The recent rape and murder at Batadrava in Nagaon district of Assam where a student of class 5 was gang-raped by individuals and then burnt alive have rocked the state with people demanding the death penalty for the accused. The prime accused Zakir Hussain has been nabbed by the Police after two minors who stood guard outside the house were arrested on the evening of the crime itself.
Nagaon district police superintendent Shankar Raimedhi said, “The victim has named all the three accused in her dying declaration and this piece of evidence is very strong. Police are taking all measures to ensure that they get the highest quantum of punishment in the court of law.”
The rape rocked the state assembly as well leading to a walkout by the Congress. After Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma asked the Parliamentary Affairs Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary to make public the names of the accused, Patowary obliged by making public the names of accused involved in the recent rape cases in Batadrawa, Mourajhar, Jagiroad, Tamulpur and Juria. All of the accused are said to belong to the minority community. The AIUDF took offence at the ‘singling out’ of the accused belonging to the minority community.
Assam has recently witnessed a spate of attacks on women by members of the minority community. Recently, in Lakhimpur, a woman alleged that a person named Nurul Haque had attempted to outrage her modesty before she managed to escape. In another incident, a woman was raped in front of her husband. The accused Nazrul Islam alias Mazat Ali (prime accused), Sultan Ali, Momtaz Ali, Ikramul Haque, Farzul Haque, Majidul Ahmad, Habibur Rahman and Nazirul Haque were nabbed by Nagaon Police within 24 hours of the incident. In Hailkandi district, along with the Assam-Mizoram border, a 14-year-old tribal girl was brutally raped and murdered on March 14. The accused has been identified as Jashimuddin Borbhuiya.
Hojai BJP MLA Shiladitya Dev and Khumtai Legislator Mrinal Saikia have alleged that illegal Bangladeshi immigrants are involved in a majority of crimes against women. They demanded that concrete steps be taken against “illegal Bangladeshi migrants who are involved in majority rape and murder cases”. Shiladitya Dev admitted that he was wrong when he claimed that 80% of the rapes are committed by Bangladeshi Muslims before adding that the figure was closer to 95% for rape, murder, extortion, kidnapping and other crimes.
The recent spate of rapes by members of the minority community could lead to a further deterioration of communal harmony in the state which has witnessed a tectonic demographic shift due to illegal immigration from Bangladesh.