FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Mother and Daughter Gang-Raped by Muslims in Bangladesh
Daughter is Dead, but Police Still Refuse to Take Action
You are free to disseminate the following news. We request that you reference ICC (International Christian Concern) and include our web address www.www.persecution.org. Contact Jeremy Sewall, Policy Analyst, 1-800-ICC (422)-5441, [email protected].
(June 13, 2008) The Washington-DC based human rights group, International Christian Concern (ICC) www.www.persecution.org has just learned that a Christian mother, Shima D. Silva, and her 14-year-old daughter, Bituni, were both gang raped by three Muslim men at their home in Uttar Som, Bangladesh. The mother is still alive. Unfortunately, Bituni died a few days after the attack.
James and Shima Silva lived with their daughter, Bituni, in the village of Uttar Som in Gazipur District. However, James was often not at home with his family because he worked in Dhaka. Earlier this year, three Muslim men began harassing Bituni on her way to St. Mary’s High school in Toomilia. The men’s names are Mehadi (24), Dulal (28) and Rasel (20).
When Bituni’s mother discovered this, she immediately went to the local Kaliganj Police Station to file a report. In order for the report to be verified, it was necessary for the officer in charge at the police station to sign it. After Shima completed the report, the officer examined it and handed it back, but did not sign it. Shima was confused as to why the officer had failed to sign the report and told the local Toomilia Union Chairman, Abu Bakar Bakku. He also refused to take action. When Mehadi, Dulal, and Rasel learned that Shima had reported their harassment to the police, they were furious and became more violent towards Bituni.
On April 30, 2008, after Shima and Bituni had finished dinner, they were disturbed by their dogs barking outside. Shima went outside to find out why the dogs were barking. Upon exiting her house, she found a gang of Muslim men waiting. While the majority of the men remained outside, the three men who had been harassing her daughter forced her back into her home at gunpoint. Once inside, the three men raped Shima and then locked her in the bathroom. Shima eventually managed to free herself from the bathroom and found that her daughter had also been raped and poisoned. The men finally left the house at 4am and warned that they would kill the family if she told anyone. Fearing for her life and her family, Shima decided not to tell her husband.
Just three hours after the attack, on May 1, Shima rushed her poisoned daughter to Fortune Hospital and called her husband on the way. The three rapists had remained close to the house and followed the women to the hospital. When James arrived, however, the three men left. After examining Bituni, the hospital referred the Silvas to Dhaka Medical Hospital. Because Dhaka was so far away and Bituni was getting worse, the Silvas decided to stop at a different hospital on the way to Dhaka. Sadly, it was too late. The doctor there declared Bituni dead. The Silvas returned to their home and asked the local parish priest, Rev. Abel Rozario, for their daughter’s death certificate so she could be buried in the local Catholic graveyard.
On May 3, the three Muslim men informed James that they would give him 2 million Taka ($2,800) if he did not file a police report. Shima had still not told him of the attack, and so James was confused as to why these men were offering him money. James informed Abu Bakar Bakku, who ordered him to take the money. On May 5, however, James went to the local Kaliganj Police Station and filed a police case under the Women and Children Repression Act 20039(2)(3). Police have not yet taken action against the rapists.
This is the second gang-rape against Christians in Bangladesh that happened in the same week. On May 2, Muslim villagers gang-raped the 13-year-old daughter of Pastor Motilal Das in Laksmipur village, Mymensingh district. Please call or write your Bangladesh embassy to ask them to take action on this case.
USA: Phone (202) 244-0183 / 7248, Fax (202) 244-2771 / 7830, [email protected]
Canada: Phone (613)-236-0138, Fax (613)-567-3213, [email protected]
UK: Phone 020 7584 0081, Fax 020 7581 7477, [email protected]
Australia: Phone +61-2-6290-0511, Fax +61-2-6290-0544, [email protected]
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ICC is a Washington-DC based human rights organization that exists to help persecuted Christians worldwide. ICC delivers humanitarian aid, trains and supports persecuted pastors, raises awareness in the US regarding the problem of persecution, and is an advocate for the persecuted on Capitol Hill and the State Department. For additional information or for an interview, contact ICC at 800-422-5441.