A school principal of an Islamic seminary and 15 others, including students and two local politicians, have been charged for burning alive a Bangladeshi teenaged school girl for reporting sexual harassment.

The death of Nusrat Jahan Rafi, 19, triggered outrage and mass protests in the Muslim-majority country. Rafi died five days after the incident on April 10.

The Deputy Inspector General of the Police Bureau of Investigation, Banaj Kumar Muzumdar, told CNN that the victim had filed a complaint with the local police against the school principal, Siraj ud Doula of the Sonagazi Islamia Senior Fazil Madrasa, and others for sexual harassment.

The incident took place in Feni, a town about 100 miles southeast of the capital, Dhaka.

Muzumdar said Nusrat had revealed in the complaint that the principal was harassing her. “In March, the principal had called her into his office and had reportedly touched her inappropriately.” He said the principal has been arrested.

Reports say that on April 6, Rafi was to sit for her final exams when she was called to the rooftop by one of the accused persons and asked to withdraw the charges.

He explained that Rafi then gagged and restrained by a group of men wearing burqas, who also dozed her with kerosene and set her alight.

crime scene
This is a representational image of a crime-scene tape in Chicago, Illinois, in March 2005. Getty Images/Scott Olson

Nusrat revealed the details of the incident to her brother, Mahmudul Hasan Noman, while they were in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. Reports say she had recorded a video statement on Noman’s mobile phone. She sustained 80 per cent burns to her body.

The police say that the principal is the main accused and orchestrated her murder from inside the prison. “Doula allegedly contacted several people to kill the teenager and instructed perpetrators to make her death look like a suicide,” the deputy inspector general said.

The lead investigator for the Police Bureau of Investigation, Mohammed Iqbal told AFP that they would be seeking nothing less than a death penalty for the guilty. Iqbal confirmed that 12 accused persons have confessed. The two local politicians have denied any role in the murder.

Iqbal said the accused have been charged under the women and children repression law. “We’ll recommend the death penalty for all 16 accused.”