Beware of Law Enforcing Goons
It has taken me a while to gather enough courage to write about this incident, but I believe it will do people some good to know about the current state of our law enforcement agencies. About a month ago, I received a phone call from my brother who had been out with his friends. He called at around midnight, and all I could hear was screams in the background and my brother crying out “Help me, they are going to kill me.” The phone got disconnected and after calling for about forty-five minutes without any luck, I finally received a call from an unknown number. I could hear my brother's scared, broken voice on the other end, “The police have picked me up, they are beating me up, please come and save me.” I rushed blindly to the station he mentioned and found him and his friend, battered and bleeding and terrified to speak. Upon questioning, I found that they had an accident and were dragged out of the car and beaten brutally by a mob. The police claimed that they had rescued the boys. At the time, all my family and I wanted was to get him away from the terrible situation. We compensated the owners of the other vehicles involved, and brought the boys home. My brother was in shock, after his ordeal, but he kept insisting that the police had dragged him away from the mob, placed his head on a sidewalk and repeatedly kicked him on the head and beat him with their batons. We found bruises on his back that can only be made with a long heavy bat, cigarette burns behind his ear, and boot marks all over his clothes and on his forehead. I understand that the people in our country have no faith in our legal system, which is why mob violence takes place. What I fail to grasp is why the police would brutalise anyone, regardless of what their crime may be. My brother was not resisting arrest. Why was he beaten so mercilessly by the police? I cannot imagine what they would have done to him had I not arrived to that station on time.
A Tale of a Struggling Slum Kid
The other day at Farmgate, I came across a child selling newspapers to a man who was sitting in his car. The man handed him a ten taka note and the boy did not have change for that. Then the man started to scold the boy and at one point he got out of the car and beat up the poor boy. And nobody said anything or came forward to save the boy. As I was disappointed to see how cruel people have become to the underprivileged children, I stood beside him and asked him about his whereabouts. He was an eight-year-old boy named Shujon. I also enquired about his parents and he said: “My father had left us and married another woman. My mother is sick and she doesn't do anything.” Shujon is second among his five siblings; he lives in a slum at Mohammadpur. Whatever insignificant profits he makes out of selling newspapers, he gives that to his mother so that she can run the family. Although he had always wanted to go to a school, he never had a chance to attend one. Shujon and children like him struggle for survival against their surroundings every single day. Theirs is an insurmountable battle, beginning from the very day they were born. However, we always try to sympathise with them at the expense of considering the real challenges and struggles they go through every day. If we are really unable to help them, I believe that we can still love them and show some respect towards them.
Bipul K Debnath
Dhaka College, Dhaka