October 13, 2021. Bangladesh has witnessed, since its independence, the most deplorable conspiracy behind communal violence in Comilla. The conspirators ignited the religious sentiments of people by staging the drama of desecrating the Holy Quran in a Durga Puja mandap. The lie worked well. A group of miscreants swooped on the pandal, ransacking the decoration and vandalizing the idols. On that day, extremists launched attacks on 70 mandaps in Comilla to blow communal harmony to smithereens. Even they instigated people in general by using religion as their shield. Taking to social media and streaming platforms, they kept circulating hate speeches and rumors among the countrymen.
That spate of clashes showed no sign of abating but rippled across other districts such as Noakhali, Chandpur, Bandarban, Feni, Kishoreganj, and Rangpur. In the guise of protecting the sacredness of the Holy Quran, a group of opportunists attacked people indiscriminately. They stained the Durga and Laxmi festivals of the Hindu community with blood.
However, the real story behind the drama of placing the Holy Quran in the mandap to incite violence has come to the light. Law enforcers identified, analyzed CCTV footage, and arrested the man who had carried the Quran from a mosque to the mandap. That culprit is Iqbal Hossain. Moreover, law enforcers have already arrested 600 people in connection with 102 cases filed regarding the violence.
Looking at all the events in detail, we can observe that on that fateful night Iqbal met mosque caretakers at a local mosque. Then he collected a copy of the Quran from that mosque and headed to Nanua Dighi puja mandap. Shortly after, he returned with a Goda (mace), stolen from the lap of a Hindu idol, from the pandal. The overall CCTV footage testifies that Iqbal replaced the Goda with the holy Quran only to make it seem that Hindus had desecrated the scripture of Islam. It proves that being a Muslim he dishonored Quran, but the victims became the Hindu ones.
As he did all these in the wee hours, nobody was there in the mandap. CCTV footage shows that there was no one on the road at that time. That was the perfect moment for Iqbal to work out his evil plan. In the morning, Mohammad Fayez, a local businessman who had returned from Saudi Arabia, posted the picture of the Quran in the puja mandap on social media and got it viral. The false narrative was fed well. Cashing in on the religious sentiments of Muslims, a group of people conducted launched an organized attack on the temple. Local people and onlookers couldn’t identify any of these attackers. Later, CCTV footage showed those who led the attacks in different places were not the local people. They didn’t even hail from any adjacent areas. Rather, they strategically chose a faraway place where they could run riots, unidentified! This entire series of events cannot fall in place without a preplanned and organized mission.
Only within 300 meters from the mandap is the residence of Comilla City Mayor Monirul Haque Sakku. Falling for the twisted lies and mindless instigations that spread on Facebook, thousands of people converged on the mandap, all bursting with anger and hatred. The puja committee wanted to reach the mayor over the phone but to no avail. When he reached the mandap, it was around 10 in the morning. Asked about the reason behind his delay, he said that he wakes up at 8 in the morning. Then it takes him a long time to get done with his breakfast and shower. It must be mentioned that he was elected with nominations from BNP.
Pre-planned spread of rumor on social media
Miscreants used Facebook and YouTube to instigate people to take part in communal attacks and vandalism. Police identified quite a few YouTube channels used for hate preaching. One of them, named Torun Waz which has posted six videos, is owned by the assistant of a caretaker in Baitun Nazat Mosque in Khulna. Another channel named Roj TV News uploaded 27 videos, which is impossible without a pre-plan. Another YouTube channel is News BD that uploaded 10 videos on the day of the attack. These indicate that it was all pre-planned and well-orchestrated.
Nurul Haque Nur’s role in communal violence:
Police arrested, by observing the CCTV footage, 10 people on charge of attacking the mandap at JM Sen Hall in Chittagong. Among them, nine are the leaders and activists of different wings of the political party founded by Nurul Haque Nur, who has already played a vital role in the anti-govt propaganda. In the past, BNP and Jamaat activists took to the street with the banner of Nur’s party and clashed with police only to foil the celebration of the 50th birth anniversary of Bangladesh. Centering that issue, Hefajat activists tried to create instability in the country.
What does BNP want?
Another big political party is BNP. This party is constantly blaming the government for the recent religious violence. But, when people, in general, are coming to the street to protest against the communal clashes, BNP has not yet announced any activity on that ground. Rather, they are desperately trying to save the main culprit Iqbal. BNP general secretary is portraying Iqbal as physically challenged or a drug addict instead of a criminal. Don’t they have any responsibility towards people? Don’t they feel the urge to stand beside people?
Established secularism as one of the pillars of the constitution, Bangabandhu initiated a culture of communal harmony in Bangladesh. But, following his assassination, military rulers virtually ripped that constitution apart. That darkest period witnessed the rise of the Pro-Pakistan political party and the government. The spirit of the Liberation War was fading away. A vested quarter was pushing the country into the pit of darkness by misleadingly presenting Islam and instilling intolerance among people. BNP and Jamaat have always played their religion card, turning Muslims against non-Muslims and creating apprehension among people. This time they have made no exception.