An old photo of two accused arrested for an alleged murder in West Bengal is being shared with a false claim that it shows those involved in the recent incident from Assam where government hoardings in Assamese language were defaced with black ink. The viral posts further make a false communal claim that the accused arrested in the Assam incident are Muslims.
Cachar Superintendent of Police Ramandeep Kaur told BOOM that the claim is false. Kaur said that the arrested accused in Assam are not Muslims and there is no communal angle to the incident.
The incident of defacing hoardings in Assamese language is not new to Silchar located in the Cachar district of Assam. Silchar is part of the Cachar district of Assam which makes up one of the three regions -- Cachar, Karimganj, Hailakandi -- dominated by Bengali speaking locals. Also known as the Barak Valley, the areas have frequent protests over the usage of Assamese over Bengali language including the mass protests of1961 against a directive to make Assam the only state language, leading to the death of 11 people. The Assam Language Act was later amended to include provisions of using Bengali for all administrative and official purposes in the Barak Valley region.
The caption with the photo in Assamese translates to, "Here are two Jihadi miyas who have put black color on Assamese language hoarding in Silchar. Police have arrested Rahim Khan and Kader Ali a while ago".
(Original Text in Assamese: শিলচৰত অসমীয়া ভাষাৰ হৰ্ডিঙৰ ওপৰত কলা ৰং সানি দিয়া দুটা জেহাদী মিঞা ৰহিম খান আৰু কাদেৰ আলিক আৰক্ষীয়ে অলপ সময়ৰ আগতে গ্ৰেপ্তাৰ কৰিছে)
Click here to view the post.
Click here to view the post.
A reverse image search on the photo led us to a story published by the Anandabazar Patrika on February 23, 2020 about a case of murder from Haldia in West Bengal. According to the story, the photo shows the murder accused named Saddam Hossain and Sheikh Manjil Alam Mullick.
We also found several news reports about the incident. According to a NDTV news report published on February 26, 2020, "The preliminary investigation shows the teenager was in a relationship with one of the accused, Saddam Hossain (26). Riya was allegedly forcing Saddam to marry her, police said." It further added, "Saddam invited Riya and her mother to his house and spiked their food with sedatives, police said and added, when they fell unconscious, he allegedly set them on fire."
We then looked for news reports regarding the defacement of government hoardings in Assam and found a news report that said the accused were members of the Barak Democractic Youth Front (BDYF) and All Bengali Students Youth Organisation (ABSYO).
According to a Pratidin Time report published on October 20, 2021, "A number of government hoardings in Assamese language were defaced with black ink in Silchar allegedly by members of BDYF and ABSYO."
BOOM also contacted Cachar Superintendent of Police Ramandeep Kaur who rubbished the viral claim and said both the accused are Hindus and there is no communal angle to the incident. "Their names are Samar Das and Raju Deb," Kaur told BOOM.
Hindustan Times published a report on October 20, 2021 carrying a picture of the accused in the incident. The image can be seen below.