Outrage Follows Boy’s Torturous Killing in Bangladesh

By Jesmin Papri

2015-08-04
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150804-BD-protest-620 Residents of Khulna, Bangladesh, protest the killing of a 12-year-old local boy, Aug. 4, 2015.
BenarNews

Shock, revulsion and anger spread across Bangladesh on Tuesday after news broke that a 12-year-old boy was allegedly tortured to death Monday in the southern city of Khulna, in a manner that horrified even hardened law enforcement officials.

Mohammad Rakib, who worked at an auto repair shop as an apprentice, died at a local hospital after his former employer, Omar Sharif, allegedly forced a compressor tube into the boy’s rectum and switched on the machine.

“When I visited him at the hospital he still could talk to me and pleaded, ‘ma, please save me, mama [Sharif] tortured me a lot. He pumped air into my belly. I’m not going to survive,’” Lucky Begum, the boy’s mother, told BenarNews by phone, her voice choking.

The impact of the air forced into his system ruptured the boy’s intestines and lungs, leading to his death on Monday evening, police said, quoting doctors from the hospital.

"This is the worst murder I have ever seen in my professional life. This is simply medieval barbarism," Khulna Metropolitan Police Commissioner Nibash Chandra Majhi told Agence France-Presse.

Three people, including Sharif, were arrested in connection with the killing, which sparked street protests.

Rakib’s torturous death came less than a month after an 11-year-old boy, Samiul Alam Rajon, was beaten to death in the northeastern city of Sylhet by a mob that accused him of stealing a bicycle.

His alleged killers filmed the incident, and the video went viral after it was posted on social media. Protests also followed Rajon’s slaying.

Thirteen suspects have been arrested in the first case. The alleged mastermind , Muhit Alam, fled to Saudi Arabia but is now in custody there, awaiting deportation to Bangladesh.

On Tuesday, police in Khulna filed murder charges against Sharif, Mintu Mia, his assistant at the repair shop, and Beauty Begum, Sharif’s mother, after locals hauled up the men and handed them over to the authorities. Sharif’s mother was arrested at her house.

Angry ex-boss

According to local residents, Rakib and his parents lived in a slum. He dropped out of school after finishing Grade IV, because his impoverished father was unable to feed the family.

Omar Sharif, owner of Sharif Motor Works, was angry because Rakib had quit his job at the shop a few months ago and taken on a job at another auto shop, Sukumar Biswas, officer-in-
charge of the Khulna police station, told reporters.

On Monday evening, Sharif and his assistant, Mia, called Raikib inside their shop as he headed home after finishing his shift at the other shop.

“The torture occurred shortly afterwards and they brought Rakib to hospital after he fainted,” Biswas said, referring to Sharif and Mia.

What drives such acts?

Experts attribute such extremely violent acts to a “perverted mentality” as well as the absence of justice in a society dominated by musclemen.

“Working children are being subjected to torture and abuse on a daily basis, and we’re not being able to deter these crimes largely because of an absence of justice and lack of knowledge about child rights in our country,” Salma Ali, executive director of the Bangladesh Women Lawyers Association and a child rights advocate, told BenarNews.

“These horrible crimes will go down only if we ensure exemplary punishment to the perpetrators of victims like Rajon and Rakib,” she added.

Kamaluddin Ahmed, a professor of psychology at Dhaka University, agreed.

“It’s a reflection of sadistic pleasure that some perverted people derive out of such chilling torture,” he told BenarNews.

“If we could ensure exemplary punishment for the perpetrators, we would have seen a decline in such horrible crimes,” Ahmed said.

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