Dhaka struggles with escalating teenage gang violence crisis

Teenage gangs, Gangs

On January 6, 2017, Adnan Kabir, a ninth-grade student at Trust School, was brutally murdered, his lifeless body discovered near the school premises. Police investigations revealed that Adnan, a bright student, had become a victim of ruthless teenage gang violence. The involvement of three gangs, namely Nine Star, Big Boss, and Disco Boys, was uncovered in connection with Adnan’s murder. Despite the passage of six years since this sensational incident captured national attention, youth gang violence in Uttara has not only persisted but also worsened. Despite the arrest of 26 individuals, including members of the ‘Disco Boys’ and ‘Nine Star Group,’ on suspicion of involvement, they were subsequently granted bail, exacerbating the sense of impunity surrounding such crimes.

Despite the nationwide outcry sparked by these killings, the mischief perpetrated by teenage gangs has not ceased; rather, it has proliferated throughout the country. According to police headquarters’ data, there are 180 such teenage gangs or groups operating nationwide, totaling 1,677 members. Shockingly, within the past year alone, these groups have been responsible for the deaths of 26 individuals and the injury of 329 others in their attacks. Tragically, just last Saturday, March 16, 2024, one person lost their life in a gang-related incident in Pallabi, Dhaka.

According to information from police headquarters, 379 cases related to teenage gang misbehavior have been registered across various police stations in the country over the past year. Consequently, 940 members have been arrested in connection with these cases, with 197 individuals being remanded to correctional facilities as minors. Charge sheets have been filed in court upon completion of investigations for 335 incidents, while 10 cases have resulted in final reports. Additionally, due to insufficient evidence, 22 charge sheets involving 77 accused individuals in Dhaka Metropolitan Area, and four charge sheets involving 15 accused individuals in Chittagong Metropolis, have been submitted to court. Furthermore, five charge sheets against 16 accused individuals in Dhaka Range police stations, 11 charge sheets against 46 individuals in Chittagong Range, one charge sheet against two individuals in Sylhet Range, and one charge sheet against two individuals in Barisal Range have been submitted.

Zia Rahman, the Dean of the Sociology Department at Dhaka University and a professor of criminology, commented on the phenomenon of juvenile gang culture, stating, “Teenagers often perceive a sense of heroism in the misuse of technology, which contributes to their inclination to join gangs. Additionally, many youths are forming these groups out of political and personal motives.”

He emphasized the need for enhanced organizational efforts to combat juvenile crimes within society. Mr. Rahman stressed the importance of improving teenage correctional facilities and advocated for the establishment of a specialized law enforcement unit dedicated to eradicating teenage gangs. He also highlighted the decline in family education, values, and the role of local socio-cultural organizations, attributing these changes to the widespread abuse of drugs in society. Zia Rahman emphasized the interconnectedness of ongoing gang culture and drug abuse, urging comprehensive consideration of these factors in addressing the issue.

Upon analyzing several cases of juvenile gang delinquency, it has come to light that despite bearing names suggesting youth involvement, the majority of these criminal gangs or groups consist of adults. Just last Sunday, members of RAB-3 apprehended 20 individuals affiliated with a youth gang during raids conducted in Kadamtoli and Hatirjheel areas of the capital.

Surprisingly, all apprehended individuals are aged between 18 and 22 years old. Regardless of their age, these gang members are involved in a wide array of criminal activities, ranging from street-level sexual harassment to theft, robbery, drug trafficking, substance abuse, engagement in terrorist activities for hire, and even murder.

Conversations with both arrested teenage gang members and law enforcement officers have uncovered a troubling pattern: each group is controlled by local elder figures. These elder individuals, essentially the progenitors of the teenage gangs, exploit these emerging groups to further their own interests. Shockingly, some of these sponsors of youth gangs hold positions as public representatives, while others wield influence as political leaders.

The Additional Inspector General of Police (AIG) Anwar Hossain, who oversees the operations department at the police headquarters, stated on Monday that the monthly crime conferences prioritize the suppression of teenage gang activities. Field police officers are instructed to thoroughly analyze each incident and take appropriate legal action. Additionally, the names of these gangs are gathered through intelligence operations, and subsequent legal measures are initiated. Mr. Hossain emphasized that there is no influential figure orchestrating these teenage gangs. He reiterated that across all police units nationwide, there is a clear directive: perpetrators must be brought to justice regardless of their affiliations.

