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International media runs misleading information on Bangladesh

Durga Puja, Bangladesh, ISKCON temple, ISKCON, Awami League, Digital Security Act, Tweet, Hindus

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International media runs misleading information on Bangladesh

Despite the fact of Bangladesh government’s sincerest efforts in combating religious extremism and ensuring protection to the members of religious minorities in the country, international media is being engaged in running misleading media assault, which would seriously damage Bangladesh’s reputation as a secularist nation. Writes Vijaya Laxmi Tripura

With international media’s continuous publication of misleading and even false information about recent incidents in Bangladesh, where several Hindu temple, Durga puja pandals and Hindu properties came under attacks by radical Islamic forces; dozens of Hindus in the country are continuing senseless propaganda on social media with imaginary and concocted information, which would tarnish the image of the country. Indian and Western media are running stories – mostly cooked-up or filled with twisted information with the ulterior agenda of misleading the international community about Bangladesh. Here is an example.

On October 16, 2021, Indian news outlet The Mint published a tweet by Iskcon, where the organization wrote: “ISKCON temple & devotees violently attacked in Noakhali, Bangladesh. Temple suffered significant damage & the condition of a devotee remains critical. We call on the Govt of Bangladesh to ensure the safety of all Hindus & bring the perpetrators to justice”. The organization tagged Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in it. This tweet was retweeted by almost 8,000 people, while many of the commentators left extremely offensive and objectionable comments in it.

Unfortunate fact is, although a large number of Indians have countered Iskcon’s tweet, none of the members of the cyber wing of the ruling Awami League took up this matter seriously and countered a large number of extremely offensive and defamatory comments on Bangladesh.

This is just one example. Majority of the Indian news media are continuing media offensives on Bangladesh publishing false or twisted information, clearly with the agenda of tarnishing the image of Awami League government and the country.

Meanwhile, large number of Hindus are seen publishing extremely derogatory statements on social media, especially Facebook. In some of these posts, Hindus are stating Bangladesh is no more their country, while others are publishing contents which only would incite communal violence. Although such acts are punishable under existing Digital Security Act in Bangladesh, the authorities concerned are yet to take any steps wither in stopping such notorious propaganda or initiate legal actions against these individuals. At the same time, once again, neither the online activists of the ruling Awami League are countering such orchestrated propaganda on social media.

Several members of Bangladesh’s entertainment industry are giving lead into anti-Bangladesh propaganda on social media, by publishing disturbing and instigative videos and photographs.

Commenting on provocative propaganda on social media and publication of untrue information in the international media, a media expert said, “Bangladesh government should immediately warn the people to refrain from such notoriety on social media. The government can publicize the warning through local television channels, radio stations and newspapers. This is a serious matter and the authorities concerned should not remain silent on this”.

The expert said, “In addition to taking steps in immediately stopping disturbing and communal propaganda on social media, Bangladesh government also needs to ask its missions in various countries to maintain regular contact with the members of the media and brief them about measures taken by the government in checking communal violence and bringing the perpetrators of crime [those who were behind the attacks on Hindu temples and properties] in the country. Bangladesh is a country of religious harmony and we should not allow anyone in creating anarchy and violence. We need to maintain the atmosphere of interfaith harmony”.

Commenting on Comilla incident, Bangladesh Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan said, it was planned for destroying the communal harmony of the country.

The minister said, “It appears to us that it was a motivated act instigated by a vested group”.

He also smelled provocations by ‘a third party’ in the sporadic violence in the country over Durga Puja.

Asked about the reason behind the Comilla incident, the minister said, “We’ll make it public once we get all the evidence and those who were involved in it will be given exemplary punishment.”

“Not only in Comilla, attempts were also made to destabilize the country through communal violence in Ramu and Nasirnagar”, he said.

“The people of Bangladesh are religious but, not fanatic. We never allowed militancy and terrorism on the soil of Bangladesh. We contained militancy and terrorism through united efforts”, the minister said.

Meanwhile according to Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan, no fresh incident of violence has been reported since Saturday night as security forces are working with patience and the government is working on information gathered by the intelligence agencies.

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