What has happened in Bhola is deeply disconcerting for the nation as a whole. The extent to which rabid elements in the garb of religiosity can go to disturb peace and create communal disorder has once again been demonstrated, to our undying shame. We still recall the destruction which was unleashed in Ramu not many years ago by elements pretending to have had their religious sentiments hurt by a posting of an image on Facebook. We are not sure if the Buddhist community, so terrorized by the acts of vandalism perpetrated at the time, has been able to convince itself that its future is safe in this country.

And now comes this fresh outbreak of ugliness in the name of religious sentiments getting hurt. What is actually getting hurt is the idea of this country as a place for all religions and all democratic political beliefs. The vandalism and arson let loose in Bhola were but another instance of how fanatical elements are yet on the loose, are yet lying low, looking for any chance to create disorder in society. Observe the timing of their malicious act. At a time when the government has been going all out to deal with corruption, through taking tough action against casinos and other symbols of disrepute in the country, action that has not spared organizations allied to the ruling party, these fanatics have struck on the basis of a fake, stolen Facebook ID. In other words, their sole purpose has been similar to what happened in Ramu. Where in Ramu it was the Buddhist community which came under attack, in Bhola it was the Hindu community. The shame of it all cannot be ignored. It is our image as a nation which has once again been smeared before the world by these unscrupulous hate-mongering bigots.

The time has come for firm action on the part of the authorities. In the first place, the government should go for tough action against fake Facebook accounts by identifying those responsible for creating them. In the second, the authorities should approach the Facebook establishment and ask it to evolve a system that will be a natural check on fake Facebook accounts and so prevent any act that can have a malignant effect on social order worldwide. In the third place, the government must lose no time in taking action against the communal forces which lurk in the bushes, always ready to take any opportunity of pushing