Dhaka: The acting mayor of a town in Bangladesh who raped his minor maid servant has got away by paying a fine of Taka 40,000 (USD 575) fixed by influential village elders.
No police case has been registered and the police chief says he has `heard` of a "Salish court" settling the case.
"Salish courts" are a traditional arrangement whose jurisdiction in settling minor crime was recognised through two ordinances issued in 1976 and 1979. They have often been accused of persecuting women in Bangladesh.
The nine-year-old girl who had been working as a maid for the last two years told the media that she was asked not to report the matter to police and was threatened by Abul Kalam Azad, the civic body chief of Matiranga municipality in Khagrachari district.
Meeting in Adarshgram village, Matiranga Upazila (sub-district) chairman Mohammad Shamsul Hoq, vice chairman Mohammad Delwar Hossein and some other local influential leaders asked Abul Kalam Azad to compensate the victim.
Azad allegedly sexually violated her at his house July 27, The Daily Star said on Monday.
Azad is also vice president of the local unit of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP).
Asked about the Salish court`s verdict, Chairman Mohammad Shamsul Hoq said he has the right to resolve any problem that arises in the area under his jurisdiction.
Officer-in-charge of Matiranga police station Mohammad Abdul Qaium said he had heard about the matter and the Salish, but no one had come to the police station to file a complaint.
The victim, whose father died a few years ago, has worked at the house for the last two years in return for food and boarding only, the newspaper said.