Regarding the current status of teenage gang offense cases, out of the 62 cases filed by the Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP), final reports have been submitted in 54 cases, with two cases resulting in final reports, while six cases remain under investigation. A total of 323 individuals are accused in these charge sheets, out of which 229 have been arrested. Furthermore, 46 individuals were injured and 11 were killed in youth gang attacks in the DMP area. In the Chittagong metropolitan area, 188 people have been arrested in 85 cases. Charge sheets and final reports have been issued in 75 cases, with investigations ongoing in eight cases. The total number of accused in these charge sheets amounts to 243 individuals. Two people were killed, and 54 were injured in youth gang attacks in Chittagong. Over the past year, there have been no reported activities of juvenile gangs in Khulna and Sylhet metropolitan areas. However, four individuals were arrested in three cases in the Rajshahi metropolitan area, with an additional case occurring in the Barisal metropolitan area. Eight cases were filed in the Gazipur Metropolitan Area, leading to the arrest of 36 individuals, while 41 accused have been charged.

Meanwhile, in the Dhaka range, charge sheets were issued in 121 out of 134 cases. These charges involved 415 teenage gang members, of whom 286 were arrested. Tragically, 119 people were injured, and six lost their lives in the attacks perpetrated by these criminals. In the Mymensingh and Rangpur ranges, there have been no reported activities involving such criminals. However, in the Rajshahi range, there are 19 accused individuals across six cases, with one fatality resulting from a youth gang attack in that region. Additionally, the Chittagong range has seen 226 accused individuals across 40 cases, with 106 arrests made. Furthermore, the Khulna range has 51 accused individuals across nine cases, while the Sylhet range has 20 accused individuals involved in five cases. Similarly, the Barisal range has seen 53 teenage gang members implicated in 25 cases.

Teenage gangs remain active in the capital city, according to sources from the Dhaka Metropolitan Police. At least 80 such gangs operate across eight crime divisions, engaging primarily in drug dealing, neighborhood altercations, encroachment, extortion, robbery, evasion, and various other criminal activities. These gangs often operate under the protection of political affiliations. Tejgaon Division of Dhaka Metropolitan Police alone reports 121 members spread across seven teenage gangs, while the Mirpur Division counts 172 members in 13 groups. In the Ramna Division, there are 113 members in seven groups, followed by at least 30 members in two groups in the Lalbagh Division. The Uttara Division reports 70 members in five groups, while the Wari Division has 108 members in six groups. Additionally, the Motijheel Division has five active members, and the Gulshan Division counts 41 active members in one group and 62 in seven groups.

Mahid Uddin, the Additional Commissioner of the Crime and Operations Division of the Dhaka Metropolitan Police, who has been promoted to the rank of Additional IG, stated that police operations are actively underway to eradicate youth gangs. Numerous individuals have been arrested from various areas, and legal action has been initiated against them. Directives have been issued to every police station to effectively eliminate juvenile gangs, emphasizing that perpetrators of such crimes will not evade justice.

According to police sources and locals, various teenage gangs are active in different areas of Dhaka. These include the Shakil group in the Tejgaon industrial area, Mamun group, and Gangchil group in Mohammadpur area, Ghuta de group, and Zakir’s group in Sherbangla Nagar police station area, The King of Gairala in Adabar police station area, Bhoira De Group, Only Kopaiya De Group, and Kana Jasim Group in Tejgaon Thana Area, Mainuddin’s Group, and Apu Group in Mirpur Area, Bagha Group, Vastor Group, LK Devil Boys, and LK Taltala Boys Group in Darus Salam Thana Area, Potato Ruble Group, Atul Group, Ashiq Group, Rocky Group, Pintu-Kallu Group, Musa-Harun Group, Romantic Group, Sohail Group, Rubel Group, Yasin Group, and Eamon Group are quite active in Rupnagar Thana area.

In various areas of Dhaka, numerous teenage gangs are active, as reported by police sources and locals. These include the Bailey King Ron Group in Ramna Thana area, Oli Group in Shahbagh area, Jasim Group in Kalabagan Thana area, Love Lane Group in Hazaribagh area, Bangla Group, Perfect Gang, Sumon Group, Lara De Group, and Sukkur Group in Kadmatoli Thana area, Liton Group, and Tahmid Group in Gendaria Thana area, Saeed Group in Demra Thana area, Chan Jadu Group in Mughda, Bicchu Bahini, and Akil & Co. in Rampura, Nibir Group in Shahjahanpur, Jummon Group in Bangshal, Tiktok Hriday Group in Chawkbazar area, Yamin and Faisal Group in Kamrangirchar area, and Nasir Group. Additionally, Nine Star, Rubel Group, HBT Hitter Boys Group, Sunny Group, Dakshinkhan Young Star Group, Bigg Boss Group, Ranabola King Mahal, Turag, Zeedan Group, Shaheen & Ripon Gang, Salman Gang in Gulshan Area, and Gulshan Area in Uttara Area are reported to be active. These groups also have subgroups with new names.


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