Remember schoolboy Adnan Kabir?
The 14-year-old was murdered over an enmity between two teen gangs in Uttara on January 6.
Since then, at least five other teenagers lost their lives in the capital apparently owing to the deadly gang culture where fighting for drawing “respect” from others and establishing supremacy in local areas is common.
Two of the killings took place last week. Nineteen-year-old tailor Kabir Hossain was murdered on Tuesday while 16-year-old small trader Mohammad Shahin on Thursday.
Kabir was beaten and stabbed to death in Uttar Pirerbagh area of Mirpur.
Police said four youths from his rival group, including one Bappy and his younger brother Munna, swooped on him with sticks and sharp weapons the moment he came out of his home around 6:10am.
Some CCTV cameras installed in nearby buildings captured the incident. The “killing mission” was completed in just three minutes, said Nazrul Islam, officer-in-charge of Mirpur Police Station.
He termed the murder an act of revenge.
The OC said just two days before the incident, Bappy and his father Fazlul Haque were brutally beaten up allegedly by Kabir and his gang members in the same area.
The father and the son were admitted to Suhrawardy Medical College Hospital. They had 27 and six stitches respectively.
Later, Bappy, aged around 22, sneaked out of the hospital and attacked Kabir, said the OC.
Locals said Kabir and Bappy belonged to two feuding gangs that frequently roamed the area to establish supremacy.
Kabir and his cohorts had attacked Bappy over the “senior-junior respect issue”, they said, adding Fazlul was beaten up as he tried to save his son.
Police said the gang members were into drugs, including yaba and pot.
After the killing, Kabir's mother filed a case with the local police station against seven youths, including the four attackers.
Police were trying to arrest the culprits, said OC Nazrul.
The other victim, Shahin, was stabbed in Darussalam's Tolerbagh area around 10:00pm on Thursday, hours after his group had a scuffle with another during a neighbourhood football match.
“The scuffle broke out over younger boys not respecting their seniors and it seems the boy was killed as a consequence of the fight at the playground,” Selimuzzaman, officer-in-charge of Darussalam Police Station, said.
The OC said they arrested an 18 year old on Friday in this connection. The arrestee said his friend Quraesh stabbed Shahin for not respecting him.
Earlier, Abdul Aziz, 16, was killed in East Tejkunipara area on January 18 while Sajal Hossain, 15, in Adabor on July 2 and Mofazzal Hossain, 16, in Mohammadpur on August 14.
Dhaka's teen gang culture first hit the headlines after Adnan Kabir was beaten to death in Uttara.
Days after the incident, police said, the boy had left teen gang Disco Boys and was seen with the members of rival Nine Star gang.
At that time, there were some two dozen such gangs in Uttara. They fought each other with hockey sticks, cricket stumps and knives.
To show off strength, gang members often rode motorbikes recklessly and honked needlessly, painted graffiti and clashed with other group members, said police and locals.
According to locals, some other gangs in Uttara included Chhoton Group, Power Boys, Nafiz Don, Big Boss, Dark Shadow, Red Light, Dada Boyz, Dazzling Spirit, DSB, F.C R.TR, 15 Club, PL Rakib, Saiko Ridoy, Dare Devil, Gongzilla, HNY and Dark Souls.
However, when the shocking news of the marauding teen gangs emerged, their parents were astonished.
UTTARA GANGS REORGANISING
The gangs in Uttara had remained inactive since an investigation was opened into the Adnan killing case.
With prime accused Naimur Rahman Anik, 19, still on the run, law enforcers arrested 23 teenagers and youths in the case. Many of the arrestees gave confessional statements before magistrates.
However, some of them came out of jail on bail recently and were trying to gear up for face-offs, said police.
Some gangs threatened each other on Facebook.
For example, Disco Boys which allegedly killed Adnan uploaded a Facebook post on August 18, saying “Uttara belong to us”.
In another post on its Facebook page on August 6, the gang alleged that its rival Nine Star was led by petty criminal Talachabi Raju who is involved in theft, robbery, drug dealing and stalking girls.
In reply, Nine Star also uploaded a post on its FB page, accusing the Disco Boys members of committing the same crimes.
Visiting Uttara and its neighbourhoods last week, these correspondents saw the graffiti galore on several walls.
Many of the graffiti appeared to be of one “Nafiz Don”, an accused in Adnan killing case.
He was arrested but came out of jail on bail recently.
Police said Nafiz had allegedly beaten up many people in the past.
However, the youth recently posted a video on YouTube and claimed that he had no hand in the graffitis. In that video, he said those were done by his “younger brothers”.
Police claimed that the Uttara gangs were not as active as before but the rivalry between them was still a concern.
“Whenever we see eight to 10 boys together and find something suspicious, we take them to the police station for questioning. We hand them to their parents only after getting written statements,” Ali Hossain Khan, OC of Uttara West Police Station, said.
“Police alone cannot stop them. Parents have to be alert as well,” he added.
Talking about the investigation into the Adnan murder case, the police official said they would submit the charge sheet soon.
Another police official said the law enforcers did not file the charge sheet as they were trying to arrest prime suspect Anik.