Rab arrest reveals horror
Rapid Action Battalion on Tuesday night arrested an alleged member of a gang that abducts and maims children, and then forces them into begging on streets or prostitution, just to take away the money from them.
Shariful Islam alias Korban was arrested from Uttara of the capital.
Earlier, he was accused in a case in connection with chopping off a young boy's penis on September 6 in Kamrangirchar, but was not arrested, as he was absconding.
At a media briefing yesterday, held at the Rab headquarters in Uttara, Rab Legal and Media Wing Director Commander M Sohail said the gang led by one Omar Faruk of the city's Kamrangirchar is involved in kidnapping and maiming children of low income group families, then they use those children to earn money through making them beg on city streets.
"The gang members also abduct and rape young girls in Kamrangirchar area, then they use the girls for prostitution to earn money," Sohail added.
Detained Korban, who was produced at the media briefing, said the gang abducted many children. A hand of one such child named Sharif was chopped off, and then he was used for begging. Sharif, who is only 15 years old, came from Khulna to the city in 2004.
In another incident, the gang kept an eight-year old child from Jessore stuffed in a large aluminium pot for six months, to cripple the boy, and then used him for begging.
The gang also abducted a number of girls, who they used for forced sex trade, said Korban.
Rab Intelligence Wing Director Lt Col Ziaul Ahsan, who led the arrest, told The Daily Star last night that they arrested Korban following a news report aired by a private television channel in association with two human rights organisations -- Bangladesh Human Rights Foundation, and Black Truth Productions Centre.
Ziaul Ahsan said gang leader Faruk, and members Korban, Ramjan, Russel, and Saddam chopped off the penis of seven-year old boy Neyamul, son of a rickshaw-puller Umed Ali of Ashrafabad in Kamrangirchar. Rab is trying to arrest the other members of the gang as well, he added saying, Korban, Ramjan, and Russel are brothers.
Bangladesh Human Rights Foundation Chairman Elina Khan told The Daily Star yesterday that when Neyamul's father tried to file a case with Kamrangirchar Police Station after his son's maiming, police watered down the case by recording that the incident had been a result of a feud among peers, all of whom are neighbours.
"As police were helping the criminals instead of the victim's family, we filed a separate case with a court, and following the second case, Rab arrested a gang member," Elina said.
Kamrangirchar Police Station Officer-in-charge (OC) Md Shafiqul Islam however rebutted Elina's allegations, and also differed with the statement of Rab officials.
"According to our investigation, two other children -- Imran and Russel -- had cut the penis of Neyamul," the OC said adding, "All three children are neighbours, and the incident took place following a feud among them."
Asked about Korban's involvement in the gang of child abductors, the OC said, "We are not aware of such allegation against Korban and his peers. Rab would be able to give you more authentic information as they arrested Korban. If he is handed over to us, we will verify the allegation."