A good number of children were recently kidnapped and later killed. How do you think this inhuman phenomenon could be addressed?

pop01Kidnapping for ransom and related public policy dilemmas have been a subject of debate for decades, but no solution has been reached yet. No policies have ever been formulated to address this inhuman practice in the context of Bangladesh. The recent phenomenon of kidnapping has made us alert about this incident but what measures should be taken? Can these measures be fruitful? I raise this question before giving my opinion about addressing this inhuman practice.
There are several ways to deal with kidnapping, as it is a crime committed with the criminal intention of demanding ransom. The children who are kidnapped in Bangladesh are sometimes not kidnapped because of ransom only. They are kidnapped for other reasons too. Intention of sexual harassment, revenge, group conflicts, political gain etc are also some major reasons behind kidnapping. So giving an opinion on the basis of a single criterion will make the conclusion biased. It is important to find first the roots of kidnapping and then find a solution to address the problem.
I will first attach importance to preventive measures for addressing the problem. People having less ethical value are more likely to break the rules of society. So formation of ethical values is a necessity to address the problem.
Enforcement of rules in this regard must take the highest priority so that none dares to think of kidnapping anybody. The nation needs to have technological development to identify every single individual of the country. Tracking machine, photo identification machine, CCTV camera, cell identification machine etc. are the parts of the technological side, which can help in reducing the number of kidnapping incidents, instilling fear in the criminals. Awareness should be raised in society about kidnapping and other related issues.
The state must take the responsibility to focus on the issue of ensuring security of all. It is important to teach the children how to avoid being seized by an unknown person, how to resist a potential captor and how to escape. Kids are vulnerable and trusting, and it is the job of every parent to remind them of basic safety rules.
The children should not walk away with anyone other than their parents, or the person who has been arranged to take care of them. They should remember that an unknown adult does not need any help from a child — either to find a puppy or something else. If an adult asks for help, that is a sign of warning. They should avoid getting into a car with a stranger. They must know the rules: what is OK and what is not OK, and have confidence to take action if they feel that someone is trying to take advantage. These are some measures to address this crime of kidnapping. But sometimes these are difficult to implement in society.
The government should ban sales of unregistered SIM card by any operator of the country and should stop the use of non-registered SIM card. Every operating phone company must have the picture identification of each subscriber with finger prints, and make sure that each assigned number is linked to the address of the subscriber.
The government should make a register of the identities of all citizens. Thus, any individual with a criminal intent will fear the law and never dare to indulge in such kind of heinous work. The police need to have the capacity to track any phone call that makes demand for ransom. Once a demand for ransom is made, the victim’s family must inform the police of the matter.
Making children alert and teaching them what to do in the case of attempted abduction is best enacted when there is a partnership between the school, the police and parents. It is our duty to teach them how to resist any attempt at abduction. Parents should know where their children are and where they need to go. They should pay attention to any change in the behavioral pattern of their children. Parents should not leave their children in any public place alone and should never ask a stranger to hold their baby. The photographs of children should always remain with parents.
James Sujit Malo
Dept of sociology
University of Dhaka

Children’s abduction or kidnapping is a major concern both in the national and international context. The nature and extent of the problems and crimes associated with it are most sensitive and transnational making the issue a complicated one.
The word ‘Kidnapping’ can be defined as taking away someone by force usually in order to keep the person as a prisoner and demand money for returning the person.
As the police headquarters officials said, 373 incidents of kidnapping and later killing of children took place in Bangladesh between January 1 and March 31 this year while the number was 430 in the same period in the previous year.

Reasons behind kidnapping and killing of children
There are various reasons behind kidnapping and killing a child but the main reasons are 1) for commercial purpose, 2) to amputate different organs of a child and supply them to different medical institutes, and 3) To take revenge.

Law and rules against kidnapping and killing of children (Act for Children in Penal Code – 1860):
Section 360: Whoever conveys any person beyond the limits of Bangladesh without the consent of that person or of some person legally authorised to consent on behalf of that person is said to kidnap that person from Bangladesh.
Section 361: Whoever takes or entices any minor under fourteen years of age if a male, or under sixteen years of age if a female, or any person of unsound mind, out of the keeping of the lawful guardian of such a minor or a person of unsound mind, without the consent of guardians, is said to kidnap such a minor or a person from lawful guardianship.
Section-363: Whoever kidnaps any person from Bangladesh or from lawful guardianship shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to pay a fine.
Section 364 A: Whoever kidnaps or abducts any person under the age of ten, in order that such person may be murdered or subjected to grievous hurt, or slavery or to the last of any person or may be so disposed of as to be put in danger of being murdered of subjected grievous hurt, or slavery, or to the last of any person shall be punished with death or transportation for life or with rigorous imprisonment for a term which may extend to fourteen years.

