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Double Insult: Rape Victim Gets 101 Lashes For Becoming Pregnant

PTI 27 Jan 2010, 15:43:57 IST
PTI

A 16-year-old girl who was raped in Bangladesh has been given 101 lashes for conceiving during the assault.  The girl's father was also fined and warned the family would be branded outcasts from their village if he did not pay.

According to human rights activists, the girl, who was quickly married after the attack, was divorced weeks later after medical tests revealed she was pregnant. The girl was raped by a 20-year-old villager in Khargor village of Kasba upa-zila (sub-division) in Brahmanbaria district in April last year.

Bangladesh's Daily Star newspaper reported that she was so ashamed following the attack that she did not lodge a complaint. Her rape emerged after her pregnancy test and Muslim elders in the village issued a fatwa insisting that the girl be kept in isolation until her family agreed to corporal punishment.

Her rapist was pardoned by the elders. She told the newspaper the rapist had "spoiled" her life. "I want justice," she said.

The alleged rapist, 20-year-old Enamul Mia was let off by village arbitrators.   Eight months after being raped, village arbitrators found the 16-year-old rape victim guilty and issued the fatwa (religious edict) for 101 lashes.

The arbitration also fined the victim's father Taka 1,000 and issued another fatwa that her family would be ostracized if he failed to pay up.

Village matbar (local leader) Delwar Hossain alias Ullashi executed the durra (lashes) Jan 17. 

The report quoted the girl's family sources as saying Enamul Mia of Gabbari used to tease the girl on her way to school. He raped her in April last year. Fearing shame, the girl did not disclose the incident.

She was married off to a man of a neighbouring village but was divorced after a month as medical test revealed that she was seven months pregnant. She lived at her father's place after an abortion.

A group of so-called matbars, led by Manik Mia, declared that her family is to be isolated until she was punished.  The influential group arranged the arbitration Jan 17 that ruled against the girl.

At one stage of the torture, the girl collapsed and fainted. She regained consciousness after two hours.

“Enamul has spoiled my life. I want justice,” said the girl as she sobbed away silently.

Talking to the Daily Star, the neighbours spoke in favour of the girl and blamed Enamul but did not dare to say anything against the so-called village arbitration.

A team of human rights activists led by advocate Mili Chowdhury visited the village. Their organisation will help the victim file separate cases against the culprits, Mili said.

Three women have been whipped as a result of fatwas in the district during the last six months, the report said.