A video of a relief distribution in progress at a mosque in Bangladesh where Hindus were excluded, is being shared as India on social media. The video shows mosque members distributing bags of ration during the ongoing lockdown. Minutes into the video, the distributors announce that Hindus who are not enlisted need not come to collect the relief material.
BOOM found that the video is from Bangladesh's Sylhet where a local political leader was called out for religious discrimination while distributing relief aid. Bangladesh has been on a complete shutdown from March 26. The same has been extended till April 25 after a spike in positive cases of COVID-19.
At the six second time stamp one of the members can be heard saying in local Bangladeshi dialect, "Hindus will not come, whose names were not on a list."
The viral video has since been shared on Facebook with a caption in Hindi which reads, "Food was being distributed from a mosque, some needy Hindus reached there but they were banished by saying that there is no system in place for Hindus." (Original text in Hindi: एक मस्जिद से खाद्य सामग्री बाँटी जा रही थी, कुछ जरूरतमंद हिन्दु वहाँ पहुँच गये पर उसको यह कहकर भगा दिया गया की यहाँ पर हिन्दुओं के लिये कोई व्यवस्था नहीं है)
A text in Bengali has been overlaid on the left side of the video, which states that Hindus were refused the relief because of their religious identity. The text reads, "The helpless Hindus did not receive the relief distribution because of being Hindus. Bangladesh is my motherland. (We) did not get in Pakistan also and not even in Bangladesh. Notice at 2.55 minutes." (Original text in Bengali: শুধু হিন্দু হওয়ার অপরাধে ত্রান পেলোনা অসহায় হিন্দুরা; বাংলাদেশ আমার জন্মভুমি!! পাকিস্তানেও পায়নি আর বাংলাদেশেও দেখা লাগল। ২.৫৫ মিনিটে খেয়াল করুন। )
Interestingly, the text in Bengali which states that the video is from Bangladesh, has been removed and overlaid with a Hindi text in multiple posts. The same has been passed off as an incident from India.
Upon relevant keyword search, BOOM found a longer version of the video on YouTube that was uploaded on April 5, 2020. The caption in Bengali reads, "No relief will be distributed to Hindus, Hindus go home. Sylhet."
(Original caption: "হিন্দুদের ত্রাণ দেওয়া হবে না, হিন্দুরা বাড়ি চলে যাও। সিলেট")
We found a news report which was published on Sylhet Mirror on April 4, 2020. According to the report, the video is from Osmaninagar, Sylhet, where Hindus were refused relief fund allocated for the area.
The incident happened on April 3, 2020 after the Friday prayers. The relief distribution was led by Kamrul Islam, the person identified as reading out names which were on a list. Islam is a Bangladesh Nationalist Party leader and director of Pally Vidyut Samiti, in Sylhet area.
According to the report, the video is part of a Facebook Live, which later was viral.
The report stated that the relief distribution was conducted without informing the administration, as there was no permission of mass gathering at the mosque. The Sub District Nirbahi Officer, Mosammat Tahamina Akhtar termed the incident discriminatory and directed Rashid Mobarak, officer in-charge Of Osmaninagar police station to investigate the case.
On April 5 Islam released a press statement with regrets stating that relief for Hindus will be distributed in their home or other suitable area, maintaining law and order. He appealed not to create disharmony, reported Sylhet Voice. A list of Hindu names were also published in the article.
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