The rise of a gang culture amongst the teens in various areas of the capital is causing great concern to the local communities. Composed of juvenile delinquents between the ages of 13 and 19, these gangs are involved in using and selling illegal drugs, stalking girls, vandalism, and theft. The recklessness, aggression, and range of criminal activities of these teenage gang members are escalating day by day.
Recently, the senseless killing of Uttara schoolboy Adnan by the members of his rival gang has brought the issue of teen gang violence under the spotlight. There are hundreds of similar gangs spread across the city. These gangs maintain a leadership hierarchy. The gang leaders are usually either school or college dropouts or local criminals. Locally known as “Boro Bhai” or “Big Brother”, they are quite older than the teen members and possess a certain level of political influence. Some of these “Boro Bhais” are ward-level leaders of the ruling political party. They are sheltered by more influential and well-established political leaders.
So, the entire gang system is being operated within a political chain, where the teenage boys are being used as pawns by the highups. Although the teenage boys have little to no interest in politics, they are often used as political weapons. At the direction of the “Boro Bhais”, the teenagers are participating in political processions, fights, vandalism, etc. To up their position in the gang hierarchy and to earn some street credit, these young boys are readily being involved in various forms of crimes. Usually, the gangs maintain their organizational structure through social media, sharing gang names and symbols so that all gang members can be protected from rival gangs while committing a crime. They are using social networking sites to recruit more members to their gangs. Sometimes, young boys are being peer-pressured to join these gangs.
Crime experts fear that these teenage gangs might become as big of a problem as militancy in Bangladesh if steps are not taken immediately. The existing criminal justice system is not enough to prevent it, they said.
Zia Rahman Chairman of Criminology Department at Dhaka University
The teenagers are imitating the western culture from TV shows, movies, and Internet. However, they are not learning values as quickly as they are accepting technology. When they use technology, they do not know how to filter the bad aspects from the good. They are being exposed to graphic and extremely violent scenes in video games and action movies. Watching these contents on a regular basis is leaving a strong imprint on their psyche. Teenagers in the west get proper counseling. We hardly ever take our teens for counseling even when they display disturbing attitudes. Taking timely steps is essential to counter the abrupt changes in the society and cultures for stopping such gangs. Teenagers have access to a substantial amount of money nowadays , and in most cases, their parents are willingly giving them the money. This money is being used for buying drugs and other illicit substances. Drugs have become too easily accessible to the teens. The current justice system will not be able to control the situation. There are politicization, corruption, and nepotism in the police force, which i s a major setback in the battle against the drug problem. Upgrading the j uvenile detention centers to make them more techsavvy might bring some good results.
Tejgaon: At least 15-20 teenage gangs operate in the Tejgaon area of Dhaka. Some of the most well-known gangs in this area are – Deadly Rockers, K-Eu, SK 30, ES 13 and PP. A local Awami League leader is the main leader of a 15-20 member gang. All the members of this gang are under the age of 18. Another 10-12 member group is being led by Ujjal and Farhad, two close assistants of a local public representative. The members of this group are minors as well. Most of these gang members have dropped out of schools and colleges. A 20-member gang led by Haidar Shohag is active in this area as well. All these members are involved with Chhatra League. A young man named Bobby leads a gang in the third alley near the Tejgaon police station. Another gang is active in the areas stretching from Station Road to Tejturi Bazar. A local influential named Mofiz patronizes another gang active near the Khelaghar field and adjacent areas. Moreover, a couple of other gangs are active in the Nakhalpara, Polytechnic College and Tejturipara areas.
Mohammadpur-Adabar: In this area, 10-12 gangs are working under a number of local criminals. Most of the gangs are named after the adult leaders. Some of the leaders are Mamun, Pappu, Jasim, Mostafa, Alif, Tuhin, Firoz, Jalil, Babu, Sohrab and Razzak. Mamun group is active in the Salimullah road area. Pappu, the leader of Pappu group, is currently serving death sentence. He is controlling the gang from his prison cell. The Nurjahan Road area is under the control of Alif Group, although the he M line of A road is dominated by Mostafa Group, and the T line of the same road is under the clout of Nantu group. All the members of Alif Group are students of various private universities. Locals said that gang leader Jasim controls the Bashbari factory area, while Bizli Mohalla is under the leadership of Firoze. The biggest gang in this area belongs to Tuhin, who has a murder case against him in the local police station. Sohrab and Razzak are in charge of the gangs active in the Lalmatia area. While the members of these gangs are between the ages of 14 and 18, the leaders are grown men aged 25-35. Some of the other gangs in this area are FNB-6, RakibLal, Nobabiz, Lara Dc, etc.
