Tohidul Islam Raso

Research Officer, Dismislab
Late Iqbal from Savar fire is not Iqbal involved in Cumilla Quran incident
This article is more than 2 months old

Late Iqbal from Savar fire is not Iqbal involved in Cumilla Quran incident

Tohidul Islam Raso

Research Officer, Dismislab

Recently, a photocard went viral on the social media platform Facebook. Multiple pages (1, 2, 3), groups (1, 2, 3), and user IDs (1, 2, 3) shared the image, claiming that the individual depicted was Mohammad Iqbal Hossain. This person is convicted for an incident where the Quran was placed in the puja mandap of Cumilla in 2021. However, verification by Dismislab has found that the person who perished in the fire was another individual named Iqbal Hossain from Borni village in Chougachha upazila of Jessore. These are two distinct individuals.

In several Facebook groups (1, 2, 3, 4), a photocard was shared, claiming in the caption that Iqbal Hossain, who died in the Savar fire accident, is the same person who placed the Quran in the puja mandap. A post shared in one of the groups states, “Goda Iqbal died in the fire. This Iqbal placed the Quran at the feet of Hanuman during the Durga Puja of 2021 in Bangladesh and conspired the torture of all Sanatanis, looting, and vandalizing of idols, including the killing of hundreds of Hindus in Bangladesh.” Similar posts were shared in the other groups with nearly the same caption.

Dismislab observed several pages  (1, 2, 3, 4)  posting with similar claims. Additionally, some personal profiles (1, 2, 3, 4, 5) also asserted that the deceased individual was Iqbal from Cumilla. The captions of these posts were remarkably alike, and the photocard used was identical.

In an attempt to trace the source of the photocard, a Facebook keyword search led to the discovery of a page named ‘Banglar Samay’. Analysis of the page revealed that nearly every post on this page utilized the logo of Samay TV. Furthermore, this page frequently shared various news links from Samay TV.

On April 3, the  photocard was posted on the page ‘Banglar Samay’. The caption of that post reads, “Iqbal Hossain was supposed to come home on Eid vacation. He will come, not alive but as a dead body.” A link to the news was also shared for more details. Upon clicking the link, it redirects to a news portal affiliated with Samay TV. The news article, bearing the same title as the photocard, reported that on April 2, an oil truck overturned on the Dhaka-Aricha highway in Savar, resulting in a fire that engulfed five vehicles. In this tragic incident, two workers, including Iqbal Hossain, a worker of a cement truck, were burned to death on the spot. The article further stated that the late Iqbal Hossain is the son of the late Abdul Aziz, hailing from Borni village in the Sukhpuria union of Chougachha upazilla in Jessore district.

Verification also reveals that mainstream media outlets had published reports about Iqbal, who is widely discussed for placing the Quran in the puja mandap in Cumilla (1, 2, 3, 4).

On October 13, 2021, Iqbal placed the Quran, the Holy Book of Islam, in the Durga Puja mandap. Following this incident, cases were filed against him in various police stations across the country. CCTV footage captured Iqbal walking with a mace on his shoulder after placing the Quran in the mandap. He was subsequently arrested at Sugandha Point in Cox’s Bazar on October 21. Later, he admitted to the act of placing the Quran and his involvement in hurting religious sentiments. In 2023, the Cyber Tribunal of Dhaka sentenced Iqbal Hossain to 16 months in prison. According to media reports, Mohammad Iqbal Hossain is the son of Nur Ahmed Alam from the Muradpur-Laskarpukur area of Cumilla city.

Upon verification, it is evident that there is no similarity between the faces of the two individuals named Iqbal.

Therefore, the Iqbal who died in the fire and the Iqbal who placed the Quran in the mandap are two different people. Besides the picture, their addresses and father’s names are different as well. Hence, the Iqbal who placed the Quran in the mandap has no connection with the deceased Iqbal.