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Teen gangs grow dreadful

Published : 13 Feb 2024 10:33 PM | Updated : 13 Feb 2024 10:37 PM

The teen gang culture across the country, particularly in Dhaka, has taken a dire shape as the gangsters get involved in various crimes, including robbery, murder, rape and drug trade.

These teen gangs are not only imposing threats to the law and order of the country but also destroying the usual norms of our society.

Such gangs are active in almost all residential areas in the capital, causing concern for people as well as law enforcement agencies.

The unstoppable teen gangs are now even more reckless. A youth was killed and another injured as two teen gang members clashed in Jatrabari recently.

According to the information of RAB and police, not only in Jatrabari, but many such criminal gangs have been formed with delinquent teenagers in different areas of the capital. 

According to the police and Rapid Action Battalion, over 50 teen gangs are currently active in the capital. Disco Boys, Youngster Group, Big boss, Power Boys, Bichchhu Bahini, Don Group, Munna Group, Black Cobra and Nine Star are some of the gangs to be named.

The gangs, each usually having 10-15 members, are involved in trading in drugs apart from being addicted to it.

Some members even carry illegal firearms and homemade weapons that they use in their turf wars. Taking control of an area of operation is the main reason for the fights. They drive motorcycles recklessly, honk needlessly and use filthy language.

The teenage gangs are sometimes used by political parties to settle their own scores with their political rivals.

It was also alleged that the teenage gangs earn money from drug trading as well as committing petty crimes such as robbing pedestrians.

Experts have blamed the weakening role of the family, lack of moral lessons at home and school, absence of recreational activities and both social and cultural degradation for the involvement of teenagers in criminal activities.

On February 7, a youth was killed and another injured as two teen gangs clashed in Jatrabari.

The deceased was one Md Jamal, 18, a welder, said Inspector Bachchu Mia, in-charge of Dhaka Medical College Hospital police outpost.

Another person from a rival gang, Amir Hussain, 19, was admitted to DMCH with three stab wounds on his back.

Bachchu Mia, quoting Jamal’s accomplice Asaduzzaman, said a fight broke out between the two groups in front of Kutubkhali High School over ‘juniors’ smoking cigarettes in front of ‘seniors’.

During the clash, Jamal was stabbed multiple times in his abdomen and back.

When brought to the hospital around 9:15pm, doctors declared Jamal dead, said the police official.

When asked about the fight between the youth gangs in the Jatrabari area, Inspector (Investigation) of Jatrabari Police Station Azharul Islam said, “We are in extreme trouble with them. They are getting into fights every day for trivial reasons, and mainly to establish supremacy in the areas.”

“Many teens have been arrested and released to their parents with a bond not to engage in criminal activities. But even in this, they are not coming under control,” he added.

On January 16, a teenager was killed and two others were injured in a clash between two groups in Dhaka’s Keraniganj area following a brawl over playing badminton.

According to RAB sources, the local leaders and activists of the ruling party are behind the formation of most of the teen gangs. Teen gang members commit various criminal acts by asserting their presence or influence in the area. 

For example, playing loud music, riding motorcycles at reckless speed, harassing pedestrians and teenagers and committing major crimes by attacking common people over trivial incidents.

Commander Khandaker Al Moin, director (Legal and Media Wing) of the RAB headquarters, said “Society, families and educational institutions all have responsibility to keep the children away from criminal activities.”

He also said, “We need to keep track of where our children go, who they associate with and what they do and everyone must work together to combat the problem.”

According to the Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) list, there are 52 teen gangs in the capital. The number of members of these gangs is around 692 in 35 police station areas under eight crime divisions of DMP.

Recent analysis of the incidents of murders by teen gangs, revealed that local ‘big brothers’ control teen gangs in different areas and even commit murders. Police found the involvement of teen gang members in a recent murder case in Tejgaon.

According to law enforcement sources, not only in Dhaka, but in the entire country, the crimes by teen gangs have taken a terrible shape. Their crime patterns are also changing. At least 27 people have been killed by teen criminals in Dhaka in the last one year.

According to a recent report by an intelligence agency, teen gangs are most active in Dhaka. Out of 173 teen gangs across the country, 123 are in the Dhaka-Chattogram metropolises.

Police and RAB officials said that most of the leaders or members of these criminal gangs are separated from their families. Most of them live in slum areas. However, many school-college students also get involved in these circles.

Mirpur division has the highest number of teen gangs among the eight crime divisions of DMP. Around 172 members of 13 teen gangs are active in this division in the police list. 

RAB made a list of the arrested teen gang members. According to the list, RAB arrested 349 teen gang members in RAB operations last year. RAB arrested 1,126 youth gang members from 2017 to 2023.

Dr Tawohidul Haque, Associate Professor of the Institute of Social Welfare and Research at the University of Dhaka, stressed the need for social and family-based counselling.

He said that the surge in crimes committed by these unscrupulous teenagers in educational institutions calls for better monitoring and intervention.