A period of unprecendented cruelty to children a year in review
Stepping into a new year Bangladesh is still carrying the stigma of the brutal acts perpetrated on young children by ruthless employers and others to settle personal scores often leading to deaths or crippled for life, not to speak of the life-long humiliation of the victims.
As Bangladesh bade a painful adieu to the year 2016, replete with incidents of death due to maltreatment of young children, people hoped for a better 2017. But with the death of a 15-year-old boy, Yeamin, on December 14 night added another sad chapter to the history of trampled humanity in the country.
Yeamin, son of Shajahan, died after some torturers allegedly pumped air from a compressor into his anus at a spinning mills in Narayanganj, police and local sources said.
Just five months ago a similar incident had taken place at Rupganj of Narayanganj district, killing Sagar Barman, a 10-year-old child worker at Zobaida Textile Mills.
Barman's adult colleagues pushed a running air compressor pipe into his rectum and pumped air until the boy died.
The perpetrators seemingly took no notice of the boy's father Ratan Barman who also worked at the same mills.
Very often experts and right activists claimed that due to laxity in implementation of law and allowing perpetrators to escape from the law had caused a culture of impunity which encouraged further crimes.
Sayed Abul Maksud, an eminent columnist, talking to the Daily Observer said the government should enact a new law with penal code for preventing child killing.
"The government should adopt a new law
like the Acid Control Act 2002 and Acid Crime Prevention Acts 2002 to prevent reckless killing of children in the country," he said.
"We can see a growing trend of barbaric acts, and so certain stern measures should be taken to stop such heinous crimes," he noted.
However, the government has taken a few exemplary steps too, like after barbaric killing of 13-year old boy Samiul Alam Rajan in Sylhet and Rakibul Islam, 12, in Khulna, the criminals were put through speedy trial and awarded life imprisonment and death sentences respectively.
But Yeamin killing again proves that the existing laws are not enough to deal with this problem, rather a return to humanism and upgrading ethical principles and values are urgently needed to address the harrowing incidents happening around the country.
People should be counselled and persuaded not to commit but resist barbarism on minor children, experts said.
They say Yeamin's death is the third case in a row of such brutal acts that makes people possibly believe that Rajon in Sylhet, Rakib in Khulna, and Sagor Barman in Narayanganj are only a tip of the iceberg among cases of inhuman brutalities committed on children in the country, while the rest go unreported.
As the incidents of Rajan and Rakib killing were shared widely in the public media including Facebook, many experts came up with varieties of suggestions but the authorities did not pick up any of them.
Instead, they suggested no one should do or speak anything that could contagiously spread crimes against children.
Beating and torturing young boys as well as raping young girls have become a menace in the country for lack of appropriate laws and their poor enforcement, experts say.
They referred to the five-year old Pushpa in Parbatipur in Dinajpur who was raped by a 45-year old man.
The rapist even used a blade to perform incision on the vaginal passage of the minor girl to facilitate penetration in what many said was a bestial act of a person wearing a human face.
The man has been arrested but no one really knows about the progress of his trial while the girl is alive and living a life of nightmares.
Experts, general people, psychiatrists, socialists, human rights activists all have said torturing and killing a minor is easier than an adult due to their physical and mental vulnerabilities.
They also noted that child killing incidents happen when culture of impunity becomes widespread in every section of the society and there is no accountability and transparency, thus allowing the perpetrators to escape the law easily.
Sultana Kamal, a human right activist very recently at a press conference said that the culture of impunity is encouraging the growing cases of abuse and murder of children across the country.
She said that people from all sections of society should stand up against barbaric acts against children through social resistance.
"We should keep in mind that after watching such crimes, if we do not raise our voice then breaking the culture of impunity takes further ground. We all have to stand up through social resistance to prevent such crimes," she said.
According to Bangladesh Shushu Adhikar Forum, 191 children were killed in the country in 2015, 350 in 2014, 218 in 2013 and 209 in 2012.
Ain O Salish Kendro, claims that 152 children have been killed in the last three months in the current year.
When asked about the reason of repeating such incidents, Prof Mehtab Khanam, a psychiatrist, became emotionally charged up and said with sobbing voice that she was unable to make any comment as she felt sick at report of such grisly incidents one after another.
"I cannot make any comment; I am deeply shocked, and feeling sick, seeing such incidents just one after another," she said.