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Putting out fire with gasoline

  • Published at 12:03 am October 23rd, 2019

The government needs to be firm and unwavering in its stance against the true perpetrators

There can be little doubt that at the heart of Sunday’s violence in Bhola was a fabricated Facebook post, made from a hacked account. This was done, no doubt, with the clear and specific intention of creating violence and chaos, and sowing discord.

Regrettably, these anti-social elements which have tried to instigate hate, have, to some extent already succeeded, with thousands up in arms about a false post, and four people killed in the ensuing chaos, thereby escalating the anger and resentment of the mobs.

But we must be clear about the issue: The real victim here is the Hindu man who was framed in a totally unacceptable way, and the fact that protesters are still calling for punishment, indeed the most extreme form of punishment in the form of execution, is utterly unacceptable.

Given the fact that their claims are based on falsehood and fabrication, the protesters do not have a leg to stand on. The government is right to make it clear that it will tolerate no law-breaking and deal with further violence firmly. 

Everyone has the right to protest, if they so wish. No one has the right to incite, threaten, or commit acts of violence.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is right in that people are trying to make mischief out of the situation, and in no shape or form should such manipulation of public sentiment be tolerated. We have seen the dreadful consequences of fake anti-religion posts before, from the Ramu attacks in Cox’s Bazar, to the vandalizing of Hindu homes in Pabna, to the recent lootings in Rangpur by a mob of nearly 20,000. 

Suspicions remain that the main players behind the protests are the very ones responsible for the original Facebook post, but even if that is not the case, pouring gasoline on fire in this way to shatter peace and harmony while disregarding the rule of law is a crime, and should not go unpunished. 

The government needs to be firm and unwavering in its stance against the true perpetrators, and send a strong message that this sort of incitement of hatred will not stand.