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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Serafina Mardi's Suicide:Court rejects bail prayers of ten arrestees


Published On: 2011-03-01
Staff Correspondent, Rajshahi
A Rajshahi court yesterday rejected bail prayers of ten people who were arrested on February 23 on charge of provoking Serafina Mardi's suicide through illegal out-of-court settlement.

Gang-raped on April 4 last year, indigenous girl Serafina, 14, daughter of Cornelius Mardi of Amtulipara in

[[ In a written statement at a press conference in Rajshahi city yesterday, Serafina Mardi's sister Sabina Mardi demanded security of her family as they are still being threatened by the community leaders. Photo: STAR]]

Godagari upazila, recently committed suicide following out-of-court settlement by own community leaders who decided her marriage with one of the rapists.

Police produced the accused in the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate's Court, seeking a five-day remand of Father Bernard Tudu of Surshunipara Catholic Church and community leaders Biswanath Tudu and Monir Murmu.

Rejecting the remand prayer, the judicial magistrate Rejaul Karim sent them to jail. Other accused in the case are Amin Murmu, Lobin Hembrom, Samuel Mardi, Jotin Hembrom, Poresh Murmu, Biswanath Tudu, and Sisti Tudu.

Sub Inspector Ataur Rahman lodged the case.

Meanwhile, Jatiya Adivasi Parishad (JAP) at a press conference here yesterday demanded immediate arrest and punishment of the rapists and others responsible for influencing the court verdict following the out-of-court settlement that led to Serafina's suicide.

In a written statement at the conference, Serafina's sister Sabina Mardi demanded security of her family members at Amtulipara village.

She said her family members are still under pressure of the community leaders who forced them to provide misleading information before the court and Serafina's rape case in arbitration.

Local chapters of Bangladesh National Women Lawyers Association and Bangladesh Mohila Parishad have started working to provide legal support to the victim's family members who are now facing ill-treatment by their own community.

Source: http://www.thedailystar.net/story.php?nid=175931
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Punishment to Serafina’s rapists demanded

→ Staff Correspondent
RAJSHAHI: Different orga­­ni­­sations in Rajshahi city and Godagari upazila on Wednesday demanded immediate arrest and exemplary punishment to the rapists who violated an indigenous girl.

Serafina Mardi, 14, who was raped on April 4 2010 (Ester Sunday), died on Sunday three days after she had set herself on fire at Amtulipara village in Godagari. Jatiya Adibashi Parishad, Jatiya Mohila Parishad, Jatiya Mohila Ainjibi Samity and Borendra Unnayan Forum jointly formed a human chain on Godagari upazila head-quarters demanding immediate arrest and punishment to the rapists of the indigenous girl.

Jatiya Adibashi Parishad central committee president Anil Marandi, general secretary Rabindranath Soren, Rajshahi city unit president Bimol Chandra Rajowar and Godagari upazila unit president Uttom Kumar, Borendra Unnayan Forum leader Ferdousi Chowdhury Putul, Jatiya Mohila Ainjibi Samity leader Dil Setara Chuni, among others, spoke the programme.

They also demanded punishment to the village arbitrators who forced the victim’s family to settle the issue in exchange of money.

After the human chain, the leaders of the organis-ations also submitted a memorandum to the Goda-gari UNO to meet their demands.

Later, they visited Serafina’s houses and talked to officials of Godagari police station and Adibashi leaders of the village.

Besides, Santal Students’ Union also formed a human chain at Shaheb Shaheb Bazar Zero Point in Rajshahi city to press home their five-point demands, including immediate arrest of the rapists and effective steps to stop torture on ethnic people.

Santal Students’ Union president Joshef Hasda, secretary Habil Mrandi and cultural secretary Emi Tudu spoke the programme.

Jakirul Islam, officer in charge of Godagari police station told daily sun that Serafina’s father Kornelews Mardi did not show any interest to lodge case with the police station in this regard.

Local sources said Serafina Mardi, a class-five student of Novera Surshuni Christian Missionary School, was violated by nine indigenous youths —Kallus Mardi, Nirmol Murmu, Julian Mardi, Jewel Mardi, Semon Hembrom, Simon Murmu, Porimol Soren, Ilias Murmu and Ranjan Mardi—on April 4 last year.

The victim lodged a complaint with Godagari police station, accusing the nine youths after the incident.

But the youths with help of local arbitrators managed her family to go for an out-of-court settlement over the issue in exchange of Tk 1.40 lakh.

With her hopes of justice dying out, Serafina set herself ablaze on February 17 to put an end to her ordeal.

She was admitted to the surgery ward of Rajshahi Medical College Hospital with burns all over her body. Three days later she succumbed to her injures.

Source:http://www.daily-sun.com/?view=details&type=daily_sun_news&pub_no=138&cat_id=1&menu_id=2&news_type_id=1&index=7&archiev=yes&arch_date=24-02-2011
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Bangladesh priest arrested over rape settlement

February 24th, 2011

Bangladesh police have arrested Catholic priest, Father Bernard Tudu, and nine other people over their alleged involvement in an out-of-court settlement concerning the rape of a young indigenous woman.

