Survivor still awaiting justice

Case Story – Tania Zaman 

Date of incident: 17th Aug 2020

Name: Tania Zaman   || Age: 26       || Place: Narail

26-years-old Tania lived harmoniously with her husband in Jessore and helped him in his business. She saved up to do something of her own one day. A year before the incident, Jewel, their neighbor, borrowed more than BDT 150K from Tania for doing business. He promised to repay the money in 3 months with interest. According to Tania, when asked to repay the following year, Jewel initially made excuses and then later threatened to kill her with acid.

Following the threat, Tania lodged a general diary (GD) in Narail Sadar police station. Quickly after, Jewel offered a village arbitration meeting (Shalish) to resolve the matter. Tania therefore made her way to her father’s place to meet Jewel but later made her way to her uncle’s place at night to see the GD copy first. As per Tania’s claims, it was during this time that Jewel and his accomplice Wahidur threw acid on her.

Tania was rushed to the Narail Sadar Hospital, where she was referred to Khulna Medical College & Hospital due to her debilitation condition. Later, ASF offered her outdoor treatment, legal counseling, assisted her family with cash, and referred her to the Sheikh Hasina Burn Institute for better treatment.

“The medical report contains incorrect information. I did not receive a clearance certificate at the end of my treatment. I had to request for a copy myself later”, lamented Tania. She further claimed that the information given in the final report were false and misinterpreted and so was the evidence collected from the crime scene on the basis of a forensic report which said that she poured acid on her body herself.

Meanwhile, Tania’s husband stopped communicating with her due to her in-laws’ influence and pressure from their local influential people. But Tania was headstrong on seeing her case through. She filed a Naraji petition in court and as the date of hearing pended, she fled from her hometown to Dhaka for her safety. There she first went to the Ministry of Home Affairs and later to the Prime Minister’s Office to drop applications demanding a re-investigation.

Over a year since the incident and Tania is still battling for justice. Her body still healing and her past yet to find closure. Tania believes there is light at the end of the tunnel. The journey of a legal battle in Bangladesh is often long and arduous, with justice unguaranteed. Justice unserved to survivors is an event of retraumatization for survivors. And justice taken too long to serve is justice unserved.

We, at ASF, stand in solidarity with Tania and have our doors open to survivors like her spanned across the country seeking legal advice and a chance to connect with panel lawyers.