This year during the celebration of Durga Puja, biggest religious festival of Bangali Hindus saw some extremely unfortunate incidents, including act of vandalizing and ransacking of Hindu temples and properties as well as demolition of deities. The whole incident started following an incident in a temporary puja pandal in Comilla city. It is well assumed that anti-state elements and religious bigots belonging to Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), Jamaat-e-Islami and Hefazat-e-Islam were behind the Comilla incident as well as countrywide notoriety, which had hampered the atmosphere of celebration. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has immediately instructed the intelligence and law enforcement agencies to take stern measures against the perpetrators of these crimes. Accordingly, several cases have already been lodged while law enforcement agencies are working tirelessly in identifying and arresting the culprits. It was also reported in the media that a convicted criminal and terror-financier named Shahid Uddin Khan is one of the instigators behind the recent notoriety on Hindu temples and properties. He has been spending large amount of cash in creating total anarchy in Bangladesh with his ulterior agenda of destabilizing the country and illegally unseating Awami League government.
Meanwhile, according to sources, vested interest groups are continuing nefarious propaganda on social media with the agenda of disrupting religious harmony in the country and pushing the nation towards communal riots. During the past 24 hours, reporters of this newspaper have already identified dozens of posts on Facebook, where various individuals are seen making frantic bids of maligning the image of Bangladesh thus branding the country as Islamist while some of these people are also going further by branding Muslims as devils.
Senseless propaganda on social media
Amid reports of vandalism and clashes centering on “insults to religious sentiment” during the Durga Puja celebrations in Bangladesh, photos and videos of the violence are being circulated by a fake Twitter page, according to Indian fact-finding platform Newschecker.
Headquartered in Delhi, the platform on Thursday reported that alongside Twitter users, leading Indian media outlets– Times Now, Scroll.in, India Today, The Print and OpIndia – also cited the tweets put out by the twitter page.
The account (@UnityCouncilBD) claims to be the official twitter page of the Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council or the bhbcop.org, in its bio.
The page gained prominence in the hours following the vandalism of the Durga Puja pandal in Comilla, with several prominent people retweeting the videos and images that it shared with sharply worded captions, some even provocative.
The cover image of the page also shows leaders of various faiths, including the Pope, among Hindu, Buddhist and Islamic leaders. The page also carries a verified badge (the blue tick), further lending to its authenticity.
It is also followed by senior leaders who support the BJP, including Arun Yadav (state in-charge for BJP Haryana IT department), Shefali Vaidya, author and columnist, psychologist and political commentator Pradeep Bhandari, Suresh Chavhanke of Sudarshan news and R Jagannathan of Swarajya among others.
Newschecker found the contact information of the office bearers of the organization through its Facebook page. Speaking to Newschecker, Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council General Secretary Rana Das Gupta denied that the page represented them.
Advocate Deepankar Ghosh, the organizing secretary of the Council’s central committee, said: “We do not have any Twitter page. The page in reference does not belong to us. We have contacted our local authorities regarding the matter and have filed a legal complaint”.
The council’s IT expert Suvra Dev Kumar further confirmed to Newschecker that the organization only has digital presence on three platforms – a website, a Facebook page and a news portal – and that the Twitter page did not belong to them.
“We have sent a letter to the telecommunication regulatory authority and the Home Ministry of Bangladesh to take down the twitter page” Kumar added.
On October 13, 2021, days before the Comilla incident, an actress, who also holds a post in Awami League wrote in her Facebook ID:
“From now on, I will extend my wishes to only those of my friends from different religion who wish me in my festivities. Although we feel happy to claim ourselves communal but such festivals shows how communal we actually are. I don’t want to brag about my or any religion because, I believe, it reflects our narrow-minded nature. And this is not something I have been taught throughout my life. But to my surprise, it feels extremely bad when I don’t see my friends, colleagues or my acquaintances wishing me on my festivals although I never miss to wish them in their festivals. The respect towards each other’s religion isn’t mutual, I feel bad. But interestingly, they are the ones who continuously talk about secularism here and there. Actually, we all want to believe that we are communal although the reality is something else…”
Onwards the same actress has been publishing posts which would seriously hamper the communal harmony in Bangladesh. She even published several photographs of the vandalism on Hindu temples in Chittagong, which were later deleted.
Similar posts are seen on the Facebook IDs of many other members of the Bangladesh drama sector. They also are using hashtags etcetera clearly with the nefarious agenda of tarnishing the image of Bangladesh internationally. It is well assumed that anti-government elements are using these individuals in spreading hate speech and propaganda.
For obvious reason, people behind such posts should have been warned by the government as continuation of such notorious trends would ultimately dampen Bangladesh’s secularist image and undermine the praiseworthy actions taken by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her government.
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