Home minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal has said tough actions would be taken against the perpetrators who misused social media, including Facebook, to spread rumours to instigate violence in the name of movement for quota reforms in government jobs.
“We must find out those culprits who spread rumours through the social media to instigate destructive and subversive acts in the name of quota reform movement across the country,” BSS quoted the home minister as saying.
Necessary instructions have already been given to the police to find out the culprits and file cases under relevant sections of the law to stop recurrence of such activities, he added.
Talking to BSS, Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) deputy commissioner Md Alimuzzaman, who is in charge of Social Media Monitoring and Cyber Security Division, said investigation is underway to find out those Facebook accounts and groups, Youtube videos and other posts in different social media involved in spreading propaganda to create an unstable situation in the name of waging movement for quota reform in government jobs.
“Perpetrators must be brought to justice to avert recurrence of such violent acts by spreading propaganda in social media,” he said.
Meanwhile, DMP’s Cyber Security and Crime Division has filed a case with Ramna police station against about three dozens of Facebook and Twitter IDs, blogs and online domains involved in spreading rumours to instigate the students who were demanding reformation of the quota system.
Sub-Inspector (SI) Sajibuzzaman of the division has already been appointed as the investigation officer (IO) of the case.
In the four days of movement in different educational institutions, including Dhaka University, were agog with rumours of darkest kind, drawing the students of residential halls to take to the streets and flaring up the anti-government sentiments.
All such sensitive rumours were emanated at the dead of the night mostly when the students went back to their halls while the most spectacular one hit the very first day: A Dhaka University student demonstrating for quota reform was shot by police and then succumbed to his injuries.
It was later learnt that for spreading those fake stories, Facebook pages including ‘Zakir’s BCS specials’, ‘Troll Du’ and ‘Quota Songskar Chai’ were used.
On the other hand, among the pages and news portals that already earned the notoriety for being run by Shibir activists like ‘Basherkella’ has also been found to be very much active and at the forefront to instigate the general students.
One popular page among the BCS job-seekers, Zakir’s BCS Special, posted “AB Siddiq, a third year Dhaka University student, has breathed his last at a hospital suffering from bullet injuries”.
More strikingly, to make it more authentic, this post was attributed to a private TV channel.
Soon after the announcement was made, this fake story went like wild fire, fuelled a sense of disgust among the dormitory students.
On impact, female students broke the gates of the dormitories and came out to the streets while in male dormitories, residents in their hundreds streamed in too, chanting slogans in demand of punishment for the “killing of the student.”
Moments later, it was unearthed that AB Siddiq is alive and he sustained minor injuries while participating in the protest.
From his Facebook account, he posted that he could not communicate with others as his cell phone was shut as its battery exhausted. Siddiq also mentioned that he sustained some minor injuries in his forehead.
On Monday night, another rumour spread that Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) DU hall unit leaders are assaulting the general students for taking part in the movement.
Again, in the wee hours on Monday, those pages put another post “The Sufia Kamal Hall BCL unit president has cut tendons of a resident of that hall for her involvement in this quota movement.”
At around 3:00am on that day, another post appeared in Basherkella, that “DU Zia Hall unit president is leading a band of unruly activists in front of the hall to launch an assault on the general students.
“Armed with weapons, BCL activists riding around 100 bikes are coming to TSC to swoop on the agitators” read another post.