The death of two 15-year old boys in separate violent incidents -one in Gandaria and the other in Tongi -- on Sunday last has exposed how ugly lives of youngsters are turning in some areas, if not everywhere, of the country. Both of them were class IX students -the former of Gandaria High School and the latter of Futureman School. The Gandaria boy succumbed to the injuries he sustained during a clash between two rival teenage groups the previous day on the road beside his school. But the Tongi boy's body was found lying on a back street with eight stab injuries. Reports have it that his friends called on him at a saloon where he had his hair cut before accompanying them. Allegedly, his killers are none but his friends who met him there.
Now this is not for the first time that teenage rivalry has led to fatality. A leading Bangla newspaper reports, taking information from three courts, that about 300 youngsters have been implicated in about 100 murders over the past 16 years in Dhaka alone. The countrywide count will be no less frightening indeed. One intriguing cause is the rivalry between the senior and the junior. This has given rise to gangsterism and once a member of one gang is humiliated or harassed, the entire group takes revenge on its competing gang. This is reported to be the leading cause of juvenile murder. The second cause relates to romance followed by exertion of influence. In the city's Hazaribagh, Chawkbazar, Bangshal and Uttara juvenile gangsterism has become a cause for serious concern. In Uttara, in particular, several gangs contended for supremacy for a long time and last year a boy was murdered because he wanted to shift his allegiance to the rival gang.
Here is a carbon copy of Mario Puzo's Godfather albeit on a mini scale. Now what has prompted teenagers to go off track? Both economic and psychological reasons are behind this. Also cultural aridity may be added to these reasons. In fact, the mental make-up of children has started changing radically ever since the electronic gadgets presented before them the advantage of playing violent video games. Many children failed to differentiate between the reality and the illusion created by the graphic scenes on the computer or other screens. Psychologically unstable they look for thrill and excitement forgetful of life's many splendorous association and bonds.
Misplaced emphasis on income of money and unhealthy competition for social status are responsible for isolation of children and young people from parents and society. Their childhood usurped with no playground for sports and games, no participation in healthy cultural programmes and also inculcation of moral virtues, the young generation feels left out. Either they become addicted to video games or try to vent out their impetuosity. They become violent. Unless society commits itself to cure its own disease, the young population will go further astray. Before this happens the policymakers should start creating a child-friendly social ambience.
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