Bangladesh man 'admits' cutting off wife's fingers

Hawa Akther Jui recovering from the attack Ms Akther hopes to continue her studies using her left hand to hold a pen

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Human rights groups in Bangladesh have demanded a severe punishment for the husband of a young woman who allegedly cut off most of her right hand.

Police say Rafiqul Islam, 30, attacked her because she pursued higher education without his permission.

They say Mr Islam, a migrant worker, admitted to the crime shortly after returning home from the Gulf.

However there has been no independent confirmation from the suspect that he carried out the attack.

The incident is one of a number of acts of domestic violence targeting educated women in recent months.

Police say that Mr Islam, who works in the United Arab Emirates, tied up his 21-year-old wife, Hawa Akther Jui, earlier this month. He then taped her mouth and cut off the five fingers.

'Severe consequences'

Doctors say the fingers cannot be re-attached and it appears that Ms Akther will have to live with permanent disfigurement.

Rafiqul Islam Rafiqul Islam is reported to have confessed to the crime

"After he came back to Bangladesh, he wanted to have a discussion with me. Suddenly, he blindfolded me and tied my hand," Ms Akther told the BBC from the town of Narsingdi.

"He also taped my mouth saying that he would give me some surprise gifts. But, instead he cut off my fingers."

She said her husband, who is not well educated, did not approve of her enrolling in a college for higher studies.

During their earlier telephone conversations, she said, he warned her of "severe consequences" if she went against his word.

"Doctors said my fingers could be re-attached within six hours but he refused to give them. After that time, another relative of my husband threw the fingers in a dustbin.

"We finally recovered them but it was too late," said Ms Akther, who is still recovering at her parents' house.

She said that she did not want to live with her husband - who is now in police custody - any more.

The police officer investigating the case, ARM Al-Mamun, said "preliminary investigations" had led police to believe that it was a "pre-planned attack".

"He [the husband] admitted to cutting off his wife's fingers. We will be pressing charges against him," Mr Al-Mamum said.

A family member of Mr Islam said that the couple had "differences" on some issues, including her decision to pursue higher studies.

Ms Akther - who is eager to continue her studies - said that she wanted her husband to be severely punished for the attack.

"I have now started practising writing with my left hand. I want to see how far I can go. I never imagined that my fingers would be chopped off like this because of my studies."

The attack follows an incident in June in which a university lecturer lost one eye while the other was badly wounded in an attack allegedly carried out by her husband.

The accused man in this case, Syeed Hasan Sumon, died in custody earlier this month while awaiting trial.

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