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A 13-Year-Old Boy's Horrific Death Becomes Viral Facebook Video in Bangladesh

"We Demand Justice for 13-year-old Rajon." A Facebook cover photo going viral among Bangladeshis.

“We demand justice for 13-year-old Rajon.” A Facebook cover photo going viral among Bangladeshis.

A Facebook video of a boy being beaten to death earlier this month has gone viral and sparked a social outcry in Bangladesh. Samiul Alam Rajon, 13 years old, had allegedly stolen a rickshaw van and was recorded by one of his suspected assailants while being tortured. The son of a driver, Rajon had studied up to grade four at a local primary school and was a vegetable vendor.

A shorter version of the 28-minute-long video is available on YouTube (viewer discretion advised). The video was shot with a mobile phone showing Rajon being tied to a pole in Sundar Ali Market while five or six people torture him. Rajon screams and begs for mercy and water while his torturers laugh and swear at him. He was hit several times on his head, stomach and nails with a stick.

Blogger Arif Jebtik commented on the disturbing video:

ভিডিওটা ভেসে আসা খবরের উপরে লেখা, ‘আমি মরি যাইরাম, আমারে কেউ বাঁচাও রে বা’।
আহারে অবোধ শিশু, ক্লান্ত গলায় শেষবারের মতো আকূতি করে বলছে, ‌’আমারে কেউ বাঁচাও রে বা’।
[..]
আজ সারাটাদিন বড্ড অগোছালো গেছে।
অফিসে কাজ করতে চাই-কানে ভাসে ‘আমারে কেউ বাঁচাও রে বা।’
সন্ধ্যায় ইফতার করতে গেছি এক জায়গায়, খাবার গলা দিয়ে নামে না, কানে ভাসে ”আমারে কেউ বাঁচাও রে বা।
[..]
আমি আজ রাতে ঘুমাতে পারব না, আজ রাতে বারবার শুনব ‘আমারে কেউ বাঁচাও রে বা।’
কিন্তু কাল রাতে ঠিকই ঘুমাব, পরশুদিনও।
[..]
শুধু ছোট্ট রাজন নয়, গোটা জাতি মিনতি করে বলছে, ‘আমি মরি যাইরাম, আমারে কেউ বাঁচাও রে বা’-আমরা জাতির সন্তান, নিজেরা জঙ্গলের পশুর মতো নিজেদের ভেতরে কুৎসিত প্রতিহিংসা আর মমত্বহীন বোধ নিয়ে দুইপেয়ে পশুর পাল,
শুধু ফেসবুকের স্ট্যাটাসে নিজেকে মহৎ প্রমানের দিনমান চেষ্টা করে যাব।
আমরা কেউ কান পেতে শুনব না, আমরা প্রত্যেকেই মরে গেছি, আমরা প্রত্যেকে পশু হয়ে গেছি, আমাদের মনের অনেক গহীনে মনুষত্ব কেঁদে কেঁদে বলছে, ‘আমি মরি যাইরাম, আমারে কেউ বাঁচাও রে বা’।

On the news they are showing the video with a transcription “I will die, somebody please save me.” Oh adolescent child, we hear your last cry in a tired voice, “Somebody please save me”.
[..]
I was very disoriented that day.
While working at the office, I heard, “Somebody please save me”.
I was invited to an iftar meal that evening and I could not eat, his voice kept crying in my ears: “Somebody please save me”.
[..]
I will probably not be able to sleep tonight. I will hear “somebody please save me” repeatedly. But I will probably sleep tomorrow. maybe even the day after tomorrow.
[..]
Not only little Rajon, but the whole nation is begging, “I will die, somebody please save me.” We, the children of the nation, bear with us animal-like vengeance and unsympathetic minds and only try to glorify our deed with a Facebook status.
But we will not hear [the cries of Razon]. We all have died, have become beasts. The humanity in us is crying “I will die, somebody please save me.”

Sabhanaz Rashid Dia was outraged that people shared the video on Facebook:

২৮ মিনিটি ধরে একটা শিশুকে পিটিয়ে মারা হচ্ছে, তা কল্পনা করলে আমার শরীর শিউরে উঠে। তাই এই মুহুর্তে ফেসবুকের “most shared” ভিডিওটি আমি এখনো দেখে উঠতে পারিনি। তবে যেখানে আমাদের চারপাশটাই “লাইক” আর “শেয়ার” দিয়ে ভরে গিয়েছে, সেখানে সত্যি কি আমরা আশেপাশের “মানুষ”-গুলোর আচরণকে অকল্পনীয় বলতে পারি?

They are beating a child to death for 28 minutes, I am terrified only hearing this. So I could not manage to watch the “most shared” video on Facebook. When expressions and reactions to our surroundings have become to “like” and “share”, what can we really say about the actions of the “humans” who shared this video?

