07/23/2019, 15.57
BANGLADESH
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Bishop of Rajshahi slams killings caused by fake news

by Sumon Corraya

Rumours mainly concern child abuse accusations that spread via social media and trigger the murderous fury of ignorant and biased mobs. “Those who spread rumours want to destroy peace in the country,” said the president of the Episcopal Commission for Justice and Peace.

Dhaka (AsiaNews) - At least six people have been lynched and 25 others wounded in recent weeks as a result of fake news spreading via social media, especially in connection with child abuse.

The last two lynching s took place on Sunday in Savar and Keraniganj, near Dhaka. As a result, panic is spreading as people fear getting caught up in murders caused by fake news.

"When I leave the house, I am afraid of being suspected of being a child abductor,” said Sagar Sonjib Corraya, a Catholic man. “Innocent people have lost their lives for false gossip. This is why every time I leave home I carry my work card with me.”

Millions of people share that fear. In fact, the mere suspicion of violence or child abuse can trigger angry mobs, mostly people uneducated and prone to prejudice.

To curb the spread of fake news, police have begun broadcasting warnings with loudspeakers.

"We use loudspeakers to appeal not to spread false news,” said Inspector Md. Moniurizaman of the Sonargaon station in Narayanganj. “If someone sees a child abductor, he must inform us instead of killing him."

The country’s security forces have arrested eight people who wrote on Facebook that "the Padma bridge must be built with human heads and blood." The bridge is a large-scale project currently under construction.

"No head is needed to build the bridge. Those who spread rumours want to destroy peace in the country,” said Mgr Gervas Rozario, president of the Episcopal Commission for Justice and Peace, speaking to AsiaNews.

According to the Bishop of Rajshahi, who is also vice president of Catholic Bishops' Conference of Bangladesh, "the authorities must arrest and punish those who spread rumours. If the police become inflexible, the problem will be solved."

The bishop believes that those who spread false news about others actually have a purpose in mind, namely "Take advantage of the murder". At present in fact, none of the victims of lynching have been proven to be kidnappers.

"May Almighty God move the conscience of the crowds that kill innocent people," said Sagar Sonjib Corraya.

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