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    Volume 8 Issue 92 | October 30, 2009 |

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Just like in the Movies

Aasha Mehreen Amin

Crimes in Bangladesh are becoming so complex and gory that they could easily provide enough fodder for filmmakers to make scintillating thrillers. The variety of crimes and the conspiracies behind them give places like Bogota, Caracas and Capetown that have a monopoly over gruesome murders and other kinds of violence, a bad name.

We have for the first time our very own Jack the Ripper in Rasu Kha who systematically raped and killed garment workers as a revenge for the woman who had rejected him many years ago and got him beaten up by her associates. His killing spree, however, did not hamper him from marrying and leading a fairly happy life with his wife and children.

Then you have the intricate conspiracies revealed by recent newspaper reports (The Daily Star, October 27, 2009) of how ministers and his cronies, along with a few extremists got together to carry out a complicated conspiracy to assassinate the leader of the opposition, a gory massacre on August 21 that left about 23 people dead and hundreds others maimed for life. The strange cover-ups and misdirected investigations, false witnesses and kickbacks to various stakeholders in the conspiracy reveal the ingenuity of evil minds working together.

But coming to recent crimes, some of the most bizarre ones are carried out by medical professionals, yes people at whose hands we place our very lives. We have Idris Mia whose stomach continued to ache monstrously after an operation but it wasn't the usual pain of surgery, the sleepy (either that or completely drunk) doctor had 'accidentally' left the scalpel inside Idris's stomach and then sewed him up. This is of course not such a novelty but it never fails to shock. Many other cases such as removing the good kidney instead of the bad one, leaving needles, scissors perhaps a (‘paper clip’) or two inside the patients, leaving dead patients in the ICU and pretending they were alive to the relatives, killing children because of wrong treatment and so on. The stories are disturbing and frequent, we could have our own Grim Anatomy TV series.

Perhaps more unique to our country is the phenomenon of violence on campus, something that has never been so prominent in any other part of the world. In Bangladesh we have the concept of 'student cadres' who are the apprentice mafia in school, practising a bit of gun-toting, chapati weilding and terrorising rivals off the campus. The main activities of these 'student activists' is to capture the main halls, look frightful and then make sure all contracts pertaining to construction within the campus goes to them. Sometimes these gangs fight within themselves which may end up in a murder or two plus numerous injuries and damage to property. Non-political students are the extras in the movie script who scurry to and fro when the thugs dressed up as students go on their rampage. Suggested title of the film: 'Tender is the Fight'.

Mafioso crime of course, has been a favourite theme for many films and we have plenty of real life Al Capones right here in Dhaka. They may not be that suave but they can afford Armani suits and they use the dirtiest tricks in the book to make money: murder, arson, landgrabbing, distributing pamphlets to malign people they don't like, bribing officials to cover up their crimes, the list is endless.

This is not trivial stuff. It is nothing like a 16-year-old throwing an inflatable ball into the pitch at a football match that earned him death threats and confined him to the house for a few days as he had sort of botched up the chances of Liverpool's winning the Premier League title as the goal keeper (understandably) went for the wrong ball, although that could make for a comedy-thriller. We have serious crime going on here. Filmmakers out there do take notice. You have ready-made, original plots just waiting to be picked up.


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