A police officer in Pabna allegedly arranged a marriage between a gang-rape victim and one of the alleged rapists in an attempt to cover up the crime, the woman’s family members and rights activists in the district said.
Though she was already married and a mother of three, the officer allegedly made her sign documents for divorcing her husband, her brother alleged.
The incident took place at Pabna Sadar Police Station on September 5 and the officer in question is its Officer-in-Charge Obaidul Huq.
After the allegations got reported in the media, the district police on Monday formed a three-member committee to probe the matter, said Rafiqul Islam, superintendent of police in the district.
The authorities also issued a show-cause notice to the OC.
The woman filed a case on Monday accusing five persons of confining her to a room and gang-raping her multiple times between August 29 and August 31.
The accused Russel, Shariful Islam Ghontu, Hossain, Osman and Sanju are from different villages in Pabna sadar.
Of them, Russel, to whom she was married at the police station, and Shariful, joint secretary of Dapunia Union Awami League, had been arrested after the case was filed.
Meanwhile, the High Court yesterday said it will observe the government’s action taken over the allegation of “forced marriage” by the police.
The court said this after Supreme Court lawyer Jamiul Hoque Faisal expressed concern that the investigation into the case might get misled as the OC and other policemen are threatening the victim.
“Let us see what steps the administration takes regarding this,” said the HC bench of Justice M Enayetur Rahim and Justice Md Khairul Alam said, asking the lawyer to approach to this court if proper steps are not taken over the incident.
Jamiul placed before the bench some newspapers containing reports of the incident.
According to the complaint filed by the woman, Russel and Hossain, who are her acquaintances, took her to the house of one Osman and raped her several times on August 29.
She informed Russel’s parents about it the next day. On August 31, she went to Shariful’s office in Tebunia area for an arbitration.
Shariful and his associate Sonju then kept her confined to the office and raped her several times until she managed to flee, the case statement read.
On September 5, she went to the police station where police allegedly arranged the marriage.
Ajam Uddin Khan who registered the marriage told reporters that he was forced to hold the marriage ceremony.
The marriage with the key rape accused was a plot to save the rapists, the woman’s brother said.
Different rights bodies have demanded neutral and unbiased investigation into the incident.
“This is no doubt that it was an attempt to save the rapists,” said Kamrunnahar Jolly, president of Pabna Mohila Parishad.
Ain o Salish Kendra in a statement yesterday said that only a criminal court can hold the trial of a rape.