Several images that portray the aftermath of a fire accident have gone viral on social media with the claim that six grocery shops owned by Hindus were set on fire in Kadhurkhil village of Boalkhali Upazila of Chittagong in Bangladesh.

Twitter account Voice Of Bangladesh posted these images with the same claim. The tweet was later deleted. (Archived link)

Epaper Sanatan Prabhat also reported this story. The report cited the tweet by Voice of Bangladesh as a source.

Facebook page সনাতন একতা মঞ্চ (Sanatan Ekta Manch) posted these images with hashtags #SaveBangladeshiHindhu and #savebangladeshihindustemple. The post has also named three Hindu people- Rony De, Dolon, and Parimal Debnath as the owners of the shops that burned down.

বোয়ালখালী উপজেলার পোপাদিয়া ইউনিয়ন
৩ নং ওর্য়াড কধুরখীল উচ্চ বিদ্যালয়ের পাশে গতপরশু রাত ৩ টায় ৫টি দোকান পুড়ে ছাই হয়ে…

Posted by সনাতন একতা মঞ্চ on Thursday, 4 August 2022

Fact-Check

Through a keyword search of the place mentioned in the viral claims on Google, Alt News found that several Bangladeshi media outlets have reported on this incident.

According to Jago News’ report, on August 2 at around 4 a.m., a massive fire took place near Kadhurkhali Government High School in which five shops and three goats were burnt to ashes. A grocery shop, a salon, two vegetable shops, and a cooling corner were burnt down. Furthermore, several media outlets including Dainik Azadi, Chattogram News, Chattogram Khobor, and Jago News named two of the shop-owners as Md. Muharram and Md. Karim who are Muslims.

We found a video of the incident on Facebook uploaded by a Boalkhali local named S M Arif. The video was uploaded at 8:49 a.m. i.e., four hours after the incident occurred. The video is captioned “আজ ভোরের দিকে কধুরখীল স্কুলের পশ্চিম দিকে থাকা সব দোকান আগুনে পুড়ে গেছে।” (Translation: All the shops on the western side of Kadhurkhil School were burnt down early in the morning today.) Many people inquired the reason behind the fire, to which the user replied that the fire was possibly from an electrical short-circuit.

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Boalkhali Fire Service Leader Haider Hossain said in a statement to Jago News, “We’re speculating an electrical short-circuit as the cause of the fire. Boalkhali fire service personnel came and brought the fire under control after the locals reported the fire.” Roni Roy, whose grocery shop burnt down in the fire, also spoke to Jago News. He said, “I lost three goats, a motorcycle, and all the goods in the shop. I had taken a loan to buy these items. This fire has forced me to beg on the streets now.”

Alt News spoke to an officer of the Boalkhali Fire Service Station who confirmed that shops owned by Muslims and Hindus were burnt in the fire. When asked about the cause of the fire, they said that it is still an ongoing investigation but in all likelihood, it was an electrical fire.

Thus, images from the aftermath fire accident at Boalkhali Upazila of Chittagong, Bangladesh were circulated on social media with the claim that six grocery shops owned by Hindus were deliberately set on fire. In reality, shops of both Muslims and Hindus got burnt in the fire. Preliminary investigation suggests that it was due to an electrical short circuit.

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About the Author

Student of Economics at Presidency University. Interested in misinformation.