Teenage girl whipped to death by clerics for illicit affair

Posted By: Pti
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Anisur Rahman

Dhaka, Feb 3 (PTI) A 14-year-old girl was whipped todeath by clerics for allegedly having an illicit relationshipwith a married man triggering massive protests acrossBangladesh.

The clerics ordered 14-year-old Mosammet Hena to bewhipped by 100 lashes in a Fatwah or a religious court at avillage in the outskirts of the capital on Tuesday forallegedly carrying on with a married man.

The girl collapsed midway after being lashed 70 timespublicly with a bamboo cane and had to be rushed to hospitalwhere she died hours later.

The 40-year-old man with whom Hena was having anaffair was also sentenced to 100 lashes. But the man fled toescape the punishment.

The street fury prompted the High Court to demand anexplanation from the government for failure to save the girl,despite a court ruling banning religious courts from takingaction in such cases.

A two-member High Court bench took a "suo-motto"notice of the punishment meted out by the religious court andasked the district police chief and two other administrativeofficials to explain within 15 days why they "failed" toprotect the girl.

The bench comprising Justices Shamsuddin ChowdhuryManik and Sheikh Md Zakir Hossain also asked them what actionhad been taken against the culprits who ordered the lashings.

Another High Court bench comprising Justice SyedMahmud Hossain and Justice Nazrul Islam Talukder in a nearlyidentical suo motto order yesterday asked law enforcementagencies to submit a report within three weeks explaining whatsteps were taken to comply with its earlier order to stop"extra judicial killings" in the name of fatwa.

Fatwas are illegal in Bangladesh, a Muslim majoritynation.

The bench also ordered the information ministry to runa media campaign to create awareness among people againstextra-judicial punishments by religious courts.

Media reports and officials, however, suggested thatthe girl was a rape victim but the influential village leadersand clerics instead of taking actions against the rapistordered Hena to be lashed 100 times for "illicit relations".

This was the second such incident of Islamic courtshanding out extra-judicial penalties since October last year.

Following the court intervention, Police claimed theyhad arrested four cleric.

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