Vol. 5 Num 123 Sat. September 25, 2004  
Front Page

Rape victim Rahela gives up fight for life

Savar rape victim Rahela Akhter Lima has finally lost her 33-day fight for life at Dhaka Medical College and Hospital (DMCH).

The 19-year-old garments worker, who was mugged, raped and left with her throat slit on the leafy Jahangirnagar University (JU) campus on August 22, died yesterday.

Her relatives took her body to their village home in Faridpur for burial.

She was returning home along the JU premises on August 22 when her former colleague Liton asked her to meet Delwar, another colleague.

As she advanced, Liton, Delwar and two others gagged her, took away her gold ornaments and Tk 2,800, her salary, reportedly gangraped her and struck her neck with a chopper. Thinking her dead, the culprits left the spot.

On August 24, they came back to check the dead body but found her alive. She begged of them drinking water but instead, they poured acid on her to confirm her death. But Rahela survived.

Sensing someone's presence in the bush, a gardener approached and found Rahela. However, he fled taking her for an apparition and informed others.

On information, police rescued her and sent her to the DMCH.

Gangrene had set in her body in the wake of acid burns. Her spinal cord was cut off and her wounds were exposed to infection as she was abandoned in the open for three days.

Her mother Rokeya yesterday said: "Though my daughter named all criminals, police have picked up only one." Earlier, Rokeya accused Akash, Kabir, Liton and Delwar of the crime.

Women rights organisation Sammilita Nari Samaj and Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal expressed deep concern at Rahela's death and her killers being at large. They demanded immediate arrest and exemplary punishment of the culprits.

Mother wails over the death of her daughter Rahela Akhter Lima, inset, at Dhaka Medical College and Hospital yesterday. PHOTO: STAR