Dhaka urged to act against young woman's killers

New york


The Bangladesh government should thoroughly investigate the murder of a madrassa student and fairly prosecute all those responsible, Human Rights Watch said on Tuesday.

The murder of Nusrat Jahan Rafi, who was killed after she filed a complaint of attempted rape, should spur the authorities to take concerted action to combat sexual violence in the country.

The police said that Nusrat Jahan Rafi, 18, was tricked into going to the rooftop of a cyclone shelter at her madrassa in Feni on April 6 where at least four people grabbed her, doused her in kerosene and lit her on fire. 

The attack came after she refused to back down from pursuing her March 27 complaint of attempted rape against the madrassa principal, Siraj-Ud-Daula. 

She died from burns covering 80 percent of her body on April 10. 

The attack led to nationwide protests calling on the government to reform and enforce Bangladeshi laws and practices concerning sexual assault.

"The horrifying murder of a brave woman who sought justice shows how badly the Bangladesh government has failed victims of sexual assault," said Human Rights Watch. 

"Nusrat Jahan Rafi's death highlights the need for the Bangladesh government to take survivors of sexual assault seriously and ensure that they can safely seek a legal remedy and be protected from retaliation." IANS