The rising violence in Bangladesh against the minority Hindu community over an alleged incident of desecration of the Quran during Durga Puja celebrations in Cumilla, Chittagong division, has led to the death of at least six. The violence continued with mobs attacking houses at a village in Rangpur’s Pirganj Upazila. The fresh violence was triggered by a “religiously abusive” Facebook post by a man believed to be from the Hindu community.
A verified Twitter handle ‘Bangladesh Hindu Unity Council’ (@UnityCouncilBD) has tweeted a video claiming it’s from Rangpur. The video drew over 1 lakh views.
The situation in Rangpur is dire at the moment. Homes and temples of Hindus have been burnt down. Muslim mob has set fire to a Hindu village in Pirganj upazila of Rangpur district. @UNHumanRights pic.twitter.com/kDma77F67W
— Bangladesh Hindu Unity Council (@UnityCouncilBD) October 17, 2021
The handle has linked the website bhbcop.org of the Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council in its bio.
The video was also shared by author Anand Ranganathan.
Now Hindu homes being systematically burnt in Bangladesh. Will we wait till we have to airlift the last Hindu like we did from Afghanistan?
We forget: Bangladesh & Pakistan will soon go the way of Afghanistan. It is their wish their destiny. What is ours? pic.twitter.com/FWUCzyVAst
— Anand Ranganathan (@ARanganathan72) October 18, 2021
OpIndia wrote an article carrying the tweet by @UnityCouncilBD. The pro-BJP propaganda website claimed, “In a video footage shared by BHUC, it could be seen that a temple was set on fire by the Islamist mob while the firemen tried to extinguish it. Idols kept within the temple premises were also charred in the arson attack.”
The same video was shared by a Facebook page named ‘Social Tripura Network’. The news ticker in Bengali flashing at the bottom says that the incident took place in ‘মরাছড়া বাজার’ or Mara Cherra Bazar which is in Karatichhara, Tripura.
সপ্তমীর রাতে ভয়াবহ অগ্নিকাণ্ডে পুড়ে ছাই মরাছড়া বাজারে দুর্গোমন্ডপসহ একাংশ দোকানপাট।।।।
Posted by Social Tripura Network on Wednesday, 13 October 2021
Local news channel from Tripura PB24 News reported on the incident. According to the channel, the incident took place on October 13 when a fire broke out in the market at 3:30 am. This was on the day of Ashtami. The pandal where Hindu deity Durga’s idol was kept and few shops in the area were damaged in the fire. The channel also said that the cause of the fire was yet to be determined. While some locals suspected that the fire started from the mandap, others think that a short circuit in one of the shops caused the fire outbreak.
বিধ্বংসী অগ্নিকাণ্ডে ভস্মীভূত পুজো মণ্ডপ সহ বাজারের দোকানপাট
#pb24 #tripuranews #tripura #agartalanews #breakingnews #headlines #topnews #topstories
Posted by PB24 News on Tuesday, 12 October 2021
It is noteworthy that the visuals of Mara Cherra Bazar match in the viral video and PB24’s video. The pillars of the building, the railings behind the Durga idol and the structure of the idol itself match.
Assam based media outlet Time8 stated that the damage was estimated at Rs 16 lakh and the police are investigating the incident. The photo of the pandal that burned down exactly matches the one seen in the video.
Bangladesh-based fact-checking outlet Rumor Scanner also wrote an article debunking the claim that the video is from Rangpur.
BHBCOP denies Twitter handle @UnityCouncilBD is associated with the organisation
On July 16, 2021, the Facebook page of Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council had posted that the Twitter handle @UnityCouncilBD is a “fake account”. “Further be noted that we have officially complained to Govt, BTRC in the matter. We would like to mention that excepting Facebook, Email and Parishadbarta BHBCUC has no other account,” the organisation wrote.
Alt News reached out to the organisation via its Facebook page. Deepankar Ghosh, advocate and organising secretary of Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council Central Committee, reiterated that the Twitter account is not associated with the organisation and that it doesn’t have a Twitter handle.
The handle’s earlier username was @HinduarmysUnity.
If one looks up @HinduarmysUnity on Twitter, the search results throw up replies to @UnityCouncilBD.
We have also emailed Twitter inquiring how the account was verified. This article will be updated if and when Twitter responds.
While there are horrific reports of attacks on the minority Hindu community in Bangladesh, the video shared by @UnityCouncilBD is from Tripura. The Twitter handle has also come under the scanner as the Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council has denied association and clarified it doesn’t operate a Twitter account. It is noteworthy that India Today Malayalam published an article based on the tweet by @UnityCouncilBD and Aaj Tak Bangla fact-checked the video stating that it’s from Tripura.