The girl’s father claimed that he begged of the arbitrators against the marriage, while the arbitrators say the man is complaining to journalists for money
An eighth-grade girl– who was abducted and reportedly raped– has been married to her alleged rapist through arbitration in Madaripur Sadar upazila.
The alleged rapist is Shohag Munshi, 22, hailing from Fashli village under Kashiani upazila of Gopalganj.
On June 2, Shohag took the teenager from Madaripur. Following the incident, an abduction case was filed against him on June 8, and police rescued the girl, according to locals and police.
On June 20, Payerpur Union Parishad (UP) Chairman Mojibur Rahman, UP member Sabur and UP member Shahid of Madaripur Sadar upazila, arranged an arbitration to settle the incident of rape.
The arbitration council that day fined Shohagh Tk30,000 and “sentenced” him to marry the girl with around 50 locals present, claimed locals.
The girl’s father said: “Shohag’s sister’s home is near our house. He often visited because of that. Police rescued my daughter after she was abducted by Shohag.
“My daughter told me that she was raped. Yet the arbitrators handed over my girl to that Shohag. I am poor. I clutched the chairman’s feet and begged him for my daughter, but she was married forcefully. I want my daughter back.”
Peyarpur UP member Sabur said: “The marriage was arranged seeking permission of both parties, it was not forced. The groom’s family was supposed to pay the bride’s family Tk30,000, which is yet to be paid. Maybe this is the reason behind her father complaining about the incident (marriage) to journalists.”
Peyarpur UP chairman Mojibur denied that he held any arbitration regarding the matter and said: “Both of the families are poor. They came in front of me for advice. I have advised them to get united as it’s not permissible to conduct arbitration over rape and abduction.”
Sub-Inspector Prabas Kumar Basu, the investigation in-charge of the filed abduction case, said: “Arbitration can not be conducted over rape and abduction. I have heard that the incident is settled by locals. But we are trying to arrest the accused.”
Madaripur Additional Superintendent of Police (ASP) (Sadar circle) Md Badrul Alam, said: “I know that the victim was rescued, but don’t know anything about the marriage. When a rape case is under investigation, such a marriage is completely illegal.”
It is possible that arbitration was held to save the victim’s family from social stigma, added ASP Badrul.