A notification attributed to West Bengal government is doing rounds on social media, claiming that the state has announced a five-day holiday for Eid. Among the first to share it was the Twitter handle @SUNDARmyth on June 9 and also @vpalanisamy2010 on June 10 at 1:47 am. SV Palanisamy describes himself as a former office holder in BJP, Tamil Nadu. He accused the Mamata Banerjee-led government of turning West Bengal into an “Islamic State”. Palanisamy is followed by the official Twitter handle of minister of railways Piyush Goyal’s Office. The contents of the letter state that the West Bengal government has declared holiday from June 12 to June 15 for Eid celebrations.

The notification was also shared by one Dr Maheshwar Dutt. He too is followed on Twitter by Piyush Goyal’s Office. Dutt has now deleted his tweet but Alt News saved its archived link. His post was retweeted by columnist Renuka Dhar. Author and serving IAS officer Sanjay Dixit also shared the notification, terming West Bengal “Islamic State of West Bangladesh.” It was retweeted by more than 300 people. It has now been deleted.

Independent 24×7, a Bangla website also reported about the letter and the state government’s decision. The article later disappeared from the website. The archived link is available here.

On WhatsApp, this letter has been circulating along with a message berating the TMC government, accusing it of minority appeasement.

The notification in circulation is fake

After numerous people shared the notification claiming CM Banerjee has announced state government holiday from June 12 to 16 for Eid ul-Fitr, Kolkata police clarified that the notification is fake and the ones who have “masterminded this will be strictly dealt with as per law.”

The fake notification which is under the order of the Governor was posted with a letterhead of the West Bengal finance department and carried the purported signature of additional secretary Rajsekhar Bandyopadhyay. This can invite charges of forgery – a criminal offense under section 463 of the IPC.

West Bengal has a history of political violence, the state traditionally marred by bloody turf wars between political parties. However, the violence that has been witnessed in recent months is to a significant extent characterised by attempts at inciting religious sentiments. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee too has been in the crosshairs of fake news purveyors and rumour mongers who have sought to portray her as a Muslim and Bangladeshi sympathiser.

Fabricated images and/or videos with a communal undertone are commonplace on social media. Any information posted without a source, especially one with a malevolent narrative, should not be blindly trusted.

About the Author

Pooja Chaudhuri is a senior editor at Alt News.