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Teenage groups now under police surveillance

Gangsterism in Uttara a serious concern

By Special Correspondent
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Teenage gangs in Uttara are increasingly becoming embroiled in criminal activities causing serious concern to the local communities.

Being composed mainly of 15-30 members between the ages of 12 and 24, these gangs are involved in using and selling illegal drugs, killings, stalking girls, vandalism and theft.

Most of the gang members from well-off families are school, college and private varsity dropouts and some of them are studying in some well-known schools in the area.

Having leadership hierarchy, they formed organisation structure through social media and sharing gang names and symbols so that all gang members can be protected from other local gangs while committing a crime.

Over 20 such gangs are active in Uttara, according to locals and law enforcers.

The gangs include Disco Boys, Nine Star, Nine MM, Kata Babu, Titan, Seven Star, Eight Star, Tala Chabi, Big Boss, Bouncer, Molla, Viper, Psycho, Pulser, and Black Garo.

These gang members often move in motorbikes at high speed and honk in Uttara Avenues and clash with other group members to show off their existence and strength, said the locals.

 "The gangsters are committing various crimes in broad-day-light, but police turning blind eyes to them causing serious nuisance in the society," Monir Hossain, a businessman at Uttara's Sector-4, told The New Nation yesterday.

He said, in many cases, they assault anyone who refuses to show them respect. Even they use to tease school girls no matter their parents with them.  

 "Their criminal activity is not only negatively affecting all of our lives, but also impacting their family, friends and community, and place an enormous burden on the society," said Monir Hossain.

Their rude behaviours resulted in the murder of Adnan Kabir, a ninth grader, on January 6 in Uttara.

Adnan was beaten to death by rival gang members belonging to the Disco Boys.

Locals and police said the two gangs were formed following a school-time enmity between their leaders Shetu and Raju. Shetu, a petty criminal from Dakshin Khan area, leads Disco Boys while Raju heads Nine Star.

Adnan was a member of the Nine Star gang.

Police later arrested Mehrab Hossain, one of the main accused in the murder case.

 "The teenage gangs are now under police vigilance. We have already arrested at least 12 members of such groups," Ali Hossain Khan, Officer-In-Charge (OC) of Uttara West Police Station, told The New Nation on Thursday.

He said, "Surveillance has been increased in Uttara to contain crimes by the teenaged gangs. We are also working for a community based solution over the issue." 

 "Teenage gang members in Uttara are now seems to be involved in small crimes. Such crimes may lead to more serious crimes. So, they should be halted as soon as possible," Zia Rahman, Chairman of Criminology Department at Dhaka University, told The New Nation yesterday.

He said acts of crime can affect their entire future. The best way to keep their future as bright as possible is to steer clear of criminal activity. They should be involved in healthy activities, such as sports, clubs or volunteer activities to help them stay out of trouble and safe from crime.

 "The respective families should look into the issue carefully to keep their children from juvenile crime," he said, adding, "Social and community awareness programmes are also necessary to stop such crime."
When asked, Dr Zia Rahman said, the relationship between drugs and crime is complex. An intense use of drugs can lead teens to criminal activities like violence, rape, killing and vandalism.

 "So, sale of illegal drugs must be stopped there. The law-enforcing agencies should take stringent measures in this regard," he added.

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