Adnan, member of the gang 'Nine Star' and a Uttara resident, was hacked to death by the members of his rival group 'Disco Boys' in the area on January 6 that year
After the murder of a teenage gang member Adnan Kabir in early 2017, and after the gang culture made headlines at that time, a crackdown was launched by the law enforcers on such groups who engaged in different criminal activities across Dhaka city.
Adnan, member of the gang "Nine Star" and a Uttara resident, was hacked to death by the members of his rival group "Disco Boys" in the area on January 6 that year.
The clampdown of law enforcers caused the crime rings to go into hiding, and no such crime was reported for quite some time. However, in the course of time, they started reorganising, and are seen committing offences for the last few months.
They have been brawling among themselves, as well as with rival groups over establishing supremacy in respective areas, pushing up crimes like murder significantly.
On March 15, fifteen-year-old Arif Hossain was stabbed to death on the footpath near Dhaka University’s Curzon Hall.
Sub-Inspector (SI) Manjur Hossain of Shahbagh police station, and also the investigation officer of the case said six persons, aged between 12 to 15, brutally stabbed him.
Four of the arrestees confessed to the crime, Majnur said, adding that the suspects are members of the gang reportedly called ‘Mafia'.
The group has 12 members who are active in Ramna Park, Suhrawardy Udyan, High Court shrine, Doyel Chattar, and Chankharpul areas, the SI added.
More shockingly, the trend of gang culture is also reported outside Dhaka, where criminal acts are spreading fast.
Criminology experts blame access to money, unrestricted access to the internet and social media, and the scope to roam free are the main causes behind the proliferation of such criminal activities among the teens.
According to police and locals, at least 50 groups are operating in the capital city. The gang members are involved in several types of crimes, ranging from mugging, stalking, hijacking, extortion, drug trading, abuse, and so on.
Sometimes, they engage in killing, being hired by other criminals. In Turag area, teenage group "Talachabi" is run by at least 15 people. Several groups including "Power Boys", "Disco Boys", "Big Boss", "Nine Star", and "Nine MM Boys" are active in Uttara.
Meanwhile, a group led by two teenagers-Shahin and Ripon--is committing crimes in Dakshinkhan area, Nazimuddin Group in Borobagh area, and Russell-Ujjal Group in Uttarkhan, Shanto-Mehidi group in Atipara, and Solaiman Group in Christianpara.
In Mirpur-12, Bichchhu Bahini has been at the helm of the gang culture. Comprised of some 12 listed criminals, Nayon Group is rampaging in Kafrul's Ibrahimpur area.
Rising trend of gang culture
Previously, Kamrul Hassan Hridoy, an eighth grader, was assassinated over a dispute between two teenage groups in Uttarkhan area on March 21. After the incident, Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) arrested a person in this connection from Gazipur.
RAB-1 ASP Md Kuamruzzaman said the arrestee, during interrogation, admitted to killing Hridoy after the members of his gang 'Big Boss' exchanged heated words with the members of rival 'Kashmiri Group'. At one stage, Hridoy was hacked indiscriminately, leading to his death.
Meanwhile, at least three gangs have been active at the Kalabagan, Aambagan, and Rangamati areas of Jahangirnagar University. The groups consist of students from JU School and College (JUSC).
Among the groups, 'Brotherhood' is active in Ambagan and 'GI Pipe' in Kalabagan area, while the third one is operating anonymously in the Rangamati area.
Over the issue, JUSC Principal Abdul Jalil Bhuiyan said they took the matter seriously.
“Teachers are working in classes so the students do not get involved with the gangs. We even had several meetings with parents, seeking their attention to this end,” the principal said.
Jahangirnagar University Proctor (acting) ASM Firoz Ul Hasan said the university authorities have formed a committee to identify the gang members, and what type of crimes are being committed by them.
“The investigation is in the final stage. If someone is proven guilty, he/she has to face the music,” said the proctor.
Scenario outside Dhaka
Criminal activities committed by teenage gangs are on an upward trend in Chittagong, Comilla, and Sylhet.
Police in mid-May arrested a gang of teenagers, while investigating the mysterious death of a rickshaw-puller in Hazipara area under Double-Mooring police station in the port city.
In Comilla city, some teenage gangs named "Eagle", "Rax", "X CMHS", "LRN", "Modern School-1" and "Modern School-2" are operational in the Nazrul Avenue Road areas.
Aznain Adil, a student who just passed this year’s SSC exam, was hacked to death in Mogholtoli area on May 13. Before that, another eighth grader Montahin Islam Miron also was subjected to a similar murder on April 21.
According to locals, relatives and police, the two deaths resulted from the gang culture.
Some seven to eight gangs have established a reign of horror in Sylhet city’s Upashahar, Tilagarh, Madina Market, Taltola, Tuker Bazar, South Surma, and Biani Bazar. They were also reported to be brandishing firearms.
On the night of March 13, two groups locked into a severe clash in Upashahar area, leaving many injured, spreading panic among locals.
What experts say
Contacted, Dhaka University (DU)’s Social Science Faculty Dean Prof Sadeka Halim said, the vested teenagers are engaged in such crimes mainly due to the arbitrariness in their families.
“The society, school authorities, and the community are failing to offer something constructive for them (causing them to get linked to teenage gangs). So, they want to do something exciting like doing drugs. And from there, they become involved in crime,” she opined.
“They are also learning from crime-related programs,” the professor said, expressing her prediction that the trend may increase further in the future.
DU Professor Sadeka Halim said, proper vigilance from the families, school authorities, communities, and also from political platforms may help control the situation.
Dr Md Ziaur Rahman, chairman of the Department of Criminology at DU, said it is not possible to take full control with arrest or legal action against them.
Building awareness among parents is the key to solving the problem, he said, adding, law enforcement agencies must give counselling to the gang members, and their guardians to help them back to a normal life.
When contacted, Assistant Inspector General (media) Sohel Rana said they are keeping an eye on the gang culture.
“We have already arrested a number of teenage gang members. Efforts are also on to bring them to justice through beat, and community policing,” he concluded.