Culture of impunity creates people like Salim Osman

Zia Rahman, chairman of the Department of Criminology, University of Dhaka, tells
Culture of impunity creates people like Salim Osman
Published : 21 May 2016, 04:37:37
Culture of impunity creates people like Salim Osman
Kamruzzaman Reza
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Crime can not be removed from society in a day. Crime can be controlled in different ways. It seems that the crime continues to rise across the country due to some recent unexpected incidents.
Why this kind of crime is happening? What is the reason behind it? And, what is the way out from it? wanted to know the answers of these issues from Zia Rahman, chairman of the Department of Criminology at the University of Dhaka. 
He thinks culture of impunity has been created people like Salim Osman in our country. 
The issue of criminology is new in our country. The criminology department was officially launched at Dhaka University in 2014. bbarta shares the expert’s opinion with its valued readers.
bbarta: People in our country are not familiar with the theme criminology. Could you please explain it? 
Zia Rahman: The main topic of criminology is ‘why people commit crimes’. Mainly criminology discusses on three topics-- violent crime, property crime and victimless crime. Besides, we teach our student what is the difference between the types of crimes in Bangladesh and western countries. Policing, courts, prisons are included in these. We also discuss the role and activities of the police as well as the arena of their work. We teach the students about court and prison. We discuss how the court is run and the problems of the court. We also teach how prevention is done. Also, we discuss different issues related with crimes.
bbarta: Why do people commit crimes, why do they get involved in criminal activities leaving normal life? Who is responsible for this, the person himself or his family, society or the state? 
Zia Rahman: Caesar Lamabraso is called the father of modern criminology. According to him, people are involved in crimes due to the physical structure. In his study, he showed that besides physical structure people commit crimes due to changes in the society. Besides these, people commit crimes due to psychological problem, family structure and social factor. The study also said if someone could not achieve his or her desire due to lack of proper resource, he or she seeks illegal ways to achieve his goal and get involved in crime. Now, the social factors are being considered as the causes of crimes. 
bbarta: In western countries they are trying to turn the prisons into correction centres. But, is it possible to change a criminal? 
Zia Rahman: Well, if the moral side of a person is still there, it is possible to change the criminal by reinforcing his ethics through counseling. If the criminal feels guilty in jail for his misdeed, it is possible to arrange psychological motivation for him. He will be able to change himself. 
At the same time, if the prison can create an environment that leads the criminal to good-thinking space, he or she could be able to change himself or herself. If we notice different types of societies and types of crimes, we would see that the liability of crimes not only depend on the criminals. Activities of the society and the state also lead him towards criminal activiteies.
bbarta: How someone becomes a criminal? Is it by birth or social influence?
Zia Rahman: People became criminal by birth before but this is obsolete now. At the present time, it is considered that society is main reason and family can influence it. If the families play positive roles the rate of crimes will go down.Now, people are being influenced by Indian TV shows. Poverty is another reason why people commit misdeeds.
bbarta: Punishment or rehabilitation—which is more effective to prevent crimes?
Zia Rahman: If there were not many rules to prevent citizens from committing crimes the rateof it would go up. Besides punishment, for a sustainable healthy society prevention programme is very important. I there is no alternative to prevention.
bbarta: We are seeing so many different kinds of crimes around us. How do you look at it?
Zia Rahman: Well, we divide these types of crimes in different categories. First one is petty theft—financial, which people because of poverty. Second one is violent crime. When people’s needs are not met in the society and institutions of the state are not functional, they are more likely to commit violent crimes. The third one is social inequality. There are social inequality and division in our society. Powerful and influential persons crimes are ignored. On the other hand, general people’s petty crimes are highlighted. More crimes are committed due to this social inequality. Also, social changes, unhealthy relationship between male and female, militancy, absence of social justice are other kinds of crimes.
bbarta: According to many, the culture of impunity is the main reason behind rising crime rates. What is your opinion?
Zia Rahman: I think that it is the main cause and very normal. The culture of impunity has created people like Salim Osman and creating more like him. With political and social development, infrastructure of the state’s institutions were not improved which has made this culture.
bbarta: Does criminology department plays any role to control crime or should it plan to?
Zia Rahman: Of course, we help to control crimes through our research. In this field criminology plays a key role. To do this there is no alternative to criminology research.

Editor : Bani Yasmin Hasi

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