Wednesday, 18 May, 2022

Muggers lurk in city streets

Many busy intersections, crossings, lanes, by-lanes and even airport road in the capital have become vulnerable to mugging in the absence of proper police patrol.

Organised gangs of muggers in various guisesroam these areas, swoop on their targets and snatch cash money, gold ornaments or mobile phone sets from peopletaking advantage of the situation, many victims alleged. 

The criminals also roam railway stations and bus and launch terminals and their surrounding areas in the city to snatch valuables from passengers.

Apart from this, a section of criminals impersonating members of different law enforcement agencies have long been committing robbery and mugging in different parts of the capital.

They use fake handcuffs, walkie-talkies, jackets of RAB, microbuses inscribing with RAB or DB sticker on them, signal lights and other such things that the law enforcers use for trapping their targets.

Most of the heinous acts take place just in front of the eyes of pedestrians and even law enforcers.

In the absence of proper police patrol, organised gang of criminals, including muggers, are still roaming different parts of the capital and its surrounds.

Law enforcers both uniform and plain-cloth in large number working under the jurisdiction of the metropolitan have virtually failed to curb such criminal activities, citydwellers alleged.

The sudden rise of such criminal activities like snatching has triggered panic among the citydwellers, including traders, posing threat to the law and order.

As neither the pedestrians nor law enforcers come towards in helping the victims, the perpetrators can easily manage to flee the scene with the looted valuables, it is alleged.

Such a crime happened before the very eyes of hundreds of people at PuranaPaltan crossing in the capital last week.

This correspondent witnessed the incident.

While passing through the busy area around 12:00pm, it was found that a youth age around 30 whose one hand cut swoop on a bus passenger as soon as the bus started advancing after a short break at the busy intersection.

In a twinkle of an eye, the mugger snatched mobile set from the passenger and ran away towards Gulistan side.   Hundreds of pedestrians and even the on-duty police were seen standing silently without taking any measure to catch the criminal.

Such incidents are taking place regularly at many other places in the capital, many citydwellers alleged.

Besides, many cyclists in Dhaka constantly face the risk of being mugged after dusk.

But the situation is particularly bad in a three-kilometre stretch of the Dhaka-Mymensingh Highway, popularly known as the Airport Road.

It is one of the busiest roads in the capital but the number of pedestrians is very low in this area. Moreover, passers-by often ignore pedestrians in distress and passengers of the buses or private cars do not stop to help people who are being mugged.

Muggers target lone cyclists from KhilkhetPolice Station to HazratShahjalal International Airport intersection in the evening and night.

Most of the cyclists are students and job-holders.

Victims said the muggers snatch their wallets, mobile phones, watches and laptops but leave the bicycles.

The muggers also stab cyclists if they try to resist. “I had heard about mugging incidents from my friends, but who knew that I, too, would become a victim,” said FarukHossen Rafi, the victim of a recent mugging incident.

“They stabbed me in my hand and took my wallet and laptop,” the private company employee said. “Basically, they target cyclists returning from work who usually have expensive phones, money and laptops.”

The muggers appear so desperate that they would not hesitate to kill people, Rafi said.

Only recently, cyclists who are victims of mugging have started lodging police complaints. Rafiqul Islam is one of them. He commutes using his bicycle. Recently, when returning from work, a group of snatchers attacked him.

They stabbed him and asked him to hand over his valuables. But the muggers left when they saw more cyclists approaching. “Initially, I did not file any complaints with police as the snatchers could not take anything from me,” he said.

After a number of complaints, a 10-member committee, comprisingcyclists and police officials from Khilkhet and airport stations, was formed on December 31 last year to prevent mugging in the three-kilometre stretch and identify hijackers.

Recently, a teenager was killed and another injured allegedly by muggers in Abdullapur area of Dhaka's Uttara.

The deceased, JisanHabib, 18, and injured,Ruhul Amin, 17, both residents of Sonaimuri upazila of Noakhali, were returning to Nabinagar from HazratShahjalal International Airport (HSIA) around 10:00pm by a local bus when the incident took place. They were visiting relatives in Dhaka and went to see off one of the relatives at the airport, the SI said.

Deputy Commissioner (DC) (media) of the Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) FaruqHossain said a good number of policemen -- both the uniform and plain-cloth detectives -- are working hard to catch the criminals, including muggers, snatchers, robbers and dope (agyan)party men. “Our forces working within the DMP jurisdiction have strictly been instructed to be alert against such criminals,” DC added.