Last week, Bangladesh saw an outbreak of mob attacks against Hindu homes and temples, after rumours of the Quran being desecrated during the Hindu religious festival Durga Puja spread on social media. The rumour started with the circulation of images of the Islamic holy book being kept on the knee of a statue of the Hindu deity Hanuman outside a Durga Puja pandal in the town of Comilla.
At least seven people lost their lives in the ensuing mob attacks, and clashes with the police. The authorities have identified an individual named Iqbal Hossain as the prime suspect for placing the Quran at the Durga Puja installation.
No sooner did reports of the mob attacks hit the news, Indian social media was flooded with images and videos with misleading captions, making false claims related to the attacks.
We saw videos from the mob attacks being shared as violence against Hindus in Bengal, and also found unrelated videos and images being shared to falsely show the mob violence in Bangladesh.
Here is a compilation of fact checks we did in English and Bangla, that were done on claims related to the Bangladesh mob violence during the Durga Puja celebrations.
Photo Of Injured Woman Falsely Linked To Bangladesh Violence
A disturbing image of an injured woman is viral on social media falsely linking it to the communal violence that has gripped Bangladesh in the past two weeks. The image is doing the rounds with claims that Muslims attacked a Hindu village in Bangladesh's Noakhali on October 22, 2021. The claim further gives gory details about the gang-rape and strangulation of a pregnant woman by Muslims in the area.
BOOM found that the photo is not related to the recent violence in Bangladesh and is from an old incident which happened in 2020.
Video From Clashes In Bangladesh Shared As Kolkata
A video of a clash between Hindus and Muslims in Bangladesh's Feni is being shared with a false communal claim that it shows Muslims staging protests against Kali puja celebrations in Kolkata.
The caption with the video reads , "Hundreds of Muslims shouting to stop Poojas at Kali Matha Mandir in Kolkata, once poojas conducted by Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. They (so-called peace lovers) want to close the Mandir. What is happening in our own country? Where are we? People of India to awake soon."
BOOM found that the video shows an incident from Bangladesh's Feni city, in the Chittagong division.
Durga Puja Pandal Vandalism In Bangladesh Shared As West Bengal
A disturbing video showing a mob enter a Durga Puja pandal premise in Bangladesh's Noakhali and vandalise it is viral on social media with false claims that it shows an attack on festivities in West Bengal.
The viral video shows an aerial view of a mob barging into an open ground and destroying a puja pandal. Voices of distressed women and children speaking in Bangla can be heard in the background. A woman recording the video can be heard alerting people and appealing them to stay at home and be safe.
BOOM found that the pandal was vandalised by rioters in Chowmuhani area under Naokhali district of Bangladesh.
Video Of Fire In Tripura Durga Puja Pandal Shared As Bangladesh Violence
A video of a fire accident in Tripura which gutted a Durga Puja pandal and some adjacent shops is being falsely linked to the communal violence in Bangladesh against the Hindu community.
The video was also shared by author Anand Ranganathan, who has been fact checked by BOOM earlier for peddling misinformation. Media outlets like India Today, AajTak Bangla, TV9 Bharatvarsh, ABP News, Dainik Bhaskar, and Hindustan Times used the same scene to report about recent violence in Bangladesh.
According to a report published on Time8, October 14, 2021, the fire broke out at midnight of Tuesday (October 12) in Maracherra Bazar under Kamalpur Police Station, Dhalai District of Tripura. Four shops and a Durga Puja Pandal were gutted by the fire. Firemen rushed to the spot and brought it under control after locals informed the Kamalpur fire station.
Video Of Man Killed Over Land Dispute Falsely Shared As Bangladesh Violence
A graphic video showing a man being hacked to death over a land dispute in Pallabi area of Dhaka in May, 2021, has been shared on social media with a false claim that it shows the recent killing of one Jatin Saha by rioters in Bangladesh.
Devdutta Maji, the president of Singha Bahini, an outfit of the Bharatiya Janata Party, tweeted the video with a caption in English, "Killing video of Jatin Saha. He was from Comilla. He was killed in Noakhali while visiting on the eve of Durga Puja. Hindus are not living in Bangladesh, they are dying every moment."
According to reports by Bangladeshi news outlets, Jatan Kumar Saha - the man in the video - was killed on October 15 , 2021, when Hindu temples in Noakhali's Begumganj upazila were attacked. Saha was beaten to death. The recent riots in Bangladesh have claimed lives of seven people after sporadic violence erupted following the vandalisation of a Durga Puja Pandal in Comilla, Bangladesh.Read out story here.
No, This Is Not The ISKCON Priest Killed In Bangladesh
An old picture showing a monk offering food to Muslim men is viral on social media with misleading captions claiming that the monk had been killed by a Muslim mob in the recent communal violence in Bangladesh.