The “settlement” that followed the rape of Serafina Mardi led her to commit suicide at Godagari upazila in Rajshahi, the Daily Star reports.

The other persons arrested are indigenous community leaders, including, Bishwanath Tudu of Shimla who allegedly presided over the settlement, said Zakirul Islam, officer-in-charge of Godagari Police Station.

Ataur Rahman, sub-inspector of Kakonhat investigation centre, filed a case with Godagari Police Station in this connection last night.

According to the case statement, the accused persons “provoked” Serafina Mardi, the 14-year-old indigenous girl, to commit suicide.

She died on Monday, two days after she had set herself on fire failing to stand the humiliation. Nine indigenous men raped her on April 4 last year.

Although Father Bernard Tudu was not present during the settlement, he handed over a sum to Serafina’s family in compensation as per the settlement, the case statement further said.

Source: http://www.christianportal.com/2011/02/24/bangladesh-priest-arrested-over-rape-settlement/

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'Religion' saved, with it rapists


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Serafina Mardi, the now-deceased gang rape victim, took her life in protest at the settlement forced on her family by community leaders and Shurshunipara Catholic Church in Godagari upazila.

The settlement, reached in the name of protecting the religion, was designed to save nine men from prosecution for the rape. It came at a time when the case was under trial, said local police and members of the Mardi family.

Both the victim and the accused belonged to indigenous community in Amtulipara village.

As part of the settlement, the nine paid Tk 1.40 lakh to Serafina's family as compensation. Besides, Nirmol Murmu, one of the accused, was ordered to marry Serafina.

But the marriage never took place; it was put only on papers to submit to the court.

Serafina died on Monday, two days after she set herself on fire.

On April 4 last year, she was raped allegedly by Kallus Mardi, Nirmol Murmu, Julian Mardi, Jewel Mardi, Semon Hembrom, Simon Murmu, Porimol Soren, Ilias Murmu and Ranjan Mardi.

Reverend Bernard Tudu, a priest of the church, yesterday said that after the filing of the case, the families of the nine “rapists” had moved to leave the village comprised of 36 indigenous Christian families.

Fearing that the community would be weakened if they left, the local indigenous leaders initiated the settlement.

Talking to The Daily Star at Rajshahi Caritas office, Tudu however denied the church's involvement.

He said the settlement took place on the church premises weeks after the rape incident. He only kept the compensation money to hand it over to the victim's family.

SM Rokon Uddin, superintendent of police in Rajshahi, said the church authorities had the rapists confess to the church.

Police had pressed charges against the nine on August 11 last year, but the court acquitted the accused as no prosecution witness appeared.

The SP said an unnatural death case has been filed following Serafina's suicide. However, no actions have been taken yet against the people involved in the out-of-court settlement, he added.

Meanwhile, the villagers said the “rapists” are still at large threatening the victim's family not to file any more cases.

M Noor Khan, director of Ain o Salish Kendra, a legal aid and human rights organisation, said there is no scope for out-of-court settlement during the trial of a rape case. Involvement in this sort of settlement is a punishable offence.

“The entire process was illegal as it was done to avoid trial. All those who were involved in it must be punished,” observed Khan.

Visiting Amtulipara village yesterday, this correspondent found deep shock and silence gripping the members of the victim's family.

“If the priest asks me to accept the settlement, what else can I do? I have to live here with three other daughters,” said Serafina's father Cornelius Mardi, a farm labourer.

Reverend Tudu, however, denied that he ever met Serafina's father.

Cornelius said Moheswar Soren, Lobin Hembrom, Jotin, Monir Murmu, Amin, Bhawani, Fabian Murmu and Moti Mardi were among those who forced him to accept the settlement.

Serafina's mother Susana Soren alleged that instead of taking actions against the rapists, the community leaders fined her husband Tk 1,200 for yelling at the rapists.

Godagari Pargapa Parishad president Biswanath Tudu, among other community leaders, headed the settlement. He said the settlement was aimed to maintain peace. “While both the sides accepted the judgment, what is the problem here?” he asked.

Dhonai Soren, president of Kakonhat Poura Pargana Parishad, said he had walked out of the meeting to protest the fining instead of a trial.

Soon after the settlement, the accused started roaming freely again, adding to the humiliation and torments Serafina had been going through.

After she set herself ablaze on February 17, she was admitted to the surgery ward of Rajshahi Medical College Hospital.


MA Hannan, head of the surgery ward, said the girl had 75 percent of her body burned and was referred to Dhaka for better treatment. But her family took her back home under a risk bond.

Serafina's father said he took her home as he could not afford going to Dhaka.

Jatiya Adibashi Parishad has protested the rape incident and the settlement and demanded punishment to those responsible.


Source: http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=175160

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'Religion' saved, with it rapists

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Serafina Mardi, the now-deceased gang rape victim, took her life in protest at the settlement forced on her family by community leaders and Shurshunipara Catholic Church in Godagari upazila.

