Youths are the most essential part of our society. The horrifyingly vertical rise of teenage crimes in recent times has turned into issues of serious concern for the parents as well as the community in the country.
Breakdown of society and the tendency to go to the centre of power is the main reason for the gang culture. Youngsters are usually unaware of the consequences of breaking the law. The delinquent acts are often committed under the direct and indirect orders of influential people.
It affects whole structure of state. Violence increases health care costs, decreases property value, and disrupts social services. Much of the reported rise in youth crime is in direct relation to the huge population increase in recent decade.
At least 50-60 teenage gangs are active in various areas of Dhaka, including Uttara, Abdullahpur, Tongi, Uttarkhan, Dakshinkhan, Badda, Gulshan, Banani, Khilgaon, Rampura, Dhanmondi, Rayerbazar, Mirpur and Mohammadpur.
Some gang members work in grocery stores, tea shops, markets and offices after dropping out from studies. Some of them are students, but shockingly their parents have no clue that their children are involved in gangs. Locals and police sources said over two dozens of teen gangs operate in Uttara area alone. Outside Dhaka, criminal activities by teenage and youth gangs are also noticed at divisional, district and upazila levels including in Chattogram, Cumilla, Sylhet and Barguna.
They get together in the name of meeting each other socially. Each group has different tag marks. But most of them maintain the same haircut, same kind of clothing, shoes and tattoos in particular areas on their body. Also, most of them carry special knives or blades.
According to sociologists and psychologists, lack of parental guidance, fragile family bonds and moral degradation, false sense of heroism, culture of impunity, peer pressure, substance abuse and disadvantaged socio-economic status contribute to the growing incidents of juvenile violence. DU Criminology teacher Khandaker Farzana Rahman pointed that unlimited use of internet and smartphones, porn addiction, decay of the family and social bonds, disobeying norms of society and schools, lack of physical activities, earning of black money by parents, decay of social values and (good) traditional rituals were major reasons for development of gang culture.
Such incidents have been taking place due to the apathy of parents and the gap which is creating as the parents are not providing enough time to their children.
Conducting legal drives against teenage gangs, arresting their members, and sending them to jail or to correction centres alone cannot prevent teen violence. But Law enforcement agencies must give counseling to the gang members, and their guardians to help them get back to normal life. In this regard, parents can play pioneer role to prevent teen gang violence by sparing sufficient time with their children and strengthening family bond. In addition, children should be educated morally in family and educational institutions. Moreover, recreational activities should be increased. Furthermore, they should not be patronized politically.
Teens are driven by emotion. Hardly they can distinguish between right and wrong. So, family, educational institution and community as whole should monitor them closely so that they focus on their career instead of getting involved in deadly young gang culture.
According to reports, Many adolescents join gangs with the intention of showing heroism. As they help each other in crisis moments, they think that maintaining a gang is a must. Most of them (parents) don't know where their children go and who they make friends with. But they must become aware of all this. They must make their children understand the bad effects of being in a gang," he added.
These gangs are mainly involved in petty crimes such as extortion, pilferage and drug abuse, especially snorting Yaba. Taunting or harassing girls is another one of their activities. All of them are not politically connected. But in many cases there are traces of political connections. In many cases the 'big brothers' of their neighborhood give them shelter.
A breakdown of age-old social norms and a rising tendency to go to the center of power is the main reason for the rise of gang culture.
Various political parties actually patronize them. textbook education has become incomplete, and this has resulted in an increase in hatred for other religions in society and in the tendency to humiliate women. All this causes a serious breakdown in social order. Now, because there is an inadequacy in natural entertainment, it makes teenagers form gangs where they practice antisocial activities. Building awareness among parents is the key to solving this problem. Guardians involved in corruption and bribes are playing a role to turn teenagers and youths notorious. They are giving expensive smart phones and motorcycles to their young children. Many of the guardians also backed their sons even if they do crimes. As a result, these youths become more reckless.
Against the backdrop, the drive of the police to contain gang culture by detaining some youths may not be an effective tool in the long run. This type of drive is essential as part of maintaining law and order. At the same time, intervention of police requires coordination with community and society because juvenile gang culture is not only a law and order problem. It means, awareness building among the juvenile and their guardians as well as practice of values in family. It also requires unbiased application of law in different areas to demonstrate that indiscipline and crime can't go unchallenged.
Teenage years are the most vulnerable period for any human being due to various psychological disorders, depression, violence and all that. This is also the age of experiencing a lot of new emotions, intellectuality and creativity.
So, they need proper education, counseling and that`s how we will be able to stop them from joining or building gangs. Towards a new generation with the hope of light, we have always expected the youth to hold the flare in their hands. We cannot just let this generation to get destroyed and lag our country thousands of miles behind. Your little care and a little affection can make a tad's future bright, don't step backwards.
The writer is a journalist
of The Asian Age.
Email: [email protected]
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