mahalchari Sadar Union, raped the girl after finding her alone.

Everyone already knows this news. The news came in the Dhaka newspaper, in the responsible online news portal. Through social media, Jumma youths are writing posts about it, expressing their discontentment.

The local police know, the civil administration knows, everyone knows. But no case has been registered in this case and none of the accused youths have been arrested. Why?

Because the local Upazila Awami League leader and Union Parishad chairman Ratan Kumar Shil has settled the matter between the two parties. How? Self-confessed rapist will pay ten thousand takas compensation to the victim girl!

I will tell you later what is the comment of the police. I tell you first about the victim girl and her family. I’m not saying name or address. The 14-year-old girl went to a high school in Mahalchari. The father is a poor indigenous Jum farmer. Their house is a little further inland from Mahalchari.

In the hill village where her home is, there is no school. For studying in high school, she has to leave her home and started to live in a Marma village near Mahalchari. It is not possible for a such father of poor Jum farmer in such a remote village to take any action against the settler miscreant. The poor will not have that courage.

On top of that, the UP chairman, who is again the president of the Upazila Awami League, along with his gang and some of the elders of the area, if he decides in the court that you take these ten thousand takas and forget about the rape, will not file any case – Will this unfortunate Jum farmer have the courage to do anything else? Definitely not.

This is what has happened here too. Now, listen to the police comment. The Bangla Tribune says, “Officer-in-Charge (OC) of Mahalchari Police Station Md. Jahangir said on his mobile phone that a team was sent to the spot after hearing that a teenager had been raped in Thalipara area. However, the police could not take any action as the victim’s family did not want legal help in this regard.”

The police are talking such a nonsense. It doesn’t matter whether a victim or his family wants legal help. There was a rape, the police know that. The police should also know who is the victim and who is the recognized rapist. The UP chairman knows it. After that, it is the responsibility of police to file a case in this case, arrest the accused, produce the accused before the magistrate, investigate and submit charge sheet etc. It is not legally necessary for the victim or for his family to file a lawsuit. The police can file a case themselves.

And rape is not a compromise case or a case that the UP chairman will try. On the contrary, for the UP chairman who forbade the victim and his family to file a case, the chairman should also be included in the list of accused. There should be a separate case against the chairman to obstruct justice.

And in the real situation in the hills, these rapes are not as common as the ten rapes – here when a Jumma girl is raped by a Bengali settler, especially such a gang rape, there is always an element of racial oppression. In these cases, the police or those involved with the judiciary or the administration have to be a little more active. Otherwise, this crime will be an example of ethnic oppression of the minority indigenous people by powerful Bengalis. Did the OC of the police or the UNO of the upazila not understand this? They definitely understand.

All the officers of the administration there know that there is an element of racial oppression here, this is not just another incident of rape. Knowingly they do not take any action in these cases. Because somehow they also indulge in racial oppression. They also despise the indigenous people.

You think of that father. His daughter has been raped by the settlers. And if another settler UP chairman says, give him ten thousand takas, the case cannot be sued. I don’t know whether that chairman has children, whether he has any daughter. Will he ever try to feel what it would be like if a group of young men raped his baby girl and put ten thousand takas in her hand? Will he forget everything because he received justice with great joy?

A 14-year-old girl has been raped – will there be no trial? Why? As this girl belongs to indigenous? As the girl is from the poor family?

Imtiaz Mahmud: writer and lawyer

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