Teen gangs blessed with political brothers are courageous enough against law enforcers

16 November 2020

FROM petty crimes to murder, stalking to rape, mugging to drug abuse -- teen gangs have been making headlines again for the last few months. These gangs are often backed by a section of ruling party leaders, who act as the influential "elder brothers". Most of the gang members trade and abuse drugs, while some have illegal firearms and local weapons to show-off their strength. The gangs often engage in turf-war over trifles.
Over a dozen people have reportedly been killed in the last four months by juvenile suspects. Criminologists fear that it will be difficult to rehabilitate the gang members to normal life. In a monthly crime review meeting on October 18, Dhaka Metropolitan Police Commissioner Md Shafiqul Islam asked police to be vigilant against teen gangs in Dhaka. The Commissioner asked the DMP's crimes unit to handle the issue with caution and urged beat policemen to identify the gangs and keep them under watch. He also said there should be temporary checkposts across Dhaka to combat gang activities.
Law enforcers say there are over 40 teen gangs with about 15-20 members in each. The notorious Nayan Bond's 007 group in Barguna, which killed Rifat Sharif in broad daylight last year, is a glaring example of the youth gang culture. The gang was reportedly backed by the son of a top local Awami League leader. The gang-rape in Noakhali's Begumganj that shocked the nation recently was committed by a youth gang named Delwar Bahini. In Begumganj alone, at least two dozen such gangs operate with blessings from some ruling party leaders, according to reports.
Meanwhile Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal said they didn't know whether the teenage gangs were being sheltered by any political groups --- despite all the information to the contrary, that they are in effect sheltered by local political elite-as seen by the two cases highlighted above.
It is impossible to believe that the police can't stop such gangs --- if they can stop the radical terror groups dead in their tracks then it is a simple matter for them to stop such teenage gangs. The main problem here is that they lack political will to do so. As long as political parties will use the need for the youth to hide their inadequacies by giving them a sense of power thru political patronage this situation will continue. The need for power brings with it the illusion that the youth who belong to a 'group' are above the law --- especially if they are sheltered politically. This must stop.

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