His existence was sustained by a culture of impunity and injustice
While the nation remains stunned at the daylight hacking of a young man in front of his wife and many other bystanders, countless theories are being given as to why we have become so brutal.
Criminal and social scientists say that there is a culture of injustice in society. Erosion of values, the influence of satellite, lengthy judicial processes, and impunity are some of the reasons that make criminals more audacious.
At the same time, the ethical base to protest is weakening. Head of criminology and justice department of the University of Dhaka, Dr Zia Rahman, told Bangla Tribune: “A person has two sides, one of which is the beastly side and, in our society, this aspect has become more pronounced of late.”
The search is on for Nayan Bond, who is reported to be the head of a virtual group called “007” and the main attacker of Rifat. Unfortunately, while Ian Fleming’s hero saves the world from villains, in Borguna, Nayan and his group have given the famous number a very dubious dimension.
So much so that when Nayan and his acolytes were hacking Rifat, no one came forward to protest.
Society as a whole expressed surprise over the inaction of the public though, from a rational perspective, it would be absurd to expect the public to react because going against a known criminal who has eluded/derided the law would mean digging one’s own grave.
Hypothetically speaking, if someone had come forward, then who would have given that person safety and full security against any possible reprisal?
While there is outrage at all quarters of society, the truth is, across Bangladesh, there are countless such degenerates who enjoy impunity in whatever they do and blithely hoodwink the law because of powerful backers.
Society makes and sustains these demons
As per reports, Nayan was a drug dealer in the area and had been caught and incarcerated in the past for possessing yaba.
So, it won’t be incorrect to state that while he conducted the drug trade on the field, there was some big wig behind the whole operation who provided the money and assurance of non-interference from the law.
Such Nayans are everywhere; they are the lieutenants of drug kingpins who remain safely behind the curtain. While the police haven’t found Nayan, the locals have told reporters that it’s public knowledge who shielded such scoundrels.
The police need to nab the top bosses because Nayan has become intractable with their blessings. This is exactly why they could brandish sharp weapons and walk away in a victorious frenzy after hacking Rifat.
For the yaba operation to run smoothly, people like Nayan can be found in almost all rural towns. They are hardly caught and, if they are behind bars, the time spent is negligible. Once they come out, the sense of invincibility multiplies and that is when killing someone in broad daylight does not seem a daunting task.
The incessant glamourization of underworld life and crime
I want to divert from the common lines of erosion of moral values and degradation to focus on current day film culture where underworld life in crime is being continuously glamourized. This trend is taken from Bollywood with so much vengeance that seven out of ten films released in the city portray the protagonist as a person living/relishing in crime.
Now, obviously, some may say that a movie is just a movie but psychologists will assert that a film is more than just a pastime. We watch a movie and, when a similar formula is given to us day in day out, many of its features remain in our subconscious.
When lead actors are playing the roles criminals with charisma, looks, flashy cars and the luscious actress, a fascination towards a life in crime with instant gratification becomes irresistible.
A depraved culture encapsulating every conceivable hedonistic proclivity topped with explicit exposure of the flesh has become a staple in films.
Nayan’s 007 group is but a romanticized version of the film hero though, in this case, it was used not to serve people but to perpetuate crime, extortion, and drugs.
The attack on Rifat was out of blind rage because he had married Ayesha, the girl Nayan liked and pursued.
In several movies we have seen actors forcing the leading lady to accept his offer or romance; a few phrases come to mind: “tui shudhu amar,” “amake bhlaobashtei hobe.” The names suggest that love is being imposed on someone in the film with a subliminal message that there is nothing wrong in it.
So, when Ayesha got married elsewhere, Nayan possibly planned the attack out of anger and the belief that she cannot belong to anyone else.
Now there have been some rumours swirling about Ayesha’s complicity in the murder though without any proper evidence shared by the police, it would not be proper to make any comment on the issue.
However, since this is a crime of passion, any stunning development giving a new angle to the incident is possible.
Nayan has to be caught alive
Nayan has to be caught not only because he deserves to be punished but because patrons of his vile deeds have to be unmasked. Why did he feel no one can harm him? Even when he hacked Rifat, he did not try to hide his face but went away like a victor in a war.
Unless there is strong social backing such a “devil may care” attitude would not be there. One feels that in investigating the killing of Rifat, a can of worms will be unearthed, leading the police to drugs and other sordid dealings.
But what if Nayan is killed? Well, for argument’s sake if he is killed in some way, the macabre side of Borguna will remain in the dark.
Maybe a lot of people in the district will feel justice is done, but the actual demon controllers will remain unharmed. One Nayon may be gone but countless others will be waiting to take his place.
To end with a quote from the late writer and philosopher Humayun Azad: “Nowadays, parents feel proud if their son becomes a thug; if one has a family gangster then neighbours respect them, local grocery shops give credit with alacrity, women of the house can move about freely, and there is the possibility of getting a powerful person in the family.”
Towheed Feroze is News Editor at Bangla Tribune and teaches at the University of Dhaka.