Father and daughter kill themselves in front of train after assault complaint was ignored

Father and daughter kill themselves in front of train after assault complaint was ignored
Halima, who has lost her husband and daughter.
PHOTO: The Daily Star/Asia News Network

Nothing and nobody can console her. For the last three days, Halima Begum has been lamenting the deaths of her husband and daughter. Whenever she sees a little girl around, she embraces her and says, "Where have you gone my Ayesha?"

Her husband, Hazrat Ali, 55, reportedly committed suicide along with daughter Ayesha Akhter, 8, by jumping before a running train near Sreepur Railway Station on the morning of April 29, after being frustrated with no response from police and local representative to his complaints about an attempt to violate the minor girl.

"What was our fault? Why do I have to suffer like this? I want my daughter back....I want my husband," Halima says.

Meanwhile, Gazipur police on Sunday formed a three-member committee to investigate the incident that shook the nation's conscience.

Golam Sabur, additional superintendent of police, has been made head of the committee, said Gazipur Superintendent of Police M Harun-or-Rashid. The committee has been asked to submit a report within three days.

Halima alleged that four months ago one Faruk took her daughter on his bicycle for a ride to her home. But he instead took her to a jungle and tried to violate her. As Ayesha screamed, Faruk ran away leaving the bicycle that fell on one of her legs injuring her.

The couple lodged a complaint with Sreepur police on January 15, but police told them that they did not know the accused.

Asaduzzaman, officer-in-charge of Sreepur police, denied the allegation and said no one from the family had filed any such complaint.

Hazrat and his wife Halima lodged a general diary only over the injuries to the girl's leg, the OC said.

Halima said they sought justice from the local representative as well, but Abul Hossain, member of Goshinga Union Parishad, did not hold any arbitration. He gave some money for Ayesha's treatment.

Faruk in the meantime continued to harass her daughter. In February, Faruk even stole their cow, Halima said.

Her husband was extremely shocked by the incidents. Some people in the village used to taunt him. A day before the incident, their next door neighbour Forkan and Borhan came to their house to beat up Hazrat for one of the couple's goats entered their gourd field.

"My husband was frustrated. He even tried to commit suicide by hanging himself and taking poison."

The couple were married for around 30 years, but they didn't have any biological children. Eight years ago, they adopted a three-month-old Ayesha from a beggar. Ayesha was everything in their world.

"Now I'm alone. I'm living with fear of being attacked," Halima says.

Visiting her house on Monday, Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) Kazi Reazul Hoque said frustration, resentment and shame had pushed Hazrat into committing suicide with his daughter.

An influential quarter had been oppressing Hazrat and his foster daughter to grab his properties, he said, adding that police and public representatives could not shirk their responsibilities in the incident.

Primarily, it seemed Hazrat Ali and his daughter committed suicide for having lack of faith in society and law, Kazi Reazul said. The country should get rid of this culture of impunity.

The commission will provide legal support to Halima who filed a case accusing seven people of provoking the victims to commit suicide, said the NHRC chief.

Meanwhile, the youth named Faruk accused of rape attempt has been on the run while Goshinga UP member Abul Hossain placed on a two-day remand.

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