‘Hate campaign’ being run against Ahmadiyyas on Twitter, says member of community

Map of Panchagarh districtProthom Alo English Desk

A series of tweets from Basherkella – a pro-Jamaat-e-Islami Twitter account – condemning police action to stop the violence over an Ahmadiyya religious event in Panchagarh town on Friday, has left the minority community shocked and bewildered. 

On Friday, a protest march against the Ahmadiyya religious event moved towards the Ahmednagar area. As police stopped the procession at Panchagarh Chowrangi intersection, the men started throwing brickbats at the law enforcers, according to reports.

Police fired rubber bullets and tear gas shells to disperse them, witnesses said.

Two men died and scores sustained injuries in the clash. Some journalists covering the violence were among the injured. Shops in Panchagarh town were closed down as violence induced panic among people.

The angry mob also looted around 20 houses belonging to the Ahmadiyya community located in Ahmednagar.

Since Friday’s violence, at least eight tweets were posted from the Basherkella account with “police brutality” and “boycott Qadiani (Ahmadiyya)” in the hashtags.

Calling these tweets a “hate campaign” against the Ahmadiyyas, Amanur Rahman, a university graduate from the community, said that the social media platform is being used to “instigate further attacks”.

Amanur said that it was even more shocking that such “vitriol” against a minority community was being peddled from an account that has been verified by Twitter.

According to Amanur, “All these tweets asking people to boycott our community and false portrayal of police action is a clear attempt to glorify the attackers and justify the attack.”

One of the tweets from the verified Basherkella account lists some renowned local brands, calling them “Qadiani owned” and asks all to boycott their products.

Another tweet condemns law enforcers: “Taking the Qadianis’ side, Awami-backed police opened fire on anti-Qadiani protest.”

Shared since 3 March, these tweets have been re-tweeted and interacted quite massively by followers of the twitter account.

Basherkella, earned notoriety as a “Jamaat mouthpiece” for staunchly supporting war criminals, propagating religious extremism and often attacking the state machineries through its posts on social media, according to media reports.