How this problem can be addressed
Parents should be more careful about their child/children. They must know the whereabouts of their children when kids go anywhere. Educational institutions can play an important role in this connection. Awareness programmes must be incorporated in the curriculum so that students are careful about kidnapping. Seminars and discussions should be organised to help the children understand this social malaise. Society must look forward to raising its voice against any incident of kidnapping. Our government should also take expeditious steps to enforce rules in this regard and have the responsible individuals prosecuted efficiently and punished exemplarily. The media also has a role to play by highlighting how kidnapping is posing a threat to children’s life and society.
Shabnam Talukder Barsha
School of law
BRAC University.

Kidnapping is catching somebody and hiding that person somewhere. This is, no doubt, a crime. It has become a social malaise nowadays. As there is not a single example of punishment awarded to kidnappers incidents of kidnapping are taking place unabated. A group of people are resorting to kidnapping to take revenge, or to demand ransom from the parents of kidnapped children. If parents cannot meet the demand by the kidnappers they kill these children ruthlessly. The government needs to take steps to have these criminals prosecuted and punished exemplarily in its bid to resist kidnapping of children. When we hear any news of murdering a child after s/he was kidnapped we grow thoughtful and frightened all at once. At present the situation is so bad that most people feel insecure in the absence of any steps from the authorities to combat this crime. What is worrisome is that some people are indulging in this crime as a profession. They are called professional killers. Some are doing it to fulfil their demand. Our government created a special force called the Rapid Action Battalion, which is meant to help the police in maintaining law and order. But we are taken aback by the action of some members of this organisation as they have also been accused of abducting people. It is really an irony of our fate. The government is under a constitutional obligation to ensure the security of all. But it has failed miserably to control the situation. None can deny that given that situation, the police in particular have been emboldened to largely remain indifferent to their stipulated responsibilities.
My opinion is that the incumbents need to order a competent, transparent and credible inquiry into each of the incidents of abduction, kidnapping and killing and responsible individuals should be prosecuted and punished exemplarily. The ethical section of society also needs to come forward with its sustained voice over the issue. It is all the more important as only mounting public pressure on the government indifferent to public safety and security can make a difference.
Azmery Zannath Tuktuki
Tongi, Dhaka.

It is really a shame for us that the number of crimes in the country is increasing day by day. We have failed to become civilised and make our nation a crime-free one even 43 years after our independence. Recently, we have found the news of child-kidnapping in newspapers, especially New Age. Let us see, how this type of inhuman crime can be addressed.
First, parents need to be watchful about their children. They must know the whereabouts of their children when they visit any place. They should be aware of the current situation with regard to kidnapping. The government also should play an important role by ensuring the security of all. It should instruct the law enforcement agencies to enforce the law stringently against kidnapping. It can also take technological help to handle this crime. However, the government cannot curb this recurring crime alone. The government and the conscious section of society should work hand in hand to resist this crime. Awareness programmes, in this regard, can be of great help as these programmes help the people understand how criminals kidnap children and how an incident of kidnapping takes place. The media can also play an important role in this regard. Citizens should also make it a point to inform the police when anything suspicious takes place anywhere.
Arman Mahmood
By Email

I must say that it is a perverted form of crime when a little child is abducted and killed. Regrettably, the government and the law enforcing agencies are failing to curb this recurrent crime. I am taken by surprise at the news that abduction of children and their subsequent killing, in some cases, have been done by criminals who are closely associated with some greedy, malevolent members of law enforcing agencies. I hold our politicians who are preoccupied with their self-interest and their dirty politics responsible for this heinous crime to occur. I am not an eminent citizen but as a conscious man I will suggest that it is the duty of the administration to protect the children from kidnappers. To protect our children and ensure their security is a matter of paramount importance. Noted Jurists and rights activists are repeatedly raising their voice against this crime, adding that when the security of citizens are at stake foreign investment will naturally go down.
It is not easy to understand the sufferings of some families who have not found any trace of their loved ones for months. An anonymous phone call demanding money after the abduction of a child is a common phenomenon. It seems that criminals are doing it with impunity without any fear whatsoever. An analysis of the Narayanganj incident would be a case in point which will present to what extent our law and order has deteriorated.
Md. Nazrul Islam
Rising Sun Academy

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