Proliferation of teen-gangs is on the rise in recent times
Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) legal and media wing Director Lt Col Md Emranul Hasan said there are an estimated 50 to 60 teen-gangs active in Dhaka.
Around 8,000 to 10,000 youth and teenage people are believed to have been active members of the youth-gangs in the capital.
He made the revelation while talking to newsmen at the RAB headquarters in Dhaka on Thursday.
He said gang culture is more visible, following the murder of a teen-gang member Adnan Kabir in early 2017.
Proliferation of teen-gangs -- with the evils of youth culture and its incumbent violence, drugs, guns and sexual misconduct, is on the rise in recent times.
In an effort to rein in to youth violence, the latest commanding officer level conference of each RAB battalion was instructed to launch an operation against teenage gangs.
In response to this directive, law enforcement agencies and security forces led operations have already got underway in many places, he added.
RAB director Emranul said: “Around 190 gang members were arrested this year alone of various youth-gang groups from different areas including Uttara, Mohammadpur, Mugda, old Dhaka neighbourhood. Legal action has also been taken against them,” he said.
Among the arrestees, vast majority of the youth and teens fall between the ages of 14/15 to 20/22 years.
“We have more information coming from outside Dhaka about teen-gang activities. We are paying more attention to improving safeguarding responses to gang violence and criminal exploitation. At regular intervals, such operations will be carried out outside Dhaka.”
When asked about the number of gang groups and their members, the RAB official disclosed some alarming figures quoting a statistical report of Jagannath University about the gang culture.
In the period, between 1990 to 2000, around 3,500 teen gang members had been active in with different gangs. In the following 10 years, from 2000 to 2010, it increased up to 4,882.
The next survey was no longer available. But a rough estimate suggests that, gang members may have risen between somewhere 8,000 to 10,000. And 50 to 60 gangs are active in Dhaka, he added.
The RAB has been working with the executive magistrate to bring active gang members to justice and those youth actively involved in consuming and selling drugs or creating public nuisance.
Amid mounting concern about political parties’ apparently sheltering youth gang groups, not facing up to the scale of the problem and of failing in their duty to keep children from harm, RAB said that they are aware of the situation and information is coming to them.
People assisting and abating youth gangs must be brought under the law.
The teen-gang groups are engaged in crimes mainly due to the problems in their families, said this official. More so, gangs attract kids who want to belong and tend to be highly susceptible to peer pressure.
Proper monitoring from the families, school authorities, communities, and also from political platforms may help control the situation. Building awareness among parents is the key to solving the problem, he added.