The Financial Express

Renu killing: Our collective responsibility  

| Updated: September 15, 2020 22:51:23

Renu killing: Our collective responsibility   

Finally, the charge-sheet against the accused in the murder of Taslima Begum Renu has been submitted to a Dhaka court.  The persons named in the charge-sheet number 15, while 19 persons in total are accused in the case. The police said it was for want of detailed information that they could not bring charge against the rest of the accused.  However, we hope the process of justice will be expeditious to punish those responsible for the senseless killing of the innocent woman.

The murder of Renu, a single mother of two children, by a frenzied mob took place more than year ago in the Badda area of the city. On that ominous Saturday, July 20, 2019 Taslima Begum Renu (40) went to a primary school, the Uttar Badda Government Primary School. Admission of her youngest child, four and a half years old Tuba, was in her mind. So she went to that particular school's office to have necessary information to get her child enrolled. Perhaps, she was new to that place or was not acquainted with the other guardians waiting there. It may also be that she was not very smart or was not good at expressing what she wanted to say clearly, in an organised manner. And there is nothing gravely wrong about that as many of us are like that.

But who knew that such inconsequential matters would cost the ill-fated woman her life! Suspecting her to be a child-lifter she was beaten to death in a mad, irrational act of mob hysteria!

The main culprits who committed the horrifying outrage were some street vendors and pedestrians. But how did those complete outsiders dare  to forcibly enter the school's office,  grab the woman and drag her outside without much resistance from any guardian or schoolteacher before being bludgeoned mercilessly to death?  Complicity of some of the guardians or others present there in the gruesome act cannot be overruled.

However, the purpose of this write-up is not to point finger at anyone, but to revisit the circumstances under which such a grossly brutal and inhuman act could take place.

What did provoke the mob?

Because rumours were rife that child-lifters were on the prowl. Worse, they would sacrifice the stolen children as an offering for the demon or evil spirit that, perhaps, was lurking in the darkness around the place where the Padma Bridge is being built! Sounds nonsensical and ludicrous in this age of science?

But there are still people, a large number of them, among us, who look otherwise modern, but are deeply superstitions.  The rest who are not literate are in a worse predicament.  Their world is inhabited by demons, evil spirits and unsatisfied souls of the dead! Evildoers with an agenda can always stir up these gullible and superstitious people into doing the most violent and abominable act. The mob that was baying for blood got what they wanted.

All other people, many of them educated, just looked on and allowed the helpless woman to be mauled, mutilated and battered by a pack of animals in human garb! No one felt any pang of conscience, mercy for her and the savagery went on until the woman died.

The dazed, befuddled victim, Renu, even before she breathed her last breath might have been trying hard to make sense of why what was happening to her was happening!

 We all who claim ourselves to be sane and conscientious owe Renu, her orphaned children and her bereaved relatives an answer. We as a people bear a collective responsibility for Renu's premature end in the hands of a mob.

Renu symbolises all others who met or are meeting with similar end even today.


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