Tamara Yesmin Toma

Researcher, Dismislab
Viral fabricated notice claims BSL expelled activists over religion
This article is more than 8 months old

Viral fabricated notice claims BSL expelled activists over religion

Tamara Yesmin Toma

Researcher, Dismislab

The notification circulating on social media regarding the permanent expulsion of four Bangladesh Students’ League (BSL) activists for allegedly being “pro-Islamists” and “claiming to be Muslims” has been confirmed as fake. Dismislab factcheck revealed that the notification had been manipulated, and the original notice did not contain any clauses related to expulsion based on being “Islamist” or asserting a Muslim identity.

Recently, multiple Facebook pages and personal profiles (1, 2, 3, 4) shared a notification claiming that four members of the BSL had been expelled due to their supposed involvement in “pro-Islamic,” undisciplined, criminal, and self-proclaimed Muslim activities.

Various Facebook pages and profiles have uploaded the edited pictures of this notification and condemned the matter. For example, the “Chandishkara Shocheton Nagorik Forum” page posted the photo with the caption, “Through this notification, it has been declared that those who claim themselves as Islamists or Muslims cannot join the Chhatra League, and those who claim themselves as Chhatra League are not Muslims.”

Several Facebook pages and profiles posted edited images of the notification, expressing their criticism. For instance, the page “Take Back Bangladesh” shared the image with the comment “Then Chhatra League can never be Muslim.” Another page called “Hajadapur Al-Hera Chhatra Songothon” wrote, “Innalillahi, what a controversial matter! Think about it! Is this really true? Being accused of being involved in the activities of Islamists and claiming to be Muslims… Aren’t you allowed to identify as a Muslim if you join the Chhatra League?”

However, upon investigation by Dismislab, it was found that a recent notification had indeed been issued to expel four members of the Bangladesh Students’ League Rajshahi University unit. Nonetheless, there was no mention of religion, including Islam, or any religious aspects. Media reports instead cited allegations of admission fraud and extortion against the expelled BSL activists.

The original notice, dated August 19, 2023, was released through a press release signed by BSL Central Executive Council Office Secretary Meftahul Islam Pantho. This press release announced the expulsion of two leaders and two activists, including the organizational secretary of the BSL RU unit. The notice was also posted on the official Facebook page of the Bangladesh Students’ League.

Upon comparing the original and edited notices, it becomes evident that the edited version contained fabricated content. The original circular stated, “According to the urgent decision of the Bangladesh Students’ League Central Executive Committee in view of the recent untoward incident, it is being informed that Mushfiq Tahmid Tanmoy (Organizing Secretary, Bangladesh Students’ League, Rajshahi University Branch), Raju Ahmed (Joint General Secretary, Bangladesh Students’ League, Sher-e Bangla Fazlul Haque Hall Branch, Rajshahi University), Mohibul Momin Sonnet (Activist, Bangladesh Students’ League, Shaheed Habibur Rahman Hall Branch, Rajshahi University), and Shakwan Siddique Prangan (Activist, Bangladesh Students’ League, Sher-e Bangla Fazlul Haque Hall Branch, Rajshahi University) have been permanently expelled from Bangladesh Students’ League. This decision comes as they have been charged with engaging in anti-organizational, anti-disciplinary, and criminal activities that undermine the dignity of the organization.”

According to media reports (1, 2, 3, 4), the individuals mentioned—Mushfiq Tahmid Tanmoy, Raju Ahmed, Mohibul Momin Sonnet, and Shakwan Siddique Prangan—were expelled from BSL due to allegations of involvement in admission proxy fraud, kidnapping, and extortion.

Mushfiq Tahmid Tanmoy had previously faced expulsion from BSL on August 5, 2022, due to alleged involvement in admission test proxy fraud. However, the expulsion order was later revoked on November 3, 2022.

When reached for comment, BSL Office Secretary Miftahul Islam Pantho clarified to Dismislab that the circulated notice was edited, and the Bangladesh Students’ League does not hold any stance against any religion.