Just a few days back cross-sections of people came to know about a gruesome incident from a newspaper report. According to the report, a mother killed her two children and then committed suicide in Choto Diabari area in Darusallam, Mirpur in the capital.Murdered children Abdullah (3) and Shamima (5) were brutally beheaded by a sharp weapon and the assassin mother Anika (20) committed suicide by hanging herself. This incident happened just a few days after the Brahmanbaria occurrence, where a father named Saju Mia killed his ten-year-old son Md. Muzahid in Kurighar village under Nabinagar upazila. Later the killer Saju Mia was taken to police custody where he confessed that he also killed his two other sons Obaidul (3) and Rakib (3) 24 years and 10 years back respectively. Even he had tried to kill his only daughter couple of weeks ago. These types of occurrences happen frequently. If we look at the last year, we could find that many children were killed by their parents. Some of them created huge panic among the mass. Among them, on December 12 in last year, Marzina Akhtar Mukta (23), wife of expatriate Tarek Mahmud, committed suicide after killing her son Mahin Ahmed (4) and daughter Tasnim Ahmed Mahi (8) in West Ukilpara area in Feni. On October 24, one Satir Ali killed his two sons Masum (11) and Rujel (7) at Chintamoni village under Osmaninagar upazila in Sylhet. On October 9, a woman named Yanur was arrested after she choked her son Rabiul Mia (5) to death at Palashbari in Ashulia of Savar. On April 18, Nihal Sadik, an 18-month-old boy, was stabbed to death by her mother Fahmida Mir Mukti at their home in the capital’s Uttarkhan area. On February 28, a report was published that a mother killed a sibling in Banasree area in the capital. In that incident, their mother Mahfuza Malek Jasmine made a confession that the siblings Nusrat Jahan Oroni (14) and her brother Alvi Aman (6) were strangled to death by her.
Beside the afore-mentioned criminal acts there are many other incidents that happened during the last couple of years. The statistics provided by Bangladesh Shisu Adhikar Forum (BSAF) mentioned that rogue parents killed 40 children in 2014. The figure rose to 41 in 2015 and 64 last year. A rapid rise of such deaths is hitting an alarming level. But what are the reasons behind such changes where the safer laps (mother’s or father’s) are turning into an unsafe place? Is family dispute the only reason?
Mekhala Sarkar, Assistant Professor (Psychiatry), National Institute of Mental Health, opined that, a person does not commit suicide or kills loved ones over a single incident. It is the result of persistent flow of dissatisfaction, which culminates in total behavioural change.
It is true that killing own children is not normal for a mother. But it happens. May be it happens because of frustration or depression or for the feeling of insecurity. When a mother thinks that she has no value in society, she takes her life and before doing that, she kills her children thinking that they may fall in greater troubles in her absence. Here another fact may indirectly influence the rogue parents. Earlier, people used to live in joint families in which members had strong bonding and cared for each other. Now, joint families are on the verge of extinction, people live in nuclear families and are always busy securing a better position in the society. As a result, the interpersonal relations between parents and children are deteriorating day by day. Widespread use of technology is also responsible for slackening social relationship. Heavy engagement of kids with technological devices keeps them away from their relatives.
The society is becoming individualistic. Values are decaying, violation is spreading out, and so the feeling of insecurity is also growing with the course of time.
Furthermore, nowadays we are having problems in maintaining a proper relationship with family members in the consumerism-based economic growth where earning more and more money is turning to be the main priority of the people. This results in the deterioration of social values and responsibilities. It is creating restlessness among us and damaging our social relations. Children are often becoming victims of these imbalanced and sudden changes in the society.
Parents often vent the stress they face at work or in everyday life on their children. The deterioration of law and order and the failure to prosecute murder cases of children are sowing the seeds of violence in the country. The depressed people tend to think negatively and, after a certain period of time, all of their decisions and thoughts get affected by the depression, often resulting in violent outburst.
In most of the cases, satellite TV programmes, which are not related to our culture and values, are directly instigating violence in our society. The programmes show quarrels and fights within the families. Unfortunately, such programmes are popular among our viewers. And, observations have found that blaming complexity between the husbands and wives, frustrations, financial constraints, family disputes, extramarital relationships and other family grievances are increasing owing to the contents telecast in the daily soaps that ultimately lead the viewers to a psychological stage when they kill their beloved children.
Certainly, we are going through a hostile period. We are becoming more civilized in many ways. But, do we take proper care of our mental health? For instance- after giving birth to a child a women may face different problems like depression and frustration, but in our society, we don’t consider these as problems at all. But when we experience the outburst of the aftermaths, we talk much about it. In many cases, frustrated parents do not get proper counselling and support from their families and relatives. They might have killed their beloved children thinking that their problems would be solved through killing. How frustration affects will be clear if we cite an example. On June 20, 2001, a tragic and shocking case of killing five children in a Houston, Texas suburb drowned by their mother, Andrea Yates, grabbed the attention of millions of people. Until the terrible events, Russell and Andrea Yates and their five children were the kind of family that a Ronald Reagan might have pointed to as a model for America. Yates was initially awarded capital punishment for murder, but she appealed, citing a long history of mental illness and claiming postpartum psychosis– a severe episodes of mental illness, which begins suddenly in the days or weeks after having a baby. Symptoms vary and can change rapidly, that includes high mood (mania), depression, confusion, hallucinations and delusions. She was then released considering his medical condition. She now lives as a recluse in Kerrville State Hospital in Texas.
Now, time has come to take all those probabilities into consideration to stop such killings and to build a stronger and happier society. It is also true that many other children are being killed spiritually in many families by overlooking their needs. So, the society must work towards achieving a healthy society where parents’ laps are nothing but a safe refuge for the children.