Alexa ‘Child lifters’ rumor: innocence loses life

Dhaka, Tuesday   23 July 2019

‘Child lifters’ rumor: innocence loses life

 Shafiqul Bari

 Published: 11:00 PM, 22 July 2019  

Art: Anis Mamum

Art: Anis Mamum

The incidents of lynch-mob attacks were reported in several places across the country for a few days. Some people died in these attacks. 

According to media reports, at least 22  lynch-mob attacks were carried out where five people were killed and more than 26 people were injured after they were suspected to be child-lifters in different parts of the country including the capital this month. For this, panic has created among the people of the country.  

Police are now investigating each incident. Efforts are underway to bring those involved under the law. Meanwhile, three people were detained after watching video footage through mobile phones. The process of detaining others is going on. 

Last Saturday, Taslima Begum Renu went to a local school to get information about about her daughter’s admission in capital’s North Badda. During this, she was dragged from the principal’s room on suspicion of child lifters and killed in a lynch-mob attack.  

On the day of the incident (Saturday), victim’s nephew Nasir Uddin filed a case against 400-500 unnamed people with Badda Police Station. 

“Renu went to school for her four-year-old daughter Taslim Tuba’s admission,” he said adding, “Within three or four minutes, she caught by the rumor as a child lifter and killed in lynch-mob attacks after she dragged out from the principal room.”

Taslima Begum Renu, who was killed in lynch-mob attacks in capital’s Badda

Efforts are being made to identify the accused by verifying the collected footages from CC camera and mobile from the spot. In the meantime, statements of the people including the principal have taken. Three people have been arrested so far. The arrested were taken on a four-day remand. 

On the same day, Siraj, a speech disability father, was killed in a lynch-mob attack in Narayanganj. The incident happened when he went to see his six-year-old daughter - staying with his ex-wife. He was killed in the mob attack of locals after his ex-wife’s current husband spotted him and shouted as ‘child lifters’ while talking to his daughter. 

Another person, who was injured on Sunday in the lynch-mob attack on suspicion of child-lifters in Keraniganj Dhaka, was died. His name is not yet known. 

“Two unknown youths were roaming in Rasulpur village of Hazratpur union. During this, the locals suspected them as child lifters and lynched them. Police recovered them and took them to the hospital. Later, one of them was shifted to Sir Salimullah Medical College Hospital as his condition was deteriorated. He died at around 10:30 am on Saturday under treatment,” said Chunnu Mia, officer-in-charge (OC) of Kolatoli Police Outpost. 

On the same day, locals lynched three people in Cumilla on suspicion of child-lifters. They came in front of Amratoli school from Bejora village in Brahmanpara Upazila of the district. When they called a child, the locals lynched two men, including a woman, on suspicion of child-lifters. On information, police rushed to the spot and rescued the injured. 

On the same day, the villagers lynched six people on suspicion of child-lifters in Manda of Naogaon. Later, it was known that those six were the fishermen have beaten mainly a dispute with the owner overfishing in the pond. Later, police went to the spot and rescued them. 

On July 7, locals recovered a baby’s severed head from Youth’s sack in Padmapukurpar area of ​​Netrokona’s New Town. Later, he was beaten to death by the locals on suspicion of a child lifter.  

Basically, from that day onwards, the ‘panic of child lifter’ gets extreme levels across the country.

Besides, 10 people — a man named Md Masud of Chattogram’s Patiya, a woman named Rahena Begum in Sitakunda, a mental disable person in Mymensigh’s Gafargaon, Manik Mia and Sahanur Alam of Moulvibazar’s Barlekha, A disabled woman at Srimantapur of Rajshahi’s Godagari, Rafiqul Islam of Laksam’s Peyarapur, a youth of Tangail Sadar, one from Bogura’s Adamdighi, one from Keraniganj — were seriously injured in lynch-mob attacks on suspicion of child-lifters.   

Some mischievous cycles are trying to create an unstable environment by spreading rumors of ‘child lifters’ in different parts of the country, police said. In this situation, a letter has been issued on Monday ordered to take all necessary steps to stop and prevent rumors. 

Assistant Inspector General of Police Headquarters (AIG-Operations) Sayeed Tariqul Hasan sent this letter to the police units of the country. Surveillance has been directed to stop ‘child lifters’ rumors on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and blogs. Apart from this, it has been ordered to take strict action if anyone post or share misleading posts about child-lifters.

Siraj, a speech disability father, was killed in a lynch-mob attack in Narayanganj

In the context of this letter, it has been asked to inform the police headquarters about the action taken by the police unit on fax in the next three working days. 

The police letter said that it is a criminal offense of creating unstable conditions in the country by killing people in mob-attack and spreading rumors. 

A total of four issues have been instructed to different units of police to stop the rumors and lynch-mob attack. They are- centering educational institutions, public awareness, social media monitoring and press releases in electronic media and magazines. 

The letter directed to increase patrol and intelligence surveillance in all educational institutions of the country. It is also urged to raise awareness among the educational institutions, members of the board of directors, and officials and employees. It is ordered to ensure that only parents take their child after classes, make discussions with the school authorities, placement of CCTV cameras in front of each school, and increase surveillance in the slams of metropolitan and district town. 

In order to stop rumors, it has been instructed to do public works. These include awareness-raising against rumors through meetings, distribution of leaflets in the area, anti-rumor discussions with mosque imams.

Md Sohel Rana, AIG of the Police Headquarters’s Media and Public Relations Department, told Daily Bangladesh, “Spreading rumors and creating unstable conditions in the country- is an anti-state activity.”   

“It is a criminal offense to kill people by the lynch-mob attack. Rumors over Padma Bridge are being spread, several people were killed in lynch attack on suspicion of child-lifters in different places,” he also said mentioning, “These incidences are being investigated with utmost importance. The accused will be brought under the law.”   

“Stop spreading rumors and listening to rumors,” Md Sohel Rana said adding, “If someone is suspicious as child-lifters, then hand them over to police by not beating them.”