She added:

আর যারা চিৎকার করে বলছেন খুনিদের বিনা বিচারে ঠিক একই ভাবে মেরে ফেলা উচিত, তাদেরকে প্রশ্ন করছি, আপনি আর ঐ লোকগুলোর ভেতর পার্থক্য কী? খুনের জবাব কখনো আরেকটি খুন দিয়ে হবে না। যেভাবেই হোক, সেটাকে বিচারপ্রক্রিয়ার ভেতর নিয়ে আসতে হবে।

যে যেখানে আছি, সেখানে দাঁড়িয়ে অনেককিছুই করার আছে। হোক সেটা আমাদের পরিবারের কোন জনপ্রতিনিধিকে বারবার মনে করিয়ে দেওয়া, হোক সেটা রাস্তায় নেমে আন্দোলন করা।

And those who are crying out in revenge that the perpetrators should be killed this way (eye for an eye), I am asking them what is the difference between those people and you? The response to a killing would not be another wanton killing. We must bring this to trial.

We can do a lot of things from where we stand. We can go into the streets to protest or remind our lawmakers that something needs to be done.

Locals caught Muhith Alam, 22, while he was taking the body in a microbus to dump and turned him over to police on July 8. Authorities have filed a case against four people in the murder. The accused are siblings Muhith Alam and Kamrul Islam, who are siblings; Moyna Miaand; and Ali Haider.

Rajon's mother said her son was not a thief and demanded punishment of those involved in his death. A protest will take place on July 13, in the capital Dhaka, to speak out against such brutality.

Apparently, such violence over stealing allegations is not uncommon in Bangladesh. A simple Google search shows  at least 20 cases from November 2013 to July 2015. As Facebook user Haseeb Mahmud pointed out:

চোর সন্দেহে লোকজন পিটিয়ে মেরে ফেলা আবহমান বাংলার সংস্কৃতির একটা অংশ। এইবেলা ভিডিও করে সেটা অনলাইনে তুলে দেয়াতে হয়তো লোকজনের খারাপ লাগছে বেশি। চিন্তার কিছু নেই। অচিরেই এসব লাইভ দেখতে পাবেন আপনারা। একটা ঝটিকা তালিকা দেই। এই দিনগুলোতে মিডিয়াতে চোর সন্দেহে পিটিয়ে মেরে ফেলার খবর এসেছে। …

Suspected thieves beaten to death have almost become a tradition in Bangladesh. This time the video being online, the peoples’ outcry is heard much more. The way things are going, you can see many of these incidents live.

The remark was followed by a list of dates and places. No official estimates exist of such incidents. Most of the time, the news was not highlighted or even followed up by the mainstream media, neither picked up by social media. Many of the cases are not recorded and the perpetrators get away with the crime due to social injustice, our goldfish memories and the ineffectiveness of law enforcement agencies.

11 comments

  • […] The outcry in Bangladesh is deafening. A protest is scheduled in the capital city later this week. There have been at least twenty such beatings over theft accusations in the last two years. Facebook user Haseeb Mahmud said: […]

  • […] about a 13-year-old boy from Bangladesh who got murdered and the video was posted on Facebook. http://globalvoicesonline.org/2015/07/13/a-13-year-old-boys-horrific-death-becomes-viral-facebook-vi… was the site where I saw this news. The boy was allegedly murdered for stealing a rickshaw van. […]

  • Jerry

    It just boggles the mind just how depraved our human species has become, after seeing this poor soul crying and in pain and no one coming to his rescue, I was unable to muster the strength to watch the video – can any good come of this??

  • […] by Palash Ranjan Sanyal · comments (3) Donate · Share this: twitter facebook reddit […]

  • probirbidhan

    Police today pressed charges against 13 persons including Kamrul in the case.

  • […] Bangladesh has the fourth-highest rate of child marriage in the world and rising levels of child abuse:  a total of 968 children were abused and killed in last three-and-a-half years according to […]

  • […] Bangladesh has the fourth-highest rate of child marriage in the world and rising levels of child abuse:  a total of 968 children were abused and killed in last three-and-a-half years according to […]

  • […] Bangladesh has the fourth highest rate of child marriage in the world and rising levels of child abuse: a total of 968 children were abused and killed in last three and a half years, according to […]

  • […] Bangladesh has the fourth highest rate of child marriage in the world and rising levels of child abuse: a total of 968 children were abused and killed in last three and a half years, according to […]

  • Michael Chand

    4 hour torture . This is fucked up . 13 year old child gone .
    The culprits lawyer are saying he did not mean to kill him it was accidental.
    He was a thief. Screw the bike one of the guys Moyna Mia was trying to rape him when
    Rajon said no he was set up by Moyna and Muhit who is Kamruls brother .
    Why did they all hit him that is what bugs me for 4 hours until he died ,.

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