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25 February, 2020 00:00 00 AM


Teen-gang culture pops up again

Youth hacked to death in capital
Teen-gang culture pops up again

Once again, youth gang culture is spreading across the country and has become a new cause of concern for society. In recent times, a clampdown by law enforcers forced gangs to go into hiding, and no crimes involving them were reported for quite some time. However, in the course of time, they started reorganising and are seen committing crimes for the last few months. On Sunday, a youth was hacked to death in Dhaka’s Hatirjheel area. He was identified as Shipon, a motor workshop mechanic. Police officers said Shipon was a victim of gang culture.

According to the police, Shipon and Manik were riding a motorcycle in the Hatirjheel area when some youths stopped the two and stabbed them. Shipon was declared dead after being taken to hospital. Family members claimed that Shipon

had a feud with another youth gang, the Azad-Sujan group, over fraud in exams. They were involved in fights.

Gang culture in Dhaka first hit the headlines after Class VIII student Adnan Kabir, 14, was beaten to death in the capital’s Uttara in 2017. The murder was an outcome of a conflict between two teenage gangs—‘Disco Boys’ and ‘Nine Star’, RAB and the police said.

The Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) last year detained members of teenage gangs from different parts of the capital. More than 250 teenage gang members, adolescents and young adults, were arrested and sent to juvenile detention facilities and prisons.  

RAB sources told The Independent that the elite force had detained around 400 members of teenage gangs in the last three years. In 2019 alone, they detained 190 of such juvenile delinquents.

The Independent visited different parts of the capital and found out that the gangs frequently fight with hockey sticks, cricket stumps, and sharp knives to show their muscle power, establish supremacy, or draw respect from elders and juniors in the area. To show off their strength, teenage gang members often move on motorbikes and in cars at high speed and honk on the streets even at midnight, creating panic among the common people.

The Independent spoke to people of different areas and learnt that unemployed youths, mostly school and college dropouts, were involved in criminal activities. They fall victims to drug abuse under the influence of miscreants or “big brothers” in their areas who profit by using them.  

Sources in RAB said there are an estimated 50–60 teen-gangs active in Dhaka. Around 8,000 to 10,000 youths and teenagers are believed to have been active members of the youth gangs in the capital. A vast majority of them are between 14/15 and 20/22 years.

Experts said most gang members are from higher and upper middle classes of society. Some of them end up taking drugs and have been involved in various crimes like extortion, mugging, stalking, and so on. Apart from their involvement in crimes, they get locked into clashes over establishing supremacy.

Over time, the teenage gangs have become active in different parts of the city, including Uttara, Abdullahpur, Tongi, Uttarkhan, Hatirjheel, Dakhankhan, Badda, Gulshan, Banani, Khilgaon, Rampura, Dhanmondi, Rayerbazar, Mirpur, Mohammadpur.

DU Social Science Faculty teacher Prof. Sadeka Halim said breakdown of society and the tendency to go to the centre of power were the main reasons behind gang culture. She also said political parties actually patronised them. “Lack of textbook education is spreading hatred towards other religions and humiliation of women. And in terms of this, basic social declines are created,” she added.

RAB magistrate Sarwar Alam told The Independent that the gang concept had been created because of the lack of family bonding, dropping out of schools and colleges, and mixing with bad company. “We are conducting drives against these gangs every day. We hope their influence will be on the wane very soon. But they have to be approached by the families as well, to bring them on the right path again.”

Lt. Col. Mozammel Haque, additional deputy inspector general and commanding officer (CO) of RAB-4, said: “Most of them are involved in gangs with the intention of showing heroism. As they help each other in crisis moments, they think maintaining a gang is a must. The problem can’t be cured only by our efforts. Parents should also come forward.”



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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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