Bangladeshi madrassa student burned alive for reporting sexual assault against headteacher

Nusrat Jahan Rafi was burned alive at her school in Bangladesh after she filed a sexual assault complaint against her headteacher.

At the local police station Nusrat, 19, gave a statement where she should have been provided with a safe and private environment to recount the abuse.

Instead she was filmed by the custody officer on his phone as she described the ordeal.

In the video posted above, Nusrat is visibly distressed and tries to hide her face with her hands, as the policeman calls the complaint “no big deal” and tells her to move her hands from her face. This video was later leaked to local media.

On Wednesday 27 March police arrested the headteacher.

Matters worsened for Nusrat when a group of people gathered in the streets demanding the headmaster’s release.

The protest was arranged by two male students and local politicians were allegedly in attendance.

Locals began to blame Nusrat which resulted in her family worrying about her safety.

However, 11 days after the alleged sexual assault, Nusrat went to her school to sit her final exams on Saturday 6 April.

According to a statement given by Nusrat, a fellow female student took her to the roof of the school, saying one of her friends was being beaten up.

When Nusrat reached the rooftop five people wearing burqas surrounded her and pressured her to withdraw the case against the headteacher. When she refused, they set her on fire.

Police Bureau of Investigation Chief, Banaj Kumar Majumder, said the killers wanted “to make it look like a suicide”. Their plan failed when Nusrat was rescued after they fled the scene. She was able to give a statement before she died.

Police have since arrested 15 people, seven of them allegedly involved in the murder.

Among those arrested are the two male students who organised the protest in support of the headteacher, whilst the headteacher himself remains in custody.

The policeman who filmed Nusrat’s sexual harassment complaint has been removed from his post and transferred to another department.

In the ambulance, fearing she might not survive, she recorded a statement on her brother’s mobile phone.

“The teacher touched me, I will fight this crime till my last breath,” you can hear her say.

She also identified some of her attackers as students of the madrassa.

Nusrat died on Thursday 11 April with burns covering 80 per cent of her body.

Her case has sparked protests across the country and her funeral was attended by thousands of people.

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