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Perilous Plight of Modern-Day Vikings

May 29, 2014

When I first read the news, it made my hair stand on end! It was so shocking and horrifying.

Four jobless young men, hailed from various parts of Narsinghdi , set off for Malaysia in a risky boat journey that can only compare with Vikings’ trips to distant lands.

But the modern-day Vikings could not make it. They starved and died in the perilous journey. Traffickers, whom they gave thousands of Taka or promised to give the money only after they make it to Malaysia, had slit open their abdomen and threw their dead bodies into the sea. In that journey, 22 other men from various districts of Bangladesh met the tragic death.

They were fortunate of the unfortunates in the sense that at least we knew what happened to them. But there are hundreds of others like them who have gone missing since they set out on a similar Viking journey. The news report says families of at least 200 young men who set sail for Malaysia have no news about their whereabouts.

Incidents of such perilous journeys are not new. Stateless Rohingyas and poor Bangladeshis from the region of Chittagong usually take such risky trip with the aid of rackets of smugglers and traffickers, operating in the coastal areas of Chittagong and Cox’s Bazar. When their boat capsized or was seized by marine patrol of foreign countries, they became news items to Bangladeshi media.

But, this time, desperate jobless young men —–sometimes lured by the traffickers, sometimes inspired by emigrant neighbor’s fortune and sometimes lack of opportunities at home—-from the bottom rungs of society and from various parts of Bangladesh are increasingly taking clandestine sea route to go to their dream destination, Malaysia.

The local authorities generally remains in the dark about this whole fishy Viking affair unless the ‘Vikings’ get caught in the act by foreign Navies or meet a tragic end. Relatives of the ‘Vikings’ hold back from informing the Police as it may call down traffickers’ wrath on them or on rest of the surviving members of the journey.

Recently, a news report, based on a survey of Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, has depicted a gloomy scenario on county’s unemployment situation. According to the report, the number of unemployed people is increasing at a rate of 5.29 %. If the trend continues, then next year the number of the jobless people will be 3.3 million. There is little or no effective plan from the govt. to create opportunities for them.

Ground realities are indeed grimmer. This incident is the latest of many less reported or unnoticed tragedies. Despite recrudescence of this kind of tragedies, govt, which makes out to be a guardian and protector of the have-nots, has done little to end such clandestine journey. Its sheer inaction is only helping to create silent tragedies.

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From → Analysis

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