Bangladesh : Hindu man arrested over alleged ‘blasphemous’ message, Hindu groups protest

On September 16, a Hindu man in Bangladesh was arrested for allegedly posting objectionable content against Islam on Facebook. The incident took place in the Bhola district of Bangladesh.

As per reports, the man has been identified as Gouranga Chandra Dey. The controversy began after a screenshot of a Messenger conversation between Gouranga and another man named Jayaram went viral on Facebook on September 15. The screenshot allegedly contained derogatory remarks against Islam. As a pre-emptive measure, Gouranga went to the police and lodged a complaint. However, he was arrested the following day on September 16 under Section 54 (arrest without warrant under reasonable suspicion) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).

Gouranga is the President of the Bhola District Puja Udjapan Parishad president and a politically active man. His family has been placed under house arrest for over 2 weeks now ever since he has been arrested. A team of police have been deployed in the area to prevent any law and order situation. The Hindu community has demanded the immediate release of Gouranga and has alleged that he was being framed in a false case.

Family forced to stay indoors, shop shut down

During the preliminary investigation, it was found that the account that was used to post objectionable content was created a few days prior to the incident. It has remained inactive ever since September 15. The victim’s wife Rina Rani Dey denied any wrongdoing by Gouranga and informed that she has not been able to step out of the house. This is despite the fact that her daughter is extremely sick. Meanwhile, the two shops that are owned by Gouranga have remained closed for over two weeks now.

Rajkumar Dey, the younger brother of the victim, narrated how they have been living under fear in Bangladesh. Rajkumar, who helps run the shops owned by Gouranga, said, “I am terrified. None of us can even think of going out. We do not have the courage to open our shop”. A Hindu woman from Bhola district said that the alleged case of blasphemy has prompted attacks and Vandalism on Hindus, ahead of Durga Puja. A sevadar at the local temple expressed fear over the majority Muslim community holding marches and protests. “We are a minority”, he lamented.

Islamist organisations issue warnings, demand exemplary punishment for Gouranga

Radical Islamist organisations such as Bhola District Muslim Unity Council have demanded ‘exemplary punishment’ for Gouranga Chandra Dey for allegedly insulting their religion. The situation in Bhola has become tense after they launched marches and rallies to avenge the ‘insult’.

According to Secretary Mobashbirul Haque Naeem, this is the third case of ‘blasphemy ‘ in the past 2 years. “Anything said against our religion will not be tolerated. They will protest against such acts…They are demanding action under the law.” The sensitivity of the case has put pressure on the law enforcement authorities to expedite the probe. However, the Superintendent of Police (Bhola) Sarkar Mohammad Kaiser regretted that the investigation would take time due to technical limitations in the case.

Hindu groups take out protest, demand immediate release of Gouranga

On the other hand, Hindu groups have called on the government to take immediate steps to stop attacks on Hindus ahead of the Durga Puja. They also protested against the arrest of Gouranga Chandra Dey and demanded his immediate release.

On Monday (September 27), the Bangladesh Puja Udjapan Parishad took out a rally to demand the release of Gouranga Chandra Dey. According to Kazal Debnath, a leader of the Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council, several Hindu idols have been vandalised in different districts in the country ahead of Durga Puja. He has urged the government to take action, failing which mass protests will be organised. The protest rally began at National Museum in Shahbagh and ended near Teacher Student Centre (Dhaka University).

Nirmal Chatterjee, Bangladesh Puja Udjapan Parishad, stated that Goranga Chandra Dey was fabricated in a false case after his Facebook account was hacked by unknown miscreants. President Milon Kanti Dey said that the Hindu community in the Bhola district will not celebrate Durga Puja this year if Gouranga is not released. Meanwhile, the General Secretary of Sri Sri Durga Mata Mandir, Nepal Chandra Dey, claimed that Gouranga was being framed under a conspiracy for his active participation in electoral politics.

Source : OpIndia

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