A photo of a man tied to a tree and covered in blood is widely being shared as a photo of Jitendra Kanti Guha, who is a local Hindu leader in Bangladesh’s Chittagong. The photo is being shared with the claim that Guha was attacked in a barbaric fashion by Mohammed Jasim, the local leader of the Awami League, for refusing to be a part of an iftar party. The incident has been given communal overtones.

The photo was shared on Twitter by Rashmi Sawant, the former president of the Oxford University Students’ Union, who was asked to resign from her position after allegations of racism were made against her.

Many verified Twitter handles such as @shashank_ssj, @TrulyMonica, @rajgopal88, and @MajorPoonia have also shared photos of this incident with the same claim.

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The photos are also viral on Facebook with the same claim.

Fact-check

We performed a keyword search on Google and came across various news reports about the incident. According to a report by United News of India (UNI), Jitendra Kanti Guha is a prominent Hindu leader from Bangladesh’s South Chittagong. Guha is the Vice-President of Bangladesh’s Hindu Buddhist Christian Oikya Parishad in Chittagong South and also a former president of the local Awami League.

According to the report by UNI, the incident took place in front of the Gauchia Community Centre at Brahmanghata in Haidgaon at noon on April 29. An “Iftar mahfil” and discussion meeting was organised by the Haidgaon Union Awami League at Gauchia Community Centre. However, Union Parishad (UP) chairman BM Jasim was not invited to the Iftar mahfil. It is believed that the lack of invitation angered the local councilman and his followers and they attacked the venue.

Speaking to UNI, Shahidul Islam Zulu, joint convener of Haidgaon Union Awami League, said, “The Union Awami League did not invite Jasim to the Iftar party as he was elected as the rebel candidate of the ruling Awami League. He got angry and came to the venue with 30-40 people and started abusing different people including Mahmudul Haque Hafez, convener of the Union Awami League.”

As per The Daily Star, the incident occurred due to rivalry within the party. The report also reiterated that the workers of Hayndgaon Union Parishad Chairman carried out the attack due to the lack of invitation to the iftar party. BM Jasim, the local councilman, alleged that Guha was attacked by the locals because they were unhappy with him, as he [Guha] had taken money from them and promised to provide them with various facilities.

Alt News reached out to Imon Guha, son of Jitendra Guha. Imon confirmed that his father is indeed an Awami League leader and the attack was due to political rivalry within the party and not a hate crime due to his religious identity. “The rivalry with my father already existed long before this event took place. My father took part in an election that his rival, Jasim (the other leader) did not take this well. My father was not the organiser of the iftar party but only a guest, yet he was beaten up because of the pre-existing rivalry,” said Imon.

He further added, “Jasim, his son Wasi, Shakib and Indrajit Choudhury Leo were the ones who assaulted my father and were present during the incident. My father is against any kind of anti-social activities and the people who assaulted him were involved in such activities. Furthermore, the chairman wasn’t invited to the iftar and my father was. All of this led to the attack. My father is still in a lot of pain and his operation is yet to take place.”

We also came across a Facebook post made by one Subrata Dey, who claims to be a nephew of Jitendra Guha. The details shared by the nephew in the Facebook post corroborate the news reports and the statement given to us by Guha’s son.

To sum it up, Jitendra Guha was attacked due to political rivalry with the local councilman and not because he refused to be a part of an iftar party.

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