Law enforcers are yet to arrest anyone involved in gang rape of tourist woman in Cox’s Bazar as of Friday afternoon. Tourist police have started an investigation into the incident. The victim and her husband are in custody. The woman and her husband might be produced before a court today following an interrogation.
Cox’s Bazar Tourist Police’s superintendent Md Jillur Rahman told Prothom Alo, “We’ve interrogated the woman. The woman said they have been staying in Cox’s Bazar for three months and has admitted she is familiar with the prime accused of rape case Ashiqul Islam. Ashiq is a listed criminal accused in 16 cases. It’s suspicious for an outsider woman to be acquainted with a drug dealer criminal. We’re trying to dig deep into the incident.”
The husband of the woman filed a rape case with Cox’s Bazar model police station on Thursday night naming four including Ashiq. Four other unidentified persons were also made accused in the case.
Accused are Ashiq’s associates Israfil Khuda alias Joy and Mehedi Hasan alias Babu and manager of Zia Guest Inn resort Riaz Uddin. Rapid Action Batallion (RAB) arrested Riaz on Wednesday night. Ashiq and Riaz had prior acquaintance.
Other accused persons have gone into hiding since the incident.
Ashiq’s mother and younger brother Babul said he had come to the house at around 11:00pm in the night on Wednesday and left a bit later. He has not returned since then.
Cox’s Bazar model police station’s officer-in-charge Sheikh Munir-ul Gias said the police is conducting drives to arrest the accused.
Police said Ashiq had been arrested on 7 November in a mugging case and was released from jail on bail on 16 December. He is already accused in 16 cases, including murder, mugging, repression of women and children, arms, drugs and more, at the Cox’s Bazar sadar model police station.
Tourist police’s additional superintendent Mohammad Mohiuddin, who interrogated the woman and her husband, said the victim came to Cox’s Bazar on several occasions in the last two and half months. She had earlier complained in the Cox’s Bazar police station that the money and mobile phone of her husband were stolen. Around two months ago, the woman called national helpline 999 expressing concern about the possibility of being attacked and seeking police assistance. The local police did not find the veracity of her claim after investigation.
The police officer said, the law enforcers then asked the couple to leave Cox’s Bazar but they did not.
Law enforcers are now trying to find out why they stayed on and if they had any enmity with anyone, ASP Mohiuddin said.
Meanwhile, the police officer binned the woman’s allegation of not getting assistance from police even after calling 999.
There was no evidence that the woman called the helpline, said the police officer adding that they would have responded had the woman called.
Replying to another question, ASP Mohiuddin said they would need more investigation to ascertain if the women and her husband are actually tourists.
According to the case, the woman along with her husband and child came on a visit to Cox’s Bazar on Wednesday morning. They checked into a hotel at Holiday intersection (Jhautala). In the late afternoon they went to the beach at Laboni Point. The woman’s husband accidentally bumped into Ashiq while wading in the water. This led to an altercation.
In the evening the couple was returning to the hotel when Ashiq and his accomplices blocked their way in an empty area near the Parjatan golf course. The man was carrying their eight-month baby. A few of the criminals grabbed the man and child and took them to a nearby spot, while three of them pulled the woman forcibly into a CNG-run auto-rickshaw. They took her to a makeshift tea stall and raped her there. They then took her to a resort, Zia Guest Inn, and locked her up there in a room.
The woman later came out of the locked room with help of another person. She said she called at 999 but the authorities asked her to file a general diary (GD) first. She then called RAB-15 and they rescued her from the spot.