Bhola clash: Facebook hacker identified

Rozina Islam . Dhaka | Update:

Law enforcement members kept a vigil in Bhola. Prothom Alo File PhotoThe Facebook authorities have identified the hacker who used the Facebook ID of Biplob Chandra in Borhanuddin, Bhola, to spread demeaning comments on Prophet Muhammad (SM) and instigate communal conflict. They have informed the Bangladesh government of his identity.

Informing Prothom Alo about the matter on Wednesday, home minister Asaduzzaman Khan said the hacker will soon be arrested and then his identity revealed. The police are working on unravelling the mystery behind the incident.

“A certain group seems to be intentionally trying to create social unrest in a planned manner,” he said, adding, “The heads of two of the dead persons had marks of injuries made with a blunt object. That has made us suspicious.”

The Facebook comment provoked strong protest and under the banner of ‘Touhidi Janata’, demands were made to punish Biplob Chandra. Four persons were killed during the demonstrations with over 150, including policemen, injured.

On Friday comments against the prophet (SM) were made and sent to various persons by Messenger in the name of Biplob Chandra. Some persons took screenshots of the message and posted it on Facebook. It went viral and demands were voiced to take action against Biplob Chandra. There were protests in various mosques too.

Biplob Chandra is a student of Bhola Government College and a resident of Kachia union on Borhanuddin upazila. On Friday evening he filed a general diary (GD) with the police about his Facebook account being hacked. The next day protests were made against him all over the area and then the violence broke out on Sunday.

The Bangladesh government on an emergency basis contacted the Facebook authorities for information about the hacking. In response, the Facebook Asia and Pacific region head office in Singapore informed the government about the hacker’s identity. The process was delayed somewhat as Saturday and Sunday were the weekend holiday in Singapore.

A government agency informed the government about the information received from Singapore on Wednesday afternoon.

A senior official of the agency involved in the investigation told Prothom Alo that the police received no cooperation from the local member of parliament (MP) or political leaders and activists regarding the incident.

A senior police official said that the MP of the constituency Ali Azam received news when the trouble began but remained in Dhaka instead of going to the area. The police tried to contact him several times but he did not respond to the phone calls. Later the home minister contacted him and he then took a helicopter to Bhola, but by then violence had already broken out.

Ali Azam MP, speaking to Prothom Alo, said that he had been monitoring the situation since Friday and had spoken to the police and certain alems. He had cautioned everyone about the matter of being a sensitive one.

About why he had remained in Dhaka despite the trouble, he said that the violence had been unexpected and unimaginable. He had thought the matter would be resolved.

* This report appeared in the print edition of Prothom Alo and has been rewritten in English by Ayesha Kabir

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