Visual Manipulation: Islamist terrorists image used by Official BJP FB page for Assam shooting

BJP West Bengal Facebook page admins have posted a photoshopped version of the cover photo of an American author Paul Sutliff’s book- Civilization Jihad and the Myth of Moderate Islam. The post follows on the heels of the killing of five Dalit Bengali Hindu workers in Tinsukia district of Assam allegedly by ULFA terrorists.


As per a local news website, the translation of the original text on the post (Assamer niriho nagorikder upor kapuroshichito sontrashbadider hamla okhankar samajik poristhitie up bishrinkholota shrishti korar jonno baypok shodojontrer ashonka) reads as follows:
“The cowardly terrorist attack on the people of Assam seems to have an agenda of creating chaos in the state.”

It is extremely strange that the BJP official page should visualise the image of a supposed Islamic terrorist when no Islamic terror groups have been reported to be involved. Though the police indicated at the involvement of ULFA militants, the ULFA itself has denied their involvement.
Sabrangindia had reported how hate speech had preceded the killings and the article had suggested simmering tensions between various communities especially Bengalis Hindus and Muslims.

By using this image, the BJP official page seems to be giving an indication that Islamic terror groups are behind the attack, which may have grave repercussions for the already fragile atmosphere of the area following conflicts related to NRC and the troubled landscape.

The book whose cover page has been used, itself seems to be diabolical and the author Paul Sutliff defines himself as “only an awakened Patriot to what is happening around him.” The cover picture has been widely used by “several media organisation across the globe including the Economic Times for one of their report on Jaish-e-Mohammad and Masood Azhar.”

The local community, especially Bengalis who were angry at the attack tried to uncover the propaganda and took to social media to highlight the unethical behaviour. Debraya Mukhopadhaya, a CPI (M) activist, said, “: “The BJP’s West Bengal page has already started to visually portray the killers of Tinsukia (attack) as Muslims.”

Local news reports have quoted people saying that they feel this is a “divisive ploy” by the BJP for misleading its followers and others into trying to believe that the attackers were Islamist terrorists. Shouvik Ghosh went to the extent of saying, “Those who are responsible for the killing are now making these posts to gain public support by posting pictures of Muslim terrorists. As if they came from Pakistan to kill people here in Tinsukia.”

BJP’s Facebook page made three posts about the attack and merely said that the attack was uncalled and that the Chief Minister of Assam would be doing the needful. The pictures used in each post had silhouettes of terrorists who can be easily passed off as Islamic terrorists.



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