Gang Culture Need To Address Rightly

19 January 2021 Md. Zillur Rahaman


A few months ago, Yasin Arafat alias Opu Bhai, a Tiktok and Likee celebrity got arrested after alleged that his followers stabbed and beat up three local youths in Uttara. Locals said, this group was patronised by the two brothers, Shakil and Sunny creating terror and involved in various criminal activities in Uttara and Abdullahpur areas in the last couple of years. Initially this experience worried the horror of gangs culture rightly four years back in Bangladesh. Activities of teen gangs in the capital came to limelight after the murder of Adnan Kabir, a teenage gang member, in early 2017. Adnan was a member of the "Nine Star" gang and a resident of Uttara. He was hacked to death by members of his rival group, "Disco Boys", on January 6 in that year.
Thereafter, terror surged quickly after the murder of Chittagong Collegiate School student Adnan Isfar, a 15 year old stabbed to death following dispute over a cricket match. In the same way in Khulna, seventh grader Razin was stabbed to death during a concert at Khulna Public College on January 20, 2018. Later, the nation was stunned to watch the horrific scene of Rifat Sharif being hacked to death in front of his wife at Barguna on June 26, 2019 and a video footage of which went viral in social media. Rifat was killed by a group of youths, some of them teenagers. The group has styled itself after the fictional Hollywood spy, James Bond, and adopted his famous code name, "007".
Presently at least 50-60 gangs are active and visible in Dhaka city, according to law enforcers. Some of them are working in grocery stores, tea shops, various markets and offices after dropping out from schools. They get together and enjoy the leisure time. Each group has different tag marks. The use of special words at the end of the names of some members of the group, the same haircut, the same kind of clothing, the same kind of shoes, tattoos on a particular part of the body. Also, many group members carry knives or blades. These gang members often ride motorbikes in groups recklessly with loud honking and paint graffiti in different walls of their areas. Most of the young gang stars are aged between 14 and 19 and they are involved in various petty crimes like eve-teasing, mugging and drug abuse.
Now gang culture becomes widespread across the country. It has identified widespread after the violent deaths of the above several youths. Criminologist and social researchers are saying that this outbreak is the result of the lack of education on tolerance and empathy in teenagers and this gang culture is not new phenomena, but the gangs acting out so violently to the point of committing murder is an alarming issue.
These teen gangs are mostly engaged in drug abuse, eve-teasing and petty crimes. It has found easier for the teenagers to fall prey to criminal syndicates as the parental control has not been as intense as it used to be in the past. Life is turning busier for people in modern times, and they do not find enough time to spend on their children. It has revealed that there are many such gangs not only in major cities, but also in remote areas.
Gang culture has always been found around the globe. The main cause of this is conflict among the people. Some aspects of crime exist naturally within society; some others arise from poverty and discrimination. A lack of proper moral education, religious belief and practices, social values on tolerance and empathy is a big factor for growing gang culture. It is possible to come out of the crisis if the causes behind the actions can be uprooted and address properly. It needs to keep in mind that children are easily influenced at this age. They will learn the concept of heroism as the elders teach it. Our society is so crime prone that it has lost the rights to give moral teachings to the youth. As a result, what they consider as 'power' is in fact violence.
Breakdown of society and the tendency to go to the centre of power is the main causes behind the gang culture. Political parties actually patronize them and the textbook education is now incomplete and due to this, hatred towards other religions and humiliation of women are increasing alarmingly. And in terms of this, basic social values are declined. Now, as ever, there is a lack of natural entertainment that makes teenagers a gang where they take to anti-social activities. Textbook education is not enough to address the issues, family bondage and positive culture is more important to solve this problem. Building awareness among social leaders as well as parents is also the key to solving the problem.

(Mr. Rahaman is a banker and freelance contributor. Email: zrbbbp@gmail.com)

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