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This Student Died After She Was Set On Fire For Reporting Sexual Harassment

Multiple people have been arrested in connection with the attack as the public demands justice.

Posted on April 18, 2019, at 12:49 p.m. ET

A young woman in Bangladesh has died after she was set on fire for reporting sexual harassment.

Nusrat Jahan Rafi, an 18-year-old student studying at a madrasa, or Islamic school, in Feni, went to the police on March 27 to file a report against her principal for allegedly sexually harassing her.

Via Facebook

Rafi said the principal, Maulana Siraj Ud Doula, had called her into his office and repeatedly touched her inappropriately.

She also said that she had been repeatedly sexually harassed by Ud Doula, but had been told to keep it quiet when she tried to bring it up with her teachers.

Her statement was filmed without her consent by the police officer, who later posted it on social media, which is illegal, the Daily Star reported.

In the video, which was later leaked to local media, Rafi can be seen crying, visibly distressed, and trying to hide her face with her hands.

The police officer is heard saying it's "not a big deal" and telling her to "move your hands from the face, stop crying, nothing happened that you have to cry."

After she filed her report, Ud Doula was arrested, but Rafi and her family reportedly started receiving death threats from the principal's supporters.

Male students also organized protests to demand Ud Doula's release, which were attended by local politicians, according to the BBC.

On April 6, Rafi was tricked into going to the roof of a school building, where at least four unidentified people doused her in kerosene and set her on fire.

Str / Getty Images

Police said that the attackers, who were dressed in burqas and had their faces mostly covered, had tried to pressure Rafi to withdraw her complaint against Ud Doula and lit her on fire when she refused.

After the attackers fled the scene, Rafi ran down the stairs screaming for help while her entire body was in flames, her older brother told the Daily Star.

She was taken to a local hospital, but was transferred to Dhaka Medical College Hospital after doctors discovered she had suffered burns to 80% of her body.

On April 10, she died.

Str / Getty Images

Family members, relatives, and villagers broke down when her body was returned to her home, and her two brothers fainted.

Str / Getty Images

Rafi's story sparked outrage across the country, and thousands of people turned up for her funeral.

Nusrat Jahan Rafi who died after being set on fire was laid to eternal rest at her village home in Feni district of #Bangladesh . She was buried at their family graveyard following a namaz-e-janaza at Mohammad Saber Pilot High School ground around 5:50pm. #justicefornusrat

People across the country also held protests demanding justice for her murder.

Str / Getty Images

People were outraged by the news.

#Bangladesh has reached a point where an 18 year old young woman was drenched in petrol & set on fire in her school in broad daylight. Her crime was her unwillingness to withdraw a sexual harassment case against the school principal. Complete lawlessness. https://t.co/B8k09zUtOk

I'm furious. Just got to know about Nusrat Jahan Rafi who died after being set on fire by her madrasa principle's followers because she doesn't want to withdraw a sexual assault case against the principle. My heart is with her and her family. RIP Nusrat. #JusticeForNusrat

tw // sexual assault nusrat rafi, an 18 yr old in bangladesh, set on fire bc she refused to drop a sexual assault complaint against her principal. kerosene was thrown onto her. "i will continue to protest. i will tell the prime minister." she continued to fight. don't forget her

This culture of impunity needs to end NOW. We owe it to Nusrat to ensure the uphill battle she so bravely started does not end in vain. https://t.co/ZTDNunHWSJ

They're also demanding justice on social media with the hashtag #JusticeForNusrat.

"We want the highest punishment of the killers of Nusrat who was set on fire because of protesting sexual assault. #Bangladesh #JusticeForNusrat

No woman should have to face what this brave girl has faced. Please make our educational institutions safe for girls. #justicefornusrat https://t.co/36ftvAP2LF

জাতি হিসাবে আমাদের লজ্জিত হওয়া উচিত, একজন ধর্ষকের মুক্তির জন্য এরা মিছিল করছে!! এই মিছিলকারীদের চাইতে অশ্লীল কাউকে কখনো দেখেছি বলে মনে পরছে না যদিও এরা ভাল ভাবেই নিজেদের ঢেকে রেখেছে। #Bangladesh #PrayForNusrat #JusticeForNusrat

The prime minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina Wazed, has vowed to bring every person involved with the murder to justice.

“Nusrat’s killers won’t be spared. I personally believe they would have to face exemplary punishment so that none can dare to commit such heinous crimes in future,” --- #SheikhHasina #SheikhHasinaQuotes #Bangladesh #JusticeForNusrat

"None of the culprits will be spared from legal action," she said.

As of Monday, police have detained 14 people in connection with the murder.

Police say that the four attackers were students of the madrasa and included one female student.

Nuruddin and Shahadat alias Shamim, the two main suspects who were the principal's aides and graduates of the madrasa, reportedly confessed on Sunday that they planned the murder with five other students, after visiting Ud Doula in jail.

The two were also responsible for organizing the protests demanding Ud Doula's release, according to the Daily Star.

A third student confessed his involvement on Thursday, saying that the murder had been carried out under the direction of Ud Doula, who allegedly gave them instructions from jail.

Police have also launched an investigation into their own handling of Rafi's case and whether there had been any negligence on the part of the officers before and after the attack, BDNews24 reported.

Meanwhile, the officer who filmed the video of Rafi has reportedly been transferred for his alleged negligence in preventing her murder and is also being sued for violating the Digital Security Act by sharing the video on social media.

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