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Another non-government organisation BRAC, in a study at the end of 2020, found that 91 per cent of the victims of family disputes were women and girls while 85 per cent of the abusers were same family members.

There were contrasts also. Under the 14 murder cases that police have been investigating, six women were arrested as the suspected killers.

Including the Kadamtali incident, there were similar examples in three separate murders occurred in Dhaka, Dinajpur and Khulna. In Khulna, a child was reportedly murdered by his stepmother.

Among the 22 murdered, four were children and two teenagers.

Joint commissioner of Dhaka Metropolitan Police’s detective branch, Mahbub Alam told Prothom Alo that trend of violence in society and family has been increasing. He suspects that intolerance among people seems much active.

“Covid-19 restrictions and unemployment might lead people to be frustrated. The pandemic has also affected the social security,” Mahbub Alam said, adding that the real scenario could be viewed after further studies by government and non-government initiatives.

Killers in family

Suspicion and mistrust provoked five family disputes that left at least 12 people murdered in June, an analysis found. Among the incidents, three were killed at Kadamtali, three in Kushtia and three in Goainghat.

On 1 June, police recovered three severed parts of a man named Moyna Mia from separate locations in Mohakhali and Banani areas in the capital.

Police briefed journalists that Moyna Mia’s wife Fatema Akhter had allegedly murdered her husband and cut the body into six parts. Moyna’s second marriage and other family feuds led the murder. Police detained Fatema.

After arrest of the prime accused Mehjabin Islam of the Kadamtali three murders, police interrogated and found the brutal incident took place out of a long-term resentment.

On 17 June, assistant sub-inspector Soumen Roy shot a 6-year old child among three dead in broad daylight in Kushtia town. Among the deceased, certain Asma Khatun was Soumen’s second wife.

The police officer shot certain Shakil Khan to death allegedly for Asma Khatun’s extramarital affairs with the young man.

The previous day, on 16 June, one certain Hifzur Rahman of Goainghat in Sylhet chopped his wife and two children to death. Police arrested Hifzur.

A trivial incident led to killing of two cousins Nazmul Hossain and Rayhan in Savar on the outskirts of Dhaka on 18 June.

Police detained one Shahjalal, also a cousin of Rayhan, for his alleged involvement with the murder. Shahjalal used to stay at Rayhan’s house. Police said Shahjalal left the house after a family feud and later, took revenge on Rayhan and Nazmul by killing them.

In May, seven people were murdered in six incidents. On 9 May, younger brother of a family at Jamalganj, Sunamganj, stabbed his elder brother and sister-in-law to death.

According to police, family feud led younger brother Russel to kill his brother Alamgir and sister-in-law Mursheda Begum.

On 20 May, police recovered six severed parts of certain Azharul Islam from Dakshinkhan of Dhaka. Police arrested Azharul’s wife Asma Begum and Abdur Rahman. After interrogating the two suspects, police said Abdur Rahman and Asma had developed an extramarital affair. Asma was involved in planning Azharul’s murder.

On 6 May, a teenager killed his female cousin after being bullied on his economic condition. Family feuds led to separate murder of wife by husband at Bera upazila of Pabna on 15 May and at Kaliakair upazila in Gazipur on 28 May.

A businessman was killed by his wife and younger brother in Ishwardi of Pabna on 28 May.

In April, family feuds led three separate murders of mother by son in Bagerhat, husband by wife in Dinajpur and child by stepmother in Khulna.

Impunity

Crime investigating officers, although, identified many reasons behind the murders, did not mention about impunity and delays in trial procedures.

However, some human rights campaigners put emphasis on the issues. They blame impunity and delays in trial procedures of such unabated crimes. The Kadamtali incident was a glaring example.

Mehjabin Islam, who pleaded guilty in court for killing her mother, father and sister at their Kadamtali house in Dhaka, was accused in another murder case. Her husband Shafiqul Islam was the prime suspect in that murder incident. The case was filed after a man was chopped to death at Keraniganj in 2016. Trial on the case is still pending. According to police record, Shafiqul has been accused of three murders in total.

Rights campaigner and lawyer Salma Ali told Prothom Alo, “Impunity and delays in trial are among the main reasons behind violence in family. Such incidents take place because of the persistent patriarchy, deteriorating social values, illicit relationships and lack of proper grooming in family culture. Besides, lax implementation of the Domestic Violence (prevention and protection) Act also flared up such of the crimes.

Brutality

The nature of such murders of family members is brutal. Three people were killed by gun shots in broad daylight in Kushtia. A 6-year old child was not spared from such brutality. Three people at Goainghat of Sylhet were chopped indiscriminately to death. A wife of Dhaka’s Mohakhali has been accused of severing parts of his husband’s body after his murder. The body of Azharul Islam was severed in six parts and dumped into water tank at Dakshinkhan, Dhaka. A six-year old children was chopped to death by his stepmother in Khulna.

Professor Md Omar Faruk of criminology and police science department under Mawlana Bhashani Science and Technology University told Prothom Alo that violence at family is an extreme manifestation of revenge. Vengeance is also a result of indiscipline in the society. “Families lack proper discipline and the family bonding becomes weaker, resulting in such domestic violence and killing,” he said.

Suggesting some preventive ways Omar Faruk said, “Strengthening values through socialisation, upholding mutual understanding among family members through arbitration and legal protection could end brutal domestic violence.”

*This report appeared in the online and print editions of Prothom Alo, has been rewritten in English by Sadiqur Rahman.

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