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Orphan 'raped, confined'
A nine-year-old orphan was rescued by police and district administration after she was allegedly raped by a shopkeeper on Monday and then confined in a room of Patuakhali Government Orphanage, where she lived, by orphanage authorities for over three days.
The incident took place when the girl, a first grade student of Debuapur Government Primary School, was on her way to school from her orphanage and stopped at a shop, the victim's grandmother said. She added that the shopkeeper, Motaleb, 25, used chocolates to lure the victim inside his shop where he allegedly raped her.
She further alleged that the child, traumatised, went back to the orphanage after the incident, where the authorities kept her confined in a room for three days to keep her from talking to the other children about what happened.
Her grandmother visited the orphanage on Wednesday, like every week, to meet her. ÒI come frequently and always meet her. However, staff members of the orphanage barred me from meeting her this time. This made me suspect that something was wrong.
After requesting the authorities, they finally let me meet her and I found her not only suffering from a fever, but also bleeding severely.
When the girl's grandmother asked the superintendent of the orphanage Sharmin Akhter about what happened, she was told that the girl fell off a tree and injured herself.
They also told me they had taken her to hospital and brought her back after treatment, said the grandmother, adding that she requested to take her granddaughter to hospital herself to check if she was alright. She was, however, barred by orphanage authorities from this as well.
She then filed a written complaint with the deputy commissioner (DC) of Patuakhali yesterday, after which district administration and police at 2:00pm rescued the victim and sent her to Patuakhali General Hospital. They also arrested Motaleb from the district's Shabujbagh area around 3:00pm.
Additional District Magistrate (ADM) Nurul Hafiz said he went to the orphanage with two police officials. We spoke to the victim's grandmother, the other orphans living there and the authorities concerned. He added that journalists at the spot were told that the girl was raped and police would take necessary actions against Motaleb.
Upon the arrival of law enforcers, over 100 children of the same orphanage brought out a procession demanding justice for the girl. ADM Hafiz assured them that lawful actions would be taken in this regard.
Md Mostafizur Rahman, officer-in-charge of Patuakhali Police Station, said steps would be taken after investigation, adding that they will also investigate the allegations against the orphanage of confining the victim after she was raped. If the claims are true, necessary steps will be taken against them.
However, orphanage authorities denied the allegation, saying she was kept in the room due to her injury from the fall.
The nine-year-old had been living at the orphanage for about three years after her mother married another man following her father's death, her grandmother said.