Durga Puja, the biggest religious festival of Hindus in Bangladesh came to end amid tension and violence across the country. Hindu temples have been vandalized after the allegation of blasphemy in a local temple in Cumilla on Wednesday, 13th Oct.
The Bangladesh Police have identified and captured the man responsible for inciting the violence, which led to attacks, riots and protest across the country. Comilla’s Superintendent of Police Farooq Ahmed told The Dhaka Tribune that the suspect’s name is Iqbal Hossain.
Iqbal has confessed that he placed a copy of the Holy Quran on the lap of Hanuman, a Hindu God, at the Durga Puja mandap on Nanuardighi area of Comilla.
Another local person named Md Foyez Ahmed was held by the police for live streaming the incident on Facebook to spread the tension. “Foyez told the police that he circulated the matter to incite communal tension.” Said Md Rezwan Khan, Comilla’s Superintendent of Police.
The violence caused was so devastating that over 60 houses were damaged and at least 20 homes of Hindus were torched.
On Monday, 19th Oct, a group of students of Dhaka University joined hands with protesters of religious groups against the attacks and crimes happened during durga puja incident.
ISKCON also came forward and protests with other Hindu community members in Noakhali, Bangladesh
Who was behind the attack?
After such attacks and violence caused during durga puja, Jamaat-e-Islami is considered behind the orchestration of the violent attacks to cause communal violence and disrupt peace.
Moreover, the attacks began in Comilla, hours after a massive Jamaat rally walked through Dhaka after long. Talking about Jamaat-e-Islami, Bangladesh Jamat-e-Islami was the largest Islamist political party in Bangladesh. On 1st August, 2013, the Bangladesh Supreme Court declared the registration of Jamaat-e-Islami political party to be illegal, ruling that the party is unfit to contest national election
Since the ruthless pursuit of Islamist by the Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina Wazed, Jamaat have been operating mostly underground. But recently, Basher Kella (Fortress of Bamboo), the IT cell of Jamaat has gotten highly active in its anti-India, anti-Hindu propaganda. The IT cell of Jamaat mainly runs from the UK.
Another thing to consider is that the attacks in Comilla occurred in the bastion of local Awami League (AL) MP AKM Bahauddin Bahar, who is not in Bangladesh but apparently in Saudi Arabia for Hajj. It is really a tough scenario to carry out such violence in his area without his knowledge as Bahar is a strong leader. Even, local hindu of the area voted for Bahar in the last election.
Jamaat also gathered confidence and courage after the Sunni terrorist force Taliban occupied Afghanistan with force. Jamaat also created a slogan “Bangladesh Banega Afghanistan” to radicalise the youth towards ultra-conservative Islam and to oppose Sheikh Hasina government.
“The basic idea behind October 13 incident was to embarrass Bangladesh’s government credentials and force a reaction from India,” said a diplomat based in Dhaka
The Prime Minister statements on the attack
Sheikh Hasina is in the power as The Prime Minister of Bangladesh since Jan 2009. She also served under the same role in the year 1996 to 2001. She is considered as the longest serving prime minister in the history of Bangladesh.
After the violence broke out, The Prime Minister assured and promised to take strong actions against those who involved in provoking communal disturbance by putting Holy Quran at the feet of the Hindu God Hanuman at the Durga Puja event in Comilla.
Later while greeting members of the Hindu community she said, “We are getting a lot of information and of course we will find out who is behind it… Appropriate action will be taken against them, no matter which religion they belong to”.
“Some people only use their intellect for evil and tend to ruin things when they’re going very well. They try to create problems in the country at a time when Bangladesh is moving fast on the path of development,” said Hasina
“Those who cannot gain people’s trust and have no ideology tend to do this. It is one of their weaknesses. If we are all aware of this, action can be taken against them,” the PM added.
Eruption of Hate Speech
After the violence broke out, there were extensive postings on the incident on social media platforms which provoked disturbance across the country of Bangladesh and also in India.
Pictures and videos were spread on social media platforms along with misinformation, fake news and hate speech.
Bangladesh UN resident coordinator Mia Seppo also tweeted about the rise of Hate Speech on social media due to the recent attacks on Hindu.
Some people were also got arrested for inciting people over communal violence on social media platforms as told by Imran Khan, Assistant Director of the paramilitary force’s Legal and Media Wing.
Even the West Bengal government has alerted its district administrators, especially those bordering Bangladesh, against the misuse of social media and the spread of fake news and misinformation related to the attacks.
“Since 13.10.21, social media platforms have been flooded with posts of vandalism of Durga Puja pandals in Bangladesh. Centering these issues, districts along Indo-Bangla border have become hyper sensitive and the leaders of different Hindu fundamentalist organisations of India pro-active. You are requested to sensitise you officers and men under your control and keep sharp vigil to avoid any untoward incident,” read the message by the ADGP.
Tweets by Asansol Durgapur Police:
Hashtags went viral
Some hashtags on social media platforms also went viral which includes:
Timeline of the tweets indicates that tweets started on 14th Oct with the peak on 20th Oct and then decreased.
Word cloud on the hashtags of Bangladesh violence
Accounts who tweeted / replied mostly
As seen with our analysis there were many such accounts who were amplifying these hashtags with their posts, replies and re-tweets.
Account Link: https://twitter.com/BisojitD
Account Link: https://twitter.com/RudraDe63279568
It clearly shows how the communal violence was spread and how much it has affected to the minority of the country. It states an agenda behind this hideous act of disrupting harmony and peace and provoking hate. In this act, social media platforms worked as catalyst in spreading hate, fake and misleading news on the topic reaching to thousands of people online with multiple hashtags.