Fake videos being used to create communal tension: Bangladesh home minister
Bangladesh home minister Asaduzzaman Khan on Tuesday said that a group with “vested interests” was circulating fake videos on social media to create communal tension in the country following the attacks on Hindus during Durga Puja.
Khan cited the example of a video showing a gruesome murder in Dhaka being projected as footage of the killing of Jatan Kumar Saha in Noakhali during last week’s communal clashes.
The minister, who was interacting with reporters at a programme titled “Technological Modernisation of Rab (Rapid Action Battalion)”, confined his comments to how the misleading video had gone viral in Bangladesh.
Across the border, a strikingly similar video clip was doing the rounds in Bengal. The clip has a tagline saying how Jatan Saha, a Hindu Grand Alliance activist, was murdered in a temple at Noakhali.
Several BJP leaders, such as Debdas Mondal, general secretary, Bongaon Organisational district of the party, shared the video on Monday, seeking justice for the deceased.
In Bangladesh, minister Khan explained that the 30-second clip he was referring to was of a May 16 incident in Dhaka’s Pallabi area over a property dispute.
“But a group with vested interests is circulating it, calling it the footage of the killing of Jatan Kumar Saha in Noakhali, who died in the recent clashes.… This is being done with the intention of creating communal tension. We condemn such actions,” Khan said.
Biplob Borua, office secretary of the Bangladesh Awami League and a special assistant to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, said the footage showed the murder of one Shahin, in his forties, who was hacked to death by a machete-wielding duo over the property dispute.
Borua said: “This video had gone viral even when the incident had taken place.… The law-enforcement agencies had arrested the people involved in the murder and all of them are still behind bars. The attempt to pass off the same video as that of a killing inside a temple is nothing but a sinister plan to create communal disharmony,” Borua said.
In Calcutta, Samik Bhattacharya, the chief spokesperson of the state BJP, was asked to comment on the veracity of the video that some party leaders had been sharing on social media.
Bhattacharya said: “This is one of the dark sides of social media. It wasn’t shared to propagate hate. People here are scared and hence must have shared this video, which anyway has originated from Bangladesh. However, one must be very cautious and careful about sharing such videos.”
According to Borua, the investigative agencies have begun a probe to find out the people who had brought out the old video and circulated it in Bangladesh.
Police sources in Dhaka said the preliminary investigations by Rab indicated the involvement of some IDs in Calcutta. “We are trying to trace the Bangladeshis who made the video go viral after it was uploaded by some people in Calcutta,” said a source.
The situation in Bangladesh remained calm on Tuesday as no major incident of attack on minorities was reported. Prime Minister Hasina took stock of the situation at a cabinet meeting and asserted that the people behind the attacks on the minorities would not be spared.