Old Dhaka: Local gang Awal Group is responsible for most of the criminal activities in the Nazim Uddin Road, Mazed Sardar Road, Sikkatuli, Abul Hasnat Road, Abdul Nation in the News VIOLENCE Hadi Road, Chankhar Pool, Aga Sadek Road, Kahertuli and Nimtoli areas of Old Dhaka. The prominent members of this group are Dildar, Naeem, Mansue, Jaura Masum, Golakata Harun, Jahangir, Fahim, Bauna Faruk, Helu, etc. According to locals, the members of this group are involved in extortion, gambling, tender business and various other illegal activities in the area. They have forcefully taken control of a local social organization named Ashar Alo. They illegally established a market near the Mazed Sardar Road and extort over BDT30,000 everyday from the shopowners. They have established 5-6 houses on the land of the City Corporation and are renting these houses for BDT20-25 every month. They also occupied the city corporation public toilet at 50/2 Asadgate area. For the transaction and/or selling of any property in this area, 20 percent commission has to be paid to this group. Local resident Mehbub Hasan said that he was attacked by gang members Neel and Asgar in the Chankharpul area on November 17 for not paying extortion money. Kalam, another resident of the area, said that the hooligans attacked his home on September 5 because he “did not show them respect”. There are a number of cases against the members of the group. A local named Mostaqur Rahan said that the members of Faruk Bahini attacked his house on September 5, 2015. His elder brother Mokhlesur died in that attack.
Uttara: Currently, around 3,000- 4,000 youths are members of the 15-20 teenage gangs active in Uttara. Disco Boys and Nine Star are the two most well-known gangs in this area. Disco Boys has 1,200 members while Nine Star has around 900 members. Naimur Rahman Anik leads Disco boys and Talchabi Raju heads Nine Star. Both of these groups have 3-4 subgroups under them. The groups frequently fight with hockey sticks, cricket stumps, and sharp knives to show their muscle power, establish supremacy or “draw respect” from elders and juniors in the area. The brutal killing of schoolboy Adnan on January 6 was the result of a long-lasting feud between the two groups. Adnan was a member of the Nine Star Group. Only three days before his killing, BCL publicity secretary in Turag area, Safiq, BCL activist Sakib and community police member Salam were attacked during a clash between the two groups. On that same day, Jatiya Party vice chairman Bahauddin Barul’s nephew Dipu Sikdar was stabbed by the gang members.
Other teen gangs in this area are Chhoton Group, Power Boys, Big Boss, Dark Shadow, Red Light, Dada Boyz, Dazzling Spirit, DSB, F.C.R. TR, 15 Club, Nafiz Don, PL Rakib, Saiko Ridoy, Dare Devil, Gongzilla, HNY and Dark Souls. Their graffiti names can be seen on various streets and building walls. To show off strength, these gang members often move in motorbikes at high speed with loud honks. Most of the gang members are from higher and upper-middleclass families, and they study in well-reputed educational institutes such as Rajuk Uttara Model College, Milestone School and College, Uttara High school, Trust School and College.
Motijheel: Some students of Motijheel Ideal School have formed a gang named “Ideal Group” which is involved in a wide range of criminal activities in the areas adjacent to the school. According to the locals, most members of this group are regular drug users. Misbehaving with elders, eve teasing and engaging in other anti-social activities are some of the most typical behaviors of these boys. Students of other schools and colleges also hang out with the members of this gang in the school yard. They often smoke cigarettes and weeds in the school playground and buy drugs from the gang members.
Kakrail: Clashes between two groups of students of Willes Little Flower School & College often turn into bloody confrontations in the Kakrail area of the city. Recently, a student of this school stabbed one of his friends due to their group rivalry. Two class-nine students named Monta and Himel lead a 30-35 member group, while class eight student Joy Rahman heads another group of 30-40 members. To keep close surveillance on these groups, 157 closecircuit cameras have been installed all around the school.
Maghbazar: The residents of 38 buildings in Maghbazar BTCL (TNT) colony and the adjacent areas are virtually held hostage by a local gang named Bicchu group. They are operating their illegal activities openly in this area. The group is allegedly involved in the illegal occupation and rental of government land, extortion, gambling, drug trade, etc. Shiblu Ahmed Hasib and Tanvir Hossain Nipu are the leaders of this group. The gang has 10-12 teen members, who are becoming well known in the area as ruthless criminals.