A teenage girl has been ostracized in Lalmonirhat, Bangladesh, through a fatwa for her pregnancy after she was lured into a physical relationship with an adult with the promise of marriage.
The father of the 13-year-old girl filed a case with Aditmari Police Station on January 12, accusing Rezaul Islam, of Vatapara village, of developing illicit relations with the girl through deception.
Five days after the filing of the case, the imam of Vatapara Jame Masjid, Fazlul Haque, imposed the fatwa on the nine-month-pregnant girl and her family, forbidding villagers to engage in any form of interaction with them.
But neither the villagers took any action against Rezaul, 19, nor did police arrest him.
"I loved Rezaul. He said he would marry me and I believed him," the girl, who had just completed the fifth grade, told The Daily Star.
Since the victim was below 18, police filed a rape case, said Sub-inspector Aminul Islam, investigation officer of the case.
Asked about the fatwa, the imam attempted to justify what he had done by saying that the girl brought false accusations against Rezaul.
"The family did not disclose details of the rape to the villagers when it happened. They lodged the case when the girl's pregnancy reached an advanced stage, which was not possible to hide, and put the blame on Rezaul," Fazlul Haque said.
However, the victim's mother said they had been trying to persuade Rezaul to keep his promise and marry the girl. The family approached the police as a last resort.
The rapist had reportedly demanded 27 decimals of land as dowry. The victim's family offered him 14 decimals of land that they could afford but he rejected the proposal.
Against such a backdrop, the girl herself went to Rezaul's house on January 1 and pleaded with him to marry her. She was beaten up by Rezaul's elder brother Mizanur and brother-in-law Fazlu and kicked out of the house.
In the case statement, the girl's father accused Mizanur and Fazlu of beating up her daughter.
Neither of Mizanur, Fazlu and Rezaul has been arrested although they are seen roaming around the area.
Local people said they had seen Rezaul offer prayers at the mosque on the day the fatwa was issued.
SI Aminul refuted the claim and said the accused were on the run.
Police raided the village in Durgapur union of Aditmari upazila yesterday evening and arrested the imam for issuing the fatwa. They also arrested a village leader, Muzibur Rahman.