The Facebook account used to spread religious hatred that triggered fatal clashes in Bhola on Sunday (Oct 20) was hacked, said police.
At least four people were killed and a hundred others were injured as locals clashed with police in the southern island district’s Borhanuddin Upazila.
At the centre of the violence is Biplob Chanda Shubho whose account was used by another man to spread hate conversation through Facebook Messenger, said Bhola’sSuperintendent of Police (SP) Sarker Mohammad Kaiser.
“Shubho’s account was hacked. We have arrested people with links to the hacking,” he told local reporters.
The hacker accessed Shubho’s Facebook Messenger and published a screenshot of slanderous comments on social media on Friday.
On Saturday, Shubho went to the local Borhanuddin Police Station to file a general diary after he found that his account was hacked.
“He also said someone demanded extortion from him over mobile phone,” local police OC Enamul Haque said.
The police have kept Shubho in their custody since for security reasons.
Soon after the slanderous comments, seemingly designed to hurt religious sentiments, gone viral through social media, locals under the banner ‘Touhidi Muslim Janat’ called for rally on Sunday.
The local administration and police took initiatives to stymie the simmering tension by engaging with the communities and keeping the accused in safety custody, but a quarter continued to fuel it.
“I had even spoke to the local Alems last night [Saturday], when they told me that the rally was not happening. But reports of preparations for the rally started to come in from the morning of Sunday,” said SP Kaiser.
The Bhola police chief said he went to the rally and addressed it. “When I was getting off the stage, a group of people attacked. We took shelter in a room but when the mob tried to break in, we fired blanks and then I ordered to fire in the air,”he added.
According to SP Kaiser, police send several people to the hospital from the scene and three of them died. “There may be more, but I do not have the information yet.”