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Bangladesh Court Bans 2 Books, Orders Them Removed from Literary Festival

Kamran Reza Chowdhury/BenarNews
Dhaka, Bangladesh

Bangladesh’s high court Wednesday ordered organizers of an annual book fair in Dhaka to remove two books whose content it said was “harmful to the religious sentiment” in the Muslim-majority country, while their author, Diarsi Arag, apparently fled to Kolkata.

The Logo of Ekushey Book Fair the Annual Book Fair of Bangladesh

The court’s ruling to ban the books, “Grandma’s Dictum” and “Dia Arefin,” – both works of non-fiction – and to order them removed them from stalls at the Ekushey Book Fair occurred on the fifth anniversary of the murder of U.S.-Bangladeshi secular blogger and writer Avijit Roy. He was killed in a machete-attack by Muslim zealots as he was leaving the literary festival.

“The court asked the Bangla Academy Director General Habibullah Siraji to immediately withdraw the books from the publisher’s stall,” Deputy Attorney General Amit Talukder told BenarNews.

Lawyer Azharullah Bhuiyan had sought the court ruling.

“The contents of both the books hurt religious beliefs and an individual’s choice of clothing. The contents could incite communal riots in the country,” Bhuiyan told journalists but declined to give an example of objectionable material in Arag’s books.

The gruesome killing of Avijit Roy on Feb. 26, 2015, shocked the nation and was followed by a string of similar murders until 2018 that targeted secular bloggers, publishers and intellectuals

Bangla Academy officials, who run the month-long book fair every February, said the court notice was not necessary.

“The books were removed from the fair two or three days ago. We examined them and found some remarks, which can hurt religious sentiment,” Jalal Ahman, a leader of the fair’s organizing committee, told BenarNews.

Ahmed said organizers did not grant a stall to Srishtighar, the publisher of books, so Arag turned to another publisher, Kalanjali, to sell them.

“We have cancelled the Kalanjali stall because it was selling those two books,” Ahman said. “According to the book fair’s policy, no one can sell books from other publishers.”

Kaler Lekhak Likhon, who identified himself as the Kalanjali publisher, said he had been distressed since losing his stall on Friday.

“I have been made a scapegoat. I did not publish those books. Those who published the books are not being blamed, but me,” he told BenarNews.

Likhon said he allowed authors whose publishers did not have stalls to sell from his, and typically sold a few copies of their books.

“I could not comprehend that there was content in the books that might hurt religious sentiment,” he said.

Likhon said police, as well as Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) and intelligence agency officers had come to his stall to ask about Arag’s books.

“I phoned the author and found it switched off. I have given his cell number to police. Now, from his Facebook post, I have come to know that he fled to India,” Likhon said.

Roy case

The gruesome killing of Avijit Roy on Feb. 26, 2015, shocked the nation and was followed by a string of similar murders until 2018 that targeted secular bloggers, publishers and intellectuals.

The killings created a cloud of fear and intimidation around Bangladesh’s rich literary tradition. In 2017, during the Ekushey fair held two years after Roy’s murder, authorities restricted displays of books that “could hurt religious sentiment.”

In the wake of the August 2015 killing of secular blogger Niladri Chottopaddhya (also known as Niloy Neel), Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina criticized writers whose works raised questions about God’s existence.

“No one in this country has the right to speak in a way that hurts religious sentiment. You won’t practice religion – no problem. But you can’t attack someone else’s religion,” Hasina said at the time. “It won’t be tolerated if someone else’s religious sentiment is hurt.”

Five years after Roy’s murder, no one has yet been convicted.

In 2019, a court indicted six suspects – five of whom were alleged members of militant group Ansarullah Bangla Team – on murder charges.

“Four of the accused in Avijit’s murder case are now in custody while two absconded,” chief prosecutor Golam Sarwar Khan Zakir told BenarNews. “Ten witnesses of 34 have testified before the court so far and we hope to complete the trial by the end of this year.”

Copyright ©2015,BenarNews. Used with the permission of BenarNews https://www.benarnews.org/english

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Beware of Fake News and Fake Messages on Social Media

Always follow websites of traditional media outlets whether newspapers, magazines,Television News Channels or Radio Stations and authentic online only media outlets.They still maintain journalism excellence and stress on reportorial talent.On the other hand, fake news websites run by people with non journalism background and promote their own ideology with fake news and disinformations and obviously conspiracy theories.

Always check the URL of any website.Some fake news websites look like the orginal and popular one the same layout,Logo but if you check the URL you may find extra words like if the orginal website's URL is www.xxx.com the duplicate one might be www.xxx.com.co or something like that so first check the URL for authentic informations.

Check whether photos are original or photoshopped.Check Google images for authenticity.You can find help from Google Reverse Images search.

Check the news sources from other websites whether they picked up the story or not.

Whether the website layout is little bit clumsy and obviously grammatical mistakes and spelling mistakes.

Follow official websites relating to COVID-19

WHO Clarifies the disinformation about the virus: 
COVID-19 virus can be transmitted in areas with hot and humid climates
Cold Weather and Snow can not kill the new coronavirus
Taking a Hot Bath Does Not Prevent COVID-19
COVID-19 Can not be transmitted through mosquito bites

Spraying alcohol or chlorine all over your body will not kill viruses that have already entered your body. Spraying such substances can be harmful to clothes or mucous membranes (i.e. eyes, mouth)

According to World Health Organization (WHO): Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water

Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.

Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth . If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early

Stay at home if you begin to feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and slight runny nose, until you recover.

If you develop fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical advice promptly as this may be due to a respiratory infection or other serious condition

Follow WHO guidelines www.who.int

When you follow COVID-19 related news and messages from social media then check and recheck it before consuming it.Follow journalism mantra: if your mother says she loves you, check it out.

Most of the messages or informations quote different organizations like WHO, UNICEF, UNDP,Cambridge University  or other well known institutes ,organizations or individual.Check official websites of these organizations  if stories are repeated there

Forwarding messages from unknown sources or little known sources  then it would be better to ignore it.

Check whether any logo like UNICEF or WHO or other organizations used in the messages which look similar to original logo.

These type of messages are full of Grammatical mistakes and spelling mistakes which are quite uncommon in original messages.

Don't rely on social media messages that the lockdown will last for more than 3 months. Check any related information only on Government Web Portals and social media platforms of various Government Agencies.

Some fake messages pretend to be real one like unofficial Twitter handle of international media organizations like BBC,CNN,Washinton Post, New York Times-check the official Twitter handles of media outlets.

You can identify fake messages if the message requests you to share it.

Always check the fact checking sites if you have some doubts about the authenticity of any information or picture.

www.boomlive.in

www.altnews.in

https://check4spam.com

https://smhoaxslayer.com

www.factchecker.in

www.allsides.com

www.factcheck.org

www.newsbusters.org

www.politifact.com

www.snopes.com

www.propublica.org

The Same Method Applies to You Tube Videos Check the Source the credibility of the Source.To Check Fake You Tube Videos Check and Recheck the sources. Does the person have the legal right to the video posted? Did that person capture the video? Whether it has been altered?

But due to advancement of technology we can not really wipe out fake news.According to experts advent of  Artificial Intelligence(AI) some companies small or big one developing  technologies that can  lay digitally created script to anybody's voice  even words,sentences never said by the person.Even they are developing a technology which can create fake video footage,images,audios like originals.So be cautious! Rumour-mongers are active everywhere whether in physical world or cyber world.

Follow Official Websites

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