No Incident of Puja Mandap Vandalism or Assault on Hindu Students by Muslim at HSTU

A claim was recently circulated on X (formerly known as Twitter) suggesting that Muslim students had attacked Hindu students and vandalized the Saraswati Puja Mandap at the Hajee Mohammad Danesh Science & Technology University in Dinajpur, Bangladesh.

Puja Mandap

Check out related X posts here (archive) and here (archive).

Fact-check

The Rumor Scanner team found no evidence of vandalism at the Saraswati Puja Mandap or attacks on Hindu students by Muslim students at Hajee Mohammad Danesh Science and Technology University (HSTU). The conflict stemmed from the administration’s hesitance to create a permanent temple, as requested by Hindu students. The dispute occurred when officials tried to remove a temporary temple set up by Hindu students, leading to a scuffle between students and university officials, not during the Puja ceremony at Sheikh Russel field.

How the incident unfolded

An investigation into the circulated claim and video led to a report titled “Students and Administration Face Off Over Temple Construction on HSTU Campus” (Translated from Bengali) on “The Daily Campus” website, published on February 15th.

Comparison Image By Rumor Scanner. 

The report detailed that on February 14th, during the Saraswati Puja organized by the university at Sheikh Russel Hall field, some students used a microphone to express their intention to establish a temple in protest against the administration’s failure to act on their demand for a permanent temple. Subsequently, a group of students constructed a temporary temple with bamboo and flags near the HSTU School, close to Bangabandhu and Zia Hall. When university officials approached the newly constructed temple area, it resulted in a confrontation and scuffle with the Hindu students present.

A thorough analysis of the video confirmed the report’s claim. The footage showed Dr. Mamunur Rashid, the university proctor, and Professor Dr. Md. Mahabub Hossain, director of the Student Counseling and Guidance Department, engaging in a dispute and attempting to dismantle the temporary temple structure, with no evidence suggesting that Muslim students attacked Hindu students or vandalized the temple.

Comparison Image By Rumor Scanner

Statements from various parties

Dr. Md. Mamunur Rashid, the university proctor, informed the media that the university administration had not approved the temple’s construction at that location, labeling it as unauthorized and a violation of university regulations.

The university’s Saraswati Puja Celebration Committee, chaired by Professor Dr. Sripati Sikdar and secretary Krishna Chandra Roy, released a statement denouncing the dissemination of false and misleading information regarding the Puja Mandap destruction and conflicts between Hindu and Muslim students on platforms like X (formerly Twitter), highlighting the complete falsehood and misleading nature of the circulated information, and calling for proper verification prior to publication.
Hindu students and campus journalists confirmed Rumor Scanner that there was no vandalism of the Puja Mandap or involvement of Muslim students in the dispute. The core issue was a disagreement between Hindu students and university officials over the construction of a temporary temple, not an attack by Muslim students as falsely disseminated online.

Bottom Line

The incident at Hajee Mohammad Danesh Science and Technology University centered on a protest by students during the Saraswati Puja on February 14th. These students had long been advocating for the establishment of a permanent temple, a request that the university administration had continuously delayed. In protest, they publicly declared their intention to construct a temple and went on to erect a temporary structure using bamboo and flags near the HSTU School, close to Bangabandhu and Zia Hall without the consent of university authority. This initiative sparked a confrontation with university officials, who considered the construction unauthorized and attempted to remove it, leading to a skirmish with the Hindu students involved. Subsequently, a video of this altercation was misleadingly circulated online, falsely portraying it as an assault on Hindu students by Muslim students and as vandalism of the Saraswati Puja Mandap by Muslim students, neither of which was accurate. The real issue was the administration’s response to the student-led initiative for a permanent temple, rather than a religious dispute between Hindu and Muslim students.

Thus, the conflict at Hajee Mohammad Danesh Science and Technology University revolved around administrative actions against a temporary temple, not a religious clash. So, the online portrayal is misleading.

Sources

RS Team
RS Team
Rumor Scanner Fact-Check Team
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