Violence in Bangladesh is not new. In fact, violence is one of the many reasons Bangladesh get some media attention around the world. Recently, a 13 year old boy, Rajon, was beaten to death by a group of men in Bangladesh who accused him of trying to steal a bicycle. The incident was video recorded and posted on Facebook. In Bangladesh and other countries, this savagely cruel act made people very angry, heartbroken, and upset. The accused were arrested – one from Saudi Arabia after he fled there. Many people in Bangladesh called for death penalty for the accused.
Violence in Bangladesh against children is not new too. In fact, Bangladesh is one of the top ranking countries in violence against children in peaceful time. What was new in this incident that the torture was posted online. The people of Bangladesh are rightly outraged at this act of brutal torture and in demanding justice. But here are some questions to consider – who really killed Rajon? why are people angry? angry against whom? Seems like everyone knows the answer (after all, it was posted online! the accused kind of confessed the crime!).
Therefore, the real questions are, if beating of Rajon was not posted online, if it did not go viral, more importantly, if Rajon was not dead, how significant is the event in Bangladeshi context? Was Rajon protected when he was not beaten?
Most of the Bangladeshis understand violence in terms of physical, visual and exposed shape. If the violence is structural violence, psychological and private violence, then that kind of cruelty is almost incomprehensible in Bangladesh. Violence is so much so cleverly hidden, silently active, subtly present, carefully nurtured, culturally blended into the social fabric of Bangladesh that it feels like a second nature.
So who killed Rajon? Perhaps, he was killed by the society as a whole with the initiative taken by the killers!
Rajon was beaten to death by his killers because they thought they knew better than the authority (the police, the political leader, the judge etc.). They caught Rajon, they accused him, tied him, interrogated him, beat him, broke him, and at last killed him. Did they do anything wrong? If it was wrong, then this kind of attitude must be a norm somewhere in Bangladesh. They took an initiative to correct an issue that they (in their sick mind) thought was need to be taken care of. In Bangladesh, these kind of behaviors are expressed in many ways. Here are few examples from this year:
- Political parties in Bangladesh killed innocent people by throwing petrol bombs,
- People died in police protection,
- Bloggers were slaughtered in broad daylight,
- Women were molested at Bangla New Year day at Dhaka University area, etc.
These incidents are all wrong but also kind of norm in Bangladesh. In every case, from the police to political parties, to interest groups, to private citizens, all took law and order into their hands. So what did Rajon’s killers did different? Rajon’s killers even made an agreement with the local police to set them free – again, wrong but a norm in Bangladesh.
Bangladeshis are victim of violence in real sense as well as offender of violence in metaphysical sense. Therefore, any cause of violence is everybody’s responsibility. When the presence of violence becomes intensely internal, then it is hard to understand that we are also offender! When animated and undetected violence take forms of accepted ideas in general, that is a very dangerous situation. Some examples,
- political violence is the political dialog of Bangladeshi society!
- two thirds of Bangladeshi children are beaten as the name of child discipline!
- wives are beaten by husbands as part of conjugal discipline!
- police take bribes to expedite criminal investigations!
- organizations are broken into pieces to accommodate personality and practice democracy!
- fast, repeated, senseless and too many words are used to express ideas in meetings! etc.
No one likes to take responsibility of the crimes committed by others. There is no doubt, that the criminals must be punished for a safe, sound, and successful society. But to create that kind of society, people of Bangladesh need to address the underlying causes of violence, identify connecting nods of violence, societal values associate with violence, and think outside the box to reduce violence. Until then, many Rajons will be beaten to death, and so-called ‘we’ will be angry and demand for justice. To save Rajons, people of Bangladesh have to act together, soon!