Well-Planned and Brutal Murder

Nusrat Rafi’s murder was the result of a well planned plot executed by 16 people and lead by her madrasa’s (Islamic school) principal, Siraj ud Doula from prison. This group of 16 people involved two local Awami League leaders and several students from the madrasa. Police revealed that they created the plot in a span of three days.

Siraj plotted Nusrat’s murder to take revenge because she refused to withdraw a case filed against him over charges of sexual assault. According to reports, Siraj called Nusrat to his room and touched her inappropriately. Nusrat filed a case against the principal immediately after which his followers persuaded her and even threatened her to withdraw the case.

All this was quoted by Banaj Kumar Majumdar, chief of the Police Bureau of Investigation (PBI) before the media after finalising a charge sheet against the 16 men and women involved. He described the incident based on the confessional statements of the 16, accounts of 92 witnesses and findings of the investigation.

The Plot

Four days after Siraj was arrested on March 27, several of his associates went to visit him in jail where he instructed them to put pressure on Nusrat and her family, and if needed to even threaten them to make her withdraw the case.

After a failed attempt, his associates met Siraj in prison again on April 3 when he instructed them to kill her by setting her on fire.

The associates- Shahadat Hossain Shamim, Nuruddin, Maksud Alam and several others met at a tin-shed room beside the madrasa on April 4 to discuss the plan to kill Nusrat. Nuruddin, Jabed, Jobayer, Umme Sultana Poppy and Kamrunnahar Moni were also present.

Kamrunnahar Moni bought the burkas with money she received from local Awami League Leader Maksud Alam. Shahadat bought one liter of kerosene and brought it home in two black polybags.

The Fateful Day

On April 6, Nusrat had her exam.

Shahadat, Nuruddin and Kader entered the madrasah early in the morning between 7:00am and 7:30am. They decided to carry out the plot on the rooftop of the cyclone center inside the madrasa compound. According to the plan of burning Nusrat by pouring kerosene on her, Shahadat placed a glass from the principal’s room and the kerosene he brought the day before in a nearby toilet. Moni kept the burkas and gloves on the third floor. Two other accused- Mohiuddin Shakil and Mohammad Shamim stood guard in front of the cyclone centre to prevent anyone from entering. Four accused stood in front of the madrasa to make sure no one other than students enter the premises. Another associate, Sonagazi Upazila AL president Ruhul Amin was tasked with dealing with the police.

Shahadat, Jabed and Jubayer entered the madrasa at around 9:30am, put on the burkas and gloves, and took position.

As soon as Nusrat entered the madrasa to appear for her exam, Poppy told her that someone is assaulting one of her friends at the rooftop of the cyclone shelter building. Hearing this, she rushed towards the spot when Poppy stopped her on the second floor to tell her to withdraw the case once again, but Nusrat refused. She was threatened again by Shahadat, Jubayer and Jabed who followed her later to the rooftop and also asked her to sign on a blank paper, but she kept refusing.

Shahadat then gagged Nusrat. Jabed and Jubayer tied her hands and legs with her own scarf which they tore into two pieces. Jabed  poured kerosene on her with the glass till he ran out of kerosene. Seeing her drenched, Shahadat instructed Jabed to strike a match and light her on fire.

After setting her on fire, Poppy and Moni rushed to their exam hall while Shahadat and Jubayer went to the second floor, changed their clothes and then escaped by jumping over the boundary walls. They dumped the burkas in a nearby pond. Jabed escaped through the main gate wearing the burka which he took off later nearby.

Nusrat managed to come down after the fire burnt away the pieces of cloth which bound her hands and legs. Fellow students doused off the fire. She was later taken to the hospital by the police.

She suffered from 75% burns and died on April 10 at the burn unit of Dhaka Medical College Hospital.

Source: The Daily Star

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