8 Years of Tanu Murder : ‘I no longer seek justice’


UNB, Cumilla :

Eight years have gone by since an assault and subsequent killing of college student Tonu, but her family did not get justice, raising concern over authorities’ utter failure in identifying the culprits. Rather her family has endured immense sufferings and even now sees no hope for justice.
Tonu’s mother, Anwara Begum, has expressed her frustration over hollow promises.
“We are poor. That’s why we failed to get justice for our daughter’s murder. We have struggled immensely to raise her. No one knows the pain we are going through, except Allah.”
“Our daughter lies buried on the college premises. How will we celebrate Eid without her? If justice is not served in this world, we leave it to Allah’s judgment. His judgment is the ultimate,” she said.
Tonu, 19, a second-year history student of Cumilla Victoria College and a member of Victoria College Theatre, was found dead at Cumilla Moynamati Cantonment on March 20, 2016 after she went out.
Tonu’s father, Yar Hossain, said they are planning to commemorate Tonu’s eighth death anniversary by organising prayers and iftar for orphans in two mosques.
Referring to the lack of justice, he said, “I no longer seek justice. What’s the point? The poor never get justice.”
Tonu’s family said, on the evening of March 20 in 2016, she went to tutor a student inside a house in Comilla Cantonment, but never returned home. The next day, her father, who worked as an office assistant at Comilla Cantonment Board, lodged a murder case against unidentified assailants at Kotowali Model Police Station. After initial investigations by the police and the Detective Branch, the case was transferred to the Criminal Investigation Department on April 1, 2016.
The forensic department of Comilla Medical College Hospital conducted post-mortems twice on Tanu’s body but did not provide clear reasons for her death. The final hope rested on the DNA report. In May 2017, the CID informed the media that the DNA test of samples taken from Tanu’s clothes revealed the presence of semen from three men.
The suspects were interrogated by a CID team in Dhaka Cantonment from October 25 to 27, 2017. The responsibility for the case was handed over to the Police Bureau of Investigation in November 2020. A team from the PBI Dhaka began investigations in Comilla Cantonment.
On August 8, 2023, when Tonu’s younger sister, Liza Jahan, was supposed to give her testimony, it was postponed. When Tonu’s parents and siblings, along with Liza Jahan, arrived at the PBI office in Cumilla, they were informed that the investigating officer was ill, and the recording of the testimony had been postponed. Subsequently, the case proceedings were transferred to Dhaka.
The investigating officer of the case, PBI Inspector Majibul Haque, said, “We are interrogating the suspects. We are making every effort to identify the perpetrators.”
Tonu’s father is not convinced.
“They are not interrogating those responsible for my daughter’s murder. If they had done it, the case would have been solved already.”
“Every member of the family, even relatives and teachers, has given testimony. What else is left?”