THE murder of a mother and daughter in Chittagong, the murder of Rinvi, a brilliant student in Narsingdi by her spurned suitor Al-Amin, the killing of a college teacher in Cox's bazaar, and businessman in Sylhet in recent time and a host of other ghastly murders, robbery and rape incidents in different parts of the country indicates an alarming trend of violence stalking the nation. Even minor children are not spared. In Chittagong, four children were killed along with their mothers during the last one year because the perpetrators feared that they might have recognized them and reveal their identity to the police, if they were kept alive.
An inevitable crisis resulting from greed, jealousy, restlessness, the devilish nature of politics and deteriorating moral standards of all sections of the populace, are reasons behind this terrifying trend. Youngsters, mostly dropouts from schools and having no work or business to do, are out on the streets with guns and daggers or acid bottles with such devilish intentions. The apathy of the society to this escalating crisis and failure of the state to address this problem is most appalling. The menacing trend of the social disorder, and killing of neighbour's minor child or a business friend on the flimsiest pretext either for money or grabbing business or political rivalry are the deadliest urban upheavals in the country.
With each day bringing more incidents of heinous murder, rape, torture, extortion and robbery to light, the list could be dauntingly endless. In the morning of May 9, we learnt of the shocking incident: Babita (21), a just married girl in Lohagara upazila of Narail district was tied to a tree and beaten mercilessly by her husband Shafiqul, now working in the Sylhet Bangladesh Army Regiment and seven others of his relatives. The incident that took place on April 30 was hushed up because of the influence of village 'matobbars' and came to light through a Facebook exposition. The local police station did not initially record the complaint lodged by the victim's relations and took up the diary after the incident created resentment in the village through publicity on the social media. The High Court in the meantime on a writ petition filed by Advocate Manzil Murshid on behalf of Human Rights, and Peace for Bangladesh has directed the local administration and police to arrest the attackers within 48 hours and submit a report by May18 informing the steps taken in this regard. What is most unfortunate is that every time such barbaric incidents take place, the apex court of the country has to clamp down on the recalcitrant law enforcement agency in the country for proper handling of such issues. Reports of such macabre crimes are not only ominous but a chilling symbol of the breakdown of our moral fabric and social values. Shockingly, women in the age group of 16-30 are living under constant threat to their lives and in several cases, wary of humiliation, they have chosen to end their lives. According to a report published in a Bangla daily on May 11, unable to bear the humiliating teasing and comments day in and day out by Shaon, a hoodlum and son of Motaleb Howladar of the same village, Sathi Akter (14), a class nine student of Charmuguria girls' high school, ended her life by swallowing pesticide. It is hard to comprehend the violence - the anger, jealousy, and plain sadism that can drive these derailed youths to commit acts of unimaginable horror. How, for instance, are we to understand the evil spite of Rathin (23), of a Gopalganj village, who crept into the bamboo hut of a college girl in the same locality in the middle of the night, poured concentrated sulfuric acid on her face and neck and walked away as she woke up screaming—all because she refused to marry him?
Unhappily, as the government has started its journey toward building a democratic governance, it continues to face the most harrowing time with so many criminal actions jeopardising governance and development initiatives. The government would possibly admit that the track record of the law enforcement agencies is not anything inspiring. It is not enough that policy directives are framed, it is important that these are implemented and complied with by those in charge of police administration without malice, fear or favour, and of necessity without delay.
In fact, gruesome incidents of violence, murder, rape, and abduction have started to stalk the country in a manner that nobody could comprehend. On May 7, extortionists shot a teacher of Sher-e-Bangla agricultural university in Mohammmadpur at 11 am in the city and decamped with 7 lakh 80 thousand taka he was carrying in a bag to deposit in a bank.
Things have gone so wrong in the country because the governments all along did not understand the meaning of governance. The country had become a “soft” state revealing itself to be completely incapable of fighting the forces of violence and terror. True, the patronage of criminals by politicians in the past and a demoralised police force pushed up the crime graph in the country. Very often and on too many occasions, the question of cadre politics, partisan interest have hamstrung police investigation and the judicial process. On the other hand, we have till now a justice system so flawed that we have yet to bring to justice those who committed crimes years before. Unhappily, the release of the hardened criminals after a protracted trial because of the loopholes in the FIR or GD entry so emboldens them that they dare to threaten the relatives of victims with dire consequences should they proceed with the trial.
The writer is a columnist of The Daily Star.
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