Published: Thursday, May 9, 2013

Sunday's Crackdown on Hefajat Men

Cyber propaganda continues to confuse people

The cyber propaganda that some 2,500 Hefajat-e Islam activists were killed during law enforcers’ action to flush them out from the capital’s Shapla Chattar on Sunday night continues to keep people confused.
From early Monday, several bloggers posted fictitious accounts of the action in CNN’s blog website “ireport.cnn.com” where anyone can post any “report” without any verification by CNN. However, after verification, CNN puts a note that the report has been vetted.
One such report by one “Hefajat” is headlined “Bangladesh Government killed 2500 thousand protesters in the confrontation Dhaka”. A second report by one “TPSabuj” has a headline “2500+ Innocent people killed by Bangladesh Prime Minister” while a third reads “Motijheel, Dhaka, Bangladesh dead 2500+ wounded 12000+ please help Bangladesh”.
Although all three had remarks that those were not vetted by CNN, the links of these stories are widely being circulated by presenting them as CNN’s reports.
Fake pictures of mass killings are also flooding social media. A Facebook page “Hefajote Islam Bangladesh” shows a picture of hundreds of dead bodies lying on a hilly site. Its headline: “a part of the heap of dead bodies stolen by the BGB”. It also contained a caption stating that the bodies were seen at a secret United People’s Democratic Front den deep in the Chittagong Hill Tracts.
The picture was actually taken from a mass killing (the Jonestown massacre) in Guyana in 1978. Interestingly the image was removed from the site yesterday evening.
Hefajat’s supporting website Basherkella, run by Jamaat-Shibir activists, ran the same picture along with many more. The site stated that these were fake pictures being posted by “Shahbagi” (activists of Shahbagh’s Gonojagoron Mancha) to discredit Hefajat-e Islam’s claim of 2,500 dead bodies.
Another post in the Facebook page reads, “Preparation underway to take dead bodies to India in transport carrying essentials. Keep a watch on Pilkhana”.
Meanwhile, a video clip of Channel i covering Sunday night’s police action is also being circulated on Facebook. The clip shows how Hefajat activists surrendered to police and Rapid Action Battalion personnel and left the spot.
Interestingly, the clip also showed several activists lying on the ground during the police operation, appearing to be dead or injured. But when policemen went up to them and pushed them, they got up and started walking (some did have injuries).