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Actor Parambrata Chatterjee downplays Islamist attacks on Hindus in Bangladesh, says such attacks help ‘Hindutvawadis’: Read details

Parambrata Chatterjee then alleged that attacks against Hindus in Bangladesh help 'Hindutvawadis' to create a communally charged environment, and spread vitriol for political gain.

On Saturday (October 16), popular Bengali actor Parambrata Chatterjee courted controversy after he tried to draw parallels between the ongoing pogrom against Hindus in Bangladesh and the supposed atrocities against Muslims in India. In a desperate attempt at monkey balancing, he alleged that the condition of Hindus in Bangladesh is no different from that of Muslims in India.

In his contentious Facebook post, he said, “I am usually not active on Facebook but since Navami morning, I am hearing stories of Muslim extremists attacking some Durga Puja pandals in Bangladesh. My post is based on the issue.” The Bengali actor then went on to tell his audience about the secular credentials of his ‘Muslim spot boy’ named Nasir Gazi. Parambrata recounted how Gazi would wish him during Durga Puja, and remind him to visit temples while travelling abroad.

Furthermore, the actor told his audience of his Muslim carpenter named Sonwar Ali, who didn’t forget to wish him on Navami. He also claimed that his Muslim Bangladeshi friends had shared pictures of Durga Puja pandals and idols on social media. “There are multiple puja committees in India and Bangladesh where members are Muslims,” he added. Through his post, Parambrata Chatterjee portrayed that Muslims are not only tolerant and secular but accommodative of other faiths.

“I am saying all this because the few incidents in Bangladesh have created an image of hate (in India), meant to provoke people. If these incidents make you believe that Hindus in Bangladesh are unsafe, then, similar incidents have happened in India for the past 7 years (with the complicit silence of politicians). Those incidents in India will easily give an impression that Muslims are unsafe here. Despite all this, there is harmony and love for each other,” Parambrata claimed.

He added, “Fascists exist in all religion and they have been existing for the past 1000s of years. When radicals and fundamentalists take birth in a religion, it is responsibility of the co-religionists to mitigate their influence. I request my Bangladeshi friends to openly condemn the incidents that took place in Noakhali and Comilla without any hesitation. Appeal to the government to put the perpetrators behind bars. A positive message was also given by PM Sheikh Hasina. These incidents happen each year and I don’t like this.”

Parambrata Chatterjee then alleged that such incidents in Bangladesh help ‘Hindutvawadis’ to create a communally charged environment, and spread vitriol for political gain. He then told the Hindus to familiarise themselves with the practices of the second largest majority in India and not limit themselves to Eid Mubarak and eating Biriyani. He concluded, “We can do nothing about it. The history of our subcontinent is very complex and chequered… Some proud sword-bearing Hindus will miss the objective of the post…I expect similar reaction from upholders of Sharia in the Muslim Faith.”

After siding with the radical Islamists in his Facebook post, he reiterated his message on Twitter. He claimed, “Attack on religious minorities, be it in India, Bangladesh or anywhere in the world, irrespective of which community is minority where, has to be condemned unequivocally, and perpetrators need to be brought to justice. Here’s a small writeup on Facebook.”

Screengrab of the tweet by Parambrata

While taking a ‘moral high ground’, the Bengali actor alleged to be the recipient of public wrath especially from both Hindu fanatics and radical Islamists. “But for those who’re not yet blinded by hatred, request them to read the post carefully. It intends to talk of rationality and hope, doesn’t spare one over the other.”

Netizens slammed Parambrata Chatterjee for drawing false equivalence and monkey balancing

The Hindu Bengali community, which was aggrieved at the sight of their co-religionists being killed and attacked in Bangladesh, did not mince any words to slam the actor.

In a tweet, one Sounak Sengupta wrote, “I know your movies don’t make a lot of money. So, you are desperately trying to keep your career afloat by this display of pseudo intellectualism (atalami) and appeasement (tel mara) of Bangladeshi viewers.”

Screengrab of the tweet by Sounak Sengupta

A Twitter user (@Da_Bong_munde) stated, “You are irrationally rational and master of shifting goalposts. Instead of condemning a pogrom (yes not a riot), you are balancing this issue.

Screengrab of the tweet by @Da_Bong_Munde

Another Twitter user, Kartick Dutta, added, “How long will you continue this pretentious behaviour? To call spade a spade, (you will) only need courage, which is completely lost in you.”

Screengrab of the tweet by Kartick Dutta

BJP leader challenges Bengali actor for a debate on Hindu pogrom in Bangladesh

Following his attempt to trivialise and downplay the atrocities committed against Hindus in Bangladesh, BJP spokesperson Debjit Sarkar lambasted him for siding with the Islamists. In a tweet, Sarkar stated, “I want to challenge Bengali Parambrata who is justifying the death of 7 Bengalis, destruction of ISKCON and other temples, mass rapes including that of a 10-year-old, and vandalism of 1000 Durga Puja pandals and idols vandalised.”

Screengrab of the tweet by Debjit Sarkar

When the Bengali actor did not turn up for the challenge, the BJP spokesperson pointed out, “It’s been 12 hours since I challenged for a debate on his stance regarding the ongoing pogrom against Hindus in Bangladesh. This tweet is to remind him about the same. Channel of your choice. Time of your choice. Bangali Vs BangALI. #StopBangladeshiHinduGenocide.”

Screengrab of the tweet by Debjit Sarkar

Violence in Bangladesh against Hindus under the garb of blasphemy

Brutal attacks, vandalism, looting, and arson had returned to haunt Hindus in Bangladesh’s Noakhali district, as close to 150 households were reportedly attacked and at least three killed in a violent clash on Wednesday (October 13). A day later, a frenzied mob of radical Islamists attacked the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) temple in the Noakhali district in the Chittagong Division of Bangladesh. The Bangladesh unit of ISKCON lamented that the sculpture of its founder, AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, was burnt down during the arson attack on the temple.

The violence and vandalism took place after a Facebook rumour claiming ‘insult to Quran’ at a Durga Puja pandal went viral. Videos emerged on social media where a mob of enraged Muslims were seen pelting stones and vandalising makeshift Durga Puja pandals and attacking Hindu families in Bangladesh’s Chandpur area. A social media user from Bangladesh stated that the Islamic mob was calling for the burning of a local ISKCON temple. Bangladeshi social media users had stated that under the guise of attacks, rampant loot and molestation of women have also taken place. 2 persons have been found dead in the Chandpur area.

Following the incident, Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina ordered the criminals, behind spreading communal attacks and propaganda, to be identified and punished as an example. Meanwhile, back in New Delhi, the external affairs ministry said that it was in touch with the high commission officials and noted the strict action be taken by the Bangladesh government. Since the incident, the Bangladesh police have made over 100 arrests and the probe is still underway.

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Dibakar Dutta
Dibakar Dutta
Centre-Right. Political analyst. Assistant Editor @Opindia. Reach me at [email protected]

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