Alarming rise in child abduction, killing

ABDUCTION and killing of children for ransom or over enmities alarmingly continue in different parts of the country. The latest victims of the horrific crimes are four children of a village at Bahubal in Habiganj, three of whom were cousins. According to a New Age report on Thursday, the boys went missing on Friday afternoon while they were playing in a nearby ground and were found dead covered with sand pile on a river bank near the village on Wednesday. Apparently killed by strangulation, they, according to the local union council chairman, fell victim to an enmity over different issues, including establishing supremacy in the village. Just a few days ago, a minor boy was abducted from Keraniganj in Dhaka for ransom, who had been found dead even after his parents paid a portion of the ransom that was demanded. In line with Bangladesh Shishu Adhikar Forum, a children rights group, a whopping 1,085 children were killed in the past four years, a significant number of whom became victims of kidnapping. Children also fell victim to rape and various forms of brutal torture in the period. One can refer in this connection to the February 13 torture of two teenagers in Rajshahi on suspicion of stealing a mobile.
After the appalling murders of Rajon in Sylhet and Rakib in Khulna that took place about six months ago, there were huge public outrage against the incidents all over the country. This was, perhaps, why the perpetrators were handed down various types of punishments, including death sentence, through speedy trials. Regrettably, however, all this evidently failed to rein in the horrendous crimes. There are reasons to believe that the overall failure of law enforcement agencies, including the police, to deal with crimes, petty and serious, which has led to a decline in law and order in the country in the past few years, regardless of the unfortunate state of denial of the home minister in this regard, has contributed a lot to the situation. More importantly, the failure, if not unwillingness, of the government to clear the allegations against law enforcers of perpetrating a number of incidents of enforced disappearance in the period may have emboldened criminals to increasingly engage in child abduction and killing. Meanwhile, public protests and anger as seen against the Rajon and Rakib murders have largely been absent in the subsequent incidents of monstrosity against children. This is definitely an ominous sign of dehumanisation that society has already undergone.
It is high time that law enforcement agencies were streamlined to address the menace effectively. Also, it is time for conscious sections of society, including different rights groups, to organise sustained protests against crimes, in general, and those against children, be it abduction, killing or inhuman torture, in particular. The government needs to realise that any further failure to prevent crimes may lead society into utter lawlessness.

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