Man beaten up for escorting rape witnesses | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, January 22, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 07:32 AM, January 22, 2020

Man beaten up for escorting rape witnesses

Victim says police did not take action during attack

Police yesterday arrested two people for beating up a man who was escorting witnesses of a rape incident on Friday in Pabna Sadar upazila.

The incident came to light on Monday after a video of the attack went viral on social media.

Around 7:00pm on Friday, a group of attackers allegedly led by Md Arif, brother of Maligasa Union Parishad Chairman Md Sariful Islam Sarif, attacked the victim Md Abdul Alim at the Gaspara Bazar.

Alim had gone there with the witnesses of a rape incident who were to give statements to the investigation officer of the rape case. Sarif is an accused in the case.

Police said Alim was told to bring the witnesses to the bazar to talk and gather information from them unofficially.

After the attack, Alim, 36, a local businessman, was rushed to Pabna General Hospital by passers-by in critical condition, with fractures in both his arms and legs.

When CCTV footage of the attack went viral, the victim’s wife Ruma Khatun filed a case with Pabna Police Station on Monday night accusing 10 named and around 15 unnamed people.

Police arrested two of the accused -- Ashraf Hossain and Tofazzal Hossain, both around 40-years old -- yesterday morning. A three-member probe committee has also been formed by police to investigate the incident.

Speaking to The Daily Star, Alim said when the witnesses gave their statements to the police official, Arif and his men came to the spot and swooped on him with sticks and iron rods, adding that the policemen present did nothing to help him.

He claimed he was asked to help police during investigation because the witnesses were not giving their statements fearing harassment by the union parishad chairman.

“I am well-known in the locality, so I was asked to convince the witnesses to give their statements.

“Officer-in-charge [investigation] of Pabna police station Md Khairul Islam asked me to bring them [the witnesses of the rape incident]. Following his instructions, I brought them to a shop in the Gaspara bazar on Friday night, when the Sarif’s attacked me in front of police. The law enforcers did not take action when I was being attacked,” Alim alleged.

Contacted, OC Khairul Islam denied the allegation, saying he and a constable, both in plainclothes, were leaving the spot before the attack took place.

“I was with a constable. We were in plainclothes and without arms and were leaving the spot when we saw a rush of people… When I come to know that there was an attack, a police team was sent to the spot immediately but the attackers had fled the scene by then,” he said.

Additional Superintendent of Police Goutam Kumar Biswas said, “Yesterday morning, we arrested two of the accused and a drive is going on to nab the others. A three-member probe committee, headed by Additional Superintendent of Police Shamima Parvin, has been formed to investigate the incident.”  

Earlier on December 22, a rape case was filed with Pabna police station accusing eight people, including the chairman of Maligasa union parishad Md Sariful Islam Sarif.

This correspondent tried reaching Sarif over phone for comments but he did not pick up.

Police claimed the investigation of the rape case was being delayed due to the lack of witnesses.

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