Demonstrations were held across the Bangladeshi capital on Saturday for the tenth consecutive day after a teenager who accused a head teacher of sexually harassing her was burned to death.
The killing of 19-year-old Nusrat Jahan Rafi has sparked outrage across the country and put police action in the case under the spotlight.
Protesters in Dhaka chanted slogans demanding the death sentence for the killers of the girl, who police say was lured to the rooftop of the Islamic seminary she attended in Feni, south of the capital. Police said the attackers then ordered her to withdraw a police complaint against the head of the school. When she refused, she was doused in kerosene and set on fire.
Eighteen people, including the head teacher, have been arrested. Many believe the murder has exposed a “culture of impunity” surrounding sex crimes against women and children, while those who complain often feel a backlash. “Rapes and sexual assaults have risen alarmingly in the country,” protester M. Rahman Apu said. “Nusrat Rafi’s murder proves that the even the bravest of girls do not get justice.
Garment union leader Kamrun Nahar, who had also joined the protests, said Rafi’s murder has awakened the nation’s conscience.
“We won’t stop protests until the killers of Nusrat, and other perpetrators, are brought to book,” Mr. Nahar said.The local head of the ruling Awami League party has been detained for allegedly helping the killers.