BOOM found that the viral picture is from 2016 and clicked at the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) temple in Mayapur, West Bengal. We spoke to the National director of communications, ISKCON Mayapur who confirmed to us that the man seen in the picture is alive.
2017 Photo From Rangpur Shared As Recent Communal Violence In Bangladesh
An old image of a woman breaking down in front of the remains of a burnt house is being falsely linked to the recent violence and arson attack that broke out in various parts of Bangladesh.
The image was shared on social media with a Bangla caption, "Purnima Rani said the attackers entered the house and wanted to know where her two young daughters were. Then broke into the house and took away the money and cows. Set the house on fire. (Rangpur, Prothom Alo)" (Original caption in Bangla: পূর্ণিমা রাণী বলেন, হামলাকারীরা বাড়িতে ঢুকে তার দুই তরুণী মেয়ে কোথায়, জানতে চায়। ঘরে ঢুকে ভাঙচুর করে টাকা, গরু নিয়ে যায়। ঘরে আগুন লাগিয়ে যায়। (রংপুর, প্রথম আলো)
Photo Of Bangladesh Durga Puja Pandal Shared As West Bengal
An image of a Durga Puja pandal from Bangladesh displaying a hoarding which mentions the Islamic prayer timings is doing rounds on social media with a claim that it is from a pandal in West Bengal during the recently held Durga Puja festivities.
Several netizens have given the photo a communal twist and accused Bengal Durga Puja organisers of appeasing the minority. One such post reads, "This is a Durga pandal in Bengal. There is a board displayed inside it, few timings are written on the board which mention when you can recite mantras, sing bhajans and perform puja rituals...because there are some timings for namaz.. this is brotherhood, this is secularism..now they are only 30%, worship will be over when they become 40 and Hindus will be over when it will reach 50...Bengali Hindus.. Aren't you enjoying seeing the broken leg and listening to Durga Chalisa from the stage.. cowards..."
BOOM found that the photograph is from Bangladesh's Dhaka. We reached out to the Uttara Sarbojonin Puja Committee general secretary Nani Gopal Ghosh who confirmed us that the photo belongs to their Durga Puja pandal.
Video Of Old Ramnavami Celebrations In Karnataka Shared As Protest In Delhi Against Bangladesh Mob Violence
A video showing a crowd protesting has been shared on Facebook, falsely claiming that Indian Hindus are protesting on the streets of Delhi against the spate of communal violence in Bangladesh. The 30-second video was shared on Facebook with the caption, "Thank you so much Indian Hindus, the highways of Uttal Delhi .. there will be justice ..."
BOOM found that the video is from an old Ramnavami celebration being held in Gulbarga, Karnataka, in 2019.
Old Photo Of Dead Body Of Madrasa Teacher Falsely Tied To Bangladesh Violence
A photo of a man with his hands and feet tied has gone viral on Facebook with the claim that he was killed during the recent mob attacks in Bangladesh.
The photo, showing a man attached to a brick-filled sack, was shared on Facebook with the caption, "Innalillahi ..... Madrasa teacher Anisur Rahman was killed in Kalihati, Tangail. He was thrown into a pond with bricks. The number of arrests is increasing day by day - may Allah protect you. "BOOM found that the photo is from 2016, and unrelated to the recent mob violence in Bangladesh.
Unrelated Image Of 2015 Political Violence Falsely Linked To Bangladesh VIolence
An image of a man carrying a firearm openly in the streets is being shared with claims that he's Soumen Kumar Roy, a Hindu police officer, who shot and killed a 7-year-old child, and a Muslim couple, when the mobs clashed with the police in Bangladesh.
BOOM found the claims to be false. The photo was traced to an incident of political violence in Kushtia, Bangladesh, in 2015. Furthermore, we found reports of an incident from June 2021 involving a Hindu police officer named Soumen Kumar Roy, who had shot is second wife, step-son and a family friend. However, the incident is not related to the recent spate of violence in Bangladesh.
Separate Incident Of Idol Smashing At Chittagong Falsely Linked To Bangladesh Violence
On social media, a picture of a man accused of smashing an idol in Chittagong, Bangladesh, is being linked to the Comilla communal riots with misleading claims.
The viral photo shows Bangladesh police putting a man with a towel around his neck in a room. The caption shared on Facebook with the photo read, "Police have arrested a man accused of insulting the Holy Quran in Comilla after watching CCTV footage. He has placed the Holy Quran on the feet of the idol, thanks to the Comilla police administration! But hopefully the whole mystery will be revealed soon."
We found that the person in the photo is not Iqbal Hossain, who is currently the only suspect named by the Bangladesh authorities in the matter of the Quran placement at the Durga Puja pandal in Comilla.
We also found that the man in the viral photo had been apprehended by the cops after being accused of breaking an idol in Chittagong on October 10, 2021 - three days before the Comilla communal riots started.