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OpIndia Exclusive: Bangladesh ISKCON seer rubbishes claims of ‘temple not damaged’, asks whether attack on masjid wall will not be regarded as attack on masjid

Rupanug Gaur Das Brahmachari said that attempts are being made to downplay the act of temple desecration so that the blame for the absence of law and order did not fall on the incumbent Bangladeshi government.

Two days after a frenzied Muslim mob attacked an ISKCON temple in Wari in Dhaka Division of Bangladesh, alleged ‘historian’ Audrey Truschke tried to cast aspersions about the authenticity of the crime.

In a series of tweets, Truschke claimed that a tweet posted by the Hindu American Foundation (HAF) regarding the temple attack was ‘fake’. She alleged that the deletion of the said tweet by HAF was somehow an ‘admission of guilt.’

The ‘historian’ claimed that the ‘disinformation’ about the hate crime was further peddled by OpIndia and Rober Spencer, the founder of Jihad Watch. “Going forward, folks should think carefully about their sources for information, especially of a sensitive communal nature. As they say: Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me,” she had tweeted.

Screengrab of the tweets by Audrey Truschke

In response, the Hindu American Foundation slammed Audrey Truschke for quoting it out of context. “No AudreyTruschke, we didn’t share “disinformation”. Original tweet said that we’d provide more info as we got, which we did,” it tweeted.

However, HAF soon fell into the ‘leftist trap’ of trivialising Islamist barbarism when it claimed that a storage build owned by ISKCON was attacked and not a temple.

Screengrab of the tweets by Hindu American Foundation

The attack on ISKCON temple in Bangladesh

On Friday (March 18), OpIndia had reported how a strong Islamist mob of 150 people, led by Mohammed Israf Sufi (31), and Haji Shafiullah (62), lay siege on the Sri Sri Radhakanta Jiu Mandir in Wari in Dhaka.

We had reached out to one of the temple authorities, who confirmed that the Islamists were eyeing the temple property for a long time. Our source informed that the local Muslims tried to encroach the temple land in the past, which forced the administration to file a case.

“Yesterday evening (On March 17 evening), they destroyed the temple wall, and ransacked our property and stole valuable items,” he had informed. OpIndia also had a telephonic conversation with one of the victims named Nehar Haldar, who in turn, shared a copy of the complaint filed with the Wari police in Dhaka.

Screengrab of the police complaint by Sumantra Chandra to Wari police

As per the police complaint (that was reproduced in our report), the frenzied Muslim mob was armed with sticks, rods, sickles and hammers. They destroyed the southern wall of the temple, old structures and raised provocative Islamist slogans.

The police complaint emphasised that the mob stole ₹5 lacs worth of valuable items from the temple. Complainant Sumantra Chandra had also pointed out that the miscreants pelted stones at the ISKCON temple and threatened to bury the devotees alive.

ISKCON seer denies social media claims of ‘temple being unharmed’

After alleged ‘historian’ Audrey Truschke tried to cast aspersions on the authenticity of the incident, followed by the HAF tweet ‘validating’ the leftist narrative, OpIndia reached out to the seer of the Sri Sri Radhakanta Jiu Mandir via Whatsapp video call.

Dressed in a saffron robe, temple seer Rupanug Gaur Das Brahmachari rubbished claims that the temple did not come under the attack of Islamists. He said, “They first destroyed the boundary wall of the temple, then broke into the temple godown, vandalised the idols and stole valuables.”

On inquiring whether there was some ‘truth’ in the social media claims, the ISKCON seer reprimanded, “In Sanatan Dharma, the temple is not limited to a prayer room or the sanctum sanctorum. We have a vidhyashram (old age home), goushala (cow shed), all of which is located within the temple premises. The property that was destroyed belonged to the temple and is thus an attack on our Faith.”

Screengrab of the Whatsapp video call with Rupanug Gaur Das Brahmachari

“If tomorrow someone destroys the wall of a masjid, will it be considered as an attack on a wall or attack on the masjid itself? How can anyone downplay the atrocity by claiming that the vicious attack was limited to a wall and godown?” he inquired.

Rupanug Gaur Das Brahmachari informed that attempts are being made to downplay the act of temple desecration so that the blame for the absence of law and order did not fall on the incumbent Bangladeshi government.

On being asked about police action in the case, he lamented that no accused was arrested until Saturday (March 19) evening. He added that a police team was deployed at the site of the attack due to which no further attack had taken place since Thursday.

“I exist only till the temple exists. I feel protected as long as my temple remains protected,” he responded on being asked about concerns regarding his personal safety.

Jago Hindu Parishad President on the matter

OpIndia also briefly spoke to Sujan Das, who is the President of Jago Hindu Parishad of Bangladesh. During our conversation, he informed how the Wari police had been reluctant to even lodge a First Information Report (FIR) in the case.

He said that the FIR was registered only on the morning of March 18, despite the temple administration frequenting the police station immediately after the Islamist attack. After the FIR was registered, the police initially refused to provide the case number. It was more than 15 hours since the attack on the temple that the authorities were finally able to secure the FIR copy.

Sujan Das claimed that the attack was pre-meditated to coincide with the birth anniversary of ‘Bangabandhu’, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. He said that the Islamists knew that the police would be deployed in official government events, leaving them a scope to attack and encroach upon temple property.

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Dibakar Dutta
Dibakar Duttahttps://dibakardutta.in/
Centre-Right. Political analyst. Assistant Editor @Opindia. Reach me at [email protected]

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