The settlement, reached in the name of protecting the religion, was designed to save nine men from prosecution for the rape. It came at a time when the case was under trial, said local police and members of the Mardi family.

Both the victim and the accused belonged to indigenous community in Amtulipara village.

As part of the settlement, the nine paid Tk 1.40 lakh to Serafina's family as compensation. Besides, Nirmol Murmu, one of the accused, was ordered to marry Serafina.

But the marriage never took place; it was put only on papers to submit to the court.

Serafina died on Monday, two days after she set herself on fire.

On April 4 last year, she was raped allegedly by Kallus Mardi, Nirmol Murmu, Julian Mardi, Jewel Mardi, Semon Hembrom, Simon Murmu, Porimol Soren, Ilias Murmu and Ranjan Mardi.

Reverend Bernard Tudu, a priest of the church, yesterday said that after the filing of the case, the families of the nine “rapists” had moved to leave the village comprised of 36 indigenous Christian families.

Fearing that the community would be weakened if they left, the local indigenous leaders initiated the settlement.

Talking to The Daily Star at Rajshahi Caritas office, Tudu however denied the church's involvement.

He said the settlement took place on the church premises weeks after the rape incident. He only kept the compensation money to hand it over to the victim's family.

SM Rokon Uddin, superintendent of police in Rajshahi, said the church authorities had the rapists confess to the church.

Police had pressed charges against the nine on August 11 last year, but the court acquitted the accused as no prosecution witness appeared.

The SP said an unnatural death case has been filed following Serafina's suicide. However, no actions have been taken yet against the people involved in the out-of-court settlement, he added.

Meanwhile, the villagers said the “rapists” are still at large threatening the victim's family not to file any more cases.

M Noor Khan, director of Ain o Salish Kendra, a legal aid and human rights organisation, said there is no scope for out-of-court settlement during the trial of a rape case. Involvement in this sort of settlement is a punishable offence.

“The entire process was illegal as it was done to avoid trial. All those who were involved in it must be punished,” observed Khan.

Visiting Amtulipara village yesterday, this correspondent found deep shock and silence gripping the members of the victim's family.

“If the priest asks me to accept the settlement, what else can I do? I have to live here with three other daughters,” said Serafina's father Cornelius Mardi, a farm labourer.

Reverend Tudu, however, denied that he ever met Serafina's father.

Cornelius said Moheswar Soren, Lobin Hembrom, Jotin, Monir Murmu, Amin, Bhawani, Fabian Murmu and Moti Mardi were among those who forced him to accept the settlement.

Serafina's mother Susana Soren alleged that instead of taking actions against the rapists, the community leaders fined her husband Tk 1,200 for yelling at the rapists.

Godagari Pargapa Parishad president Biswanath Tudu, among other community leaders, headed the settlement. He said the settlement was aimed to maintain peace. “While both the sides accepted the judgment, what is the problem here?” he asked.

Dhonai Soren, president of Kakonhat Poura Pargana Parishad, said he had walked out of the meeting to protest the fining instead of a trial.

Soon after the settlement, the accused started roaming freely again, adding to the humiliation and torments Serafina had been going through.

After she set herself ablaze on February 17, she was admitted to the surgery ward of Rajshahi Medical College Hospital.

MA Hannan, head of the surgery ward, said the girl had 75 percent of her body burned and was referred to Dhaka for better treatment. But her family took her back home under a risk bond.

Serafina's father said he took her home as he could not afford going to Dhaka.

Jatiya Adibashi Parishad has protested the rape incident and the settlement and demanded punishment to those responsible.

Source: http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=175160

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Rape victim kills herself :rapists let off the hook

An indigenous girl died yesterday, two days after she had set herself on fire in Amtulipara village of Godagari.

Serafina Mardi, 14, who was raped 10 months ago, ended her life failing to stand the humiliation any longer, said Rabindranath Soren, general secretary of JatiyaAdibashi Parishad.

After being raped by nine indigenous men on April 4 last year, the victim filed a complaint with Godagari Police Station, accusing Kallus Mardi, Nirmol Murmu, Julian Mardi, Jewel Mardi, Semon Hembrom, Simon Murmu, Porimol Soren, Ilias Murmu and Ranjan Mardi.

She was denied justice as the accused managed to lure her family into a Tk 1.40 lakh out-of-court settlement, the Adibashi leader said adding the accused are influential in local indigenous community.

As part of the settlement, the girl's family married her off to one of the accused, Nirmol Murmu, adding to her torment.

Soon after the accused made sure they were out of judicial proceedings, Nirmol divorced the girl, said Rabindranath Soren.

The victim, a class-five student of Novera Surshuni Christian Missionary School, attempted suicide several times since the settlement on November 24, said her brother-in-law Jacob Soren.

On Thursday, Serafina was taken to Rajshahi Medical College Hospital with burns all over her body. Just two days later, her family took her back home.

Rabindranath Soren alleged the accused rapists had forced the family to take Serafina from the hospital though doctors suggested that her treatment should continue.

Source:http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=174978

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