The administration in Bangladesh’s Comilla district have deployed subsyantial units of security forces to thwart an attempt to provoke communal disturbances around the Hindu festival of Durga Puja.
Officials told News9live some miscreants planted a copy of the Holy Quran at the feet of God Ganesh in the Durga pantheon at Nanuyar Dighir Par Mandap in Comilla on Tuesday night .
” The miscreants took some pictures and ran away. Within a few hours, using Facebook , the news spread like wildfire with the provocative pictures,” said a district official.
Angry mobs smashed Puja pandals at Nanuyar Dighir Par and few other places in Comilla .
It was later found that the picture of Ganesh resembled Hanuman which is never a part of the Durga pantheon.
The Bangladesh Hindu Unity Council tried to douse the inflamable sitiation by issuing statements through Facebook.
” We would like to say to our Muslim brothers , do not believe the rumours .We respect the Qu’ran. There is no need for Qu’ran in Durga Puja. This is someone conspiring to create a riot. There will be a fair investogation. Please dont attack any more Hindu temples’ said a statement of the Bangladesh Hindu Unity Council , circulated widely through the Facebook.
Ruling Awami League workers led by a woman leader Aysha Zaman Shimu swung into action alongwith police to cordon off the Durga Puja pandals and Hindu temples . Later in the day, more units of security forces were deployed in Commilla town and other sensitive areas of the district and elsewhere in the region.
” The situation is now under control,” district officials said.
” The Islamist Opposition of BNP and Jamaat e Islami are responsible for this mischief because they want a communal riot to discredit our government and cause bilateral problems with India. They tried the same tactics when Indian PM Modi visited Bangladesh,” said Aysha Zamam Shimu who is organising secretary of the party’s women wing Mohila League in Comilla.
She told News9Live the Islamist radicals are trying to fan communal disturbances to discredit and oust the Awami League .
” They started with agitations to stop installation of statues of founder Bongobondhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman on grounds it is un-Islamic. Then they used the Modi visit to work up frenzy. All those agitations were crushed, so now they are targetting the Durga Puja,” Aysha Zaman said.
She said party volunteers have been mobilised to protect Hindu temples and ‘ all troublemakers will be firmly dealt with.”
Shimu , a lawyer by profession, demanded an immediate enquiry beginning with analysis of the CCTV.
Awami League social media coordinator Tanmoy Ahmed expressed angst at the role of Facebook, through which the provocative messages of ‘ insulting Qu’ran” were spread , using some accounts like Juelpradoxical and Sk Media .
Ahmed said the Facebook refused to block these accounts despite repeated complaints that these were beibg used to whip up communal tensions and could lead to considerable public disorder.
But Facebook refused to block these accounts , instead offering the complainants to use the platform for ‘ counter-speech in form of accurate information to create a safer environment.’
” But Facebook must cooperate with government to prevent breakdown of public order and it is important for them to tighten their Community Hate standards,” said former junior Telecom minister Tarana Halim.
Bangladesh’s leading editor Gazi Nasiruddin Khokan lashed out at Facebook for its refusal to block the hate messages .
” If one analyses all recent communal conflagrations in Bangladesh, one cannot escape the huge role of Facebook in fanning the flames. It is the most potent carrier of hate messages which aggravtes communal frenzy in turbulent situations by pouring oil in fire,” said Khokan who edits Bengali daily ” Desh Rupantor”.