Supporters of Jamaat-e-Islami and its radical student wing Islami Chhatra Shibir are among the extremist groups inciting communal attacks on Hindus in Nasirnagar, Brahmanbaria using unauthorised websites and Facebook pages.
When the local radical groups were using mosques to unite Muslims in Nasirnagar and vandalised Hindu temples and homes last week, a little known website www.banglamail71.com drew huge traffic all of a sudden after they published a provocative content on the alleged blasphemous Facebook post shared from the timeline of an illiterate Hindu youth, Rasraj Das, to condemn the "arrest of six Muslims" for their involvement in the attacks and violent protests.
The content, published as a news item, was originally posted by “Noyon Chatterje,” a Facebook profile that has long been instigating hatred against Hindus in Bangladesh and India.
The news item has been shared more than 10,000 times so far, and over 170 readers made indecent and infuriating comments on the website. The item also contains the link to a Facebook profile from where the post, showing Lord Shiva sitting atop the Kaaba, was shared several times last month.
Dhaka Tribune has learnt that the website is run by Chhatra Shibir activists. The news item was seen on the website yesterday when fresh attacks were launched on Hindus in Nasirnagar, burning at least six houses to ashes.
After October 30, temples and Puja pavilions were vandalised and looted in at least seven districts.
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Jamaat sources confirm that it is a tactical decision of the party high-command not to wage any street protests over issues that go against the government.
For this, they are using the internet to carry out organisational activities by opening news websites, and creating Facebook pages and groups with the help of their tech-savvy members to embarrass the government and create panic among the religious minorities and war crimes trial campaigners as well as to give message to the party supporters.
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When contacted, several central leaders of Jamaat and Chhatra Shibir refused to make any comments on record, as they have been instructed not to talk to the media. Activities of the party are now limited to issuing press releases.
It is apparent that the Facebook post of “Noyon Chatterje” and the news item triggered the violent attacks on over 100 Hindu homesteads and more than a dozen temples and Kali Puja pavilions in Nasirnagar on October 30, a day after local radical Muslims caught and beat up Rasraj and handed him over to the police.
Our correspondents have confirmed that some local leaders of Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat, Hefazat-e-Islam and even the ruling Awami League were behind the attacks that also spread to nearby Madhabpur area in Habiganj district where Jamaat men played a key role organising attack on temples.
The Nasirnagar attacks took place at a time when several militant groups have been carrying out series of attacks on the war crimes trial campaigners, secular activists, non-Muslims and non-Sunni people, foreigners and the law enforcers.
The provocative content published by Banglamail71 is also shared on Dawahilallah, a forum of al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) or Ansar al-Islam, where the militants have reacted sharply and instigated more violent attacks on Hindus for demeaning the Qur’an.
Jamaat men fuelled Madhabpur rampage
Since 2013, AQIS has carried out 13 machete attacks killing 11 activists, writers, publishers and a teacher. On the other hand, international terrorist group Islamic State has claimed that their supporters have conducted 26 attacks since September last year that killed 45 people, mostly religious minorities.
Police last week arrested a leader of Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal from Khagrachhari, Md Sagor Hossain, for spreading a fake photo post on Facebook inciting attack on an indigenous student leader of Rangamati.
Circulating fake posts on Facebook implicating the militant targets have been a commonplace in the country for the last couple of years. Similar campaigns were reported in 2012 when radical Muslims attacked Buddhist houses and temples in Ramu, Cox’s Bazar, apparently to avenge the attacks on Rohingya Muslims by Buddhists in Myanmar the same year.