Dozens of protesters took to the streets in Bangladeshs capital to demand justice for an 18-year-old woman who died after being set on fire for refusing to drop sexual harassment charges against her Islamic schools principal.
Nusrat Jahan Rafi told her family she was lured to the roof of her rural school in the town of Feni on April 6 and asked to withdraw the charges by five people clad in burqas. When she refused, she said her hands were tied and she was doused in kerosene and set alight.Rafi told the story to her brother in an ambulance on the way to the hospital and he recorded her testimony on his mobile phone. She died four days later with burns covering 80 of her body.
The violence has shaken Bangladesh, triggering protests and raising concerns over the plight of women and girls in the conservative Muslim-majority nation of 160 million people where sexual harassment and violence are often unreported, victims intimidated and the legal process lengthy. Many avoid reporting to police because of social stigma.
We want justice. Our girls must grow up safely and with dignity, Alisha Pradhan, a model and actress, told The Associated Press during Fridays demonstration. We protest any forms of violence against women, and authorities must ensure justice.
Tens of thousands of people attended Rafis funeral prayers in Feni, and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina promised Rafis family when they met in Dhaka that those responsible would be punished.
At least 17 people, including students, have been arrested in connection with the case, said Banaj Kumar Majumder, the head of the Police Bureau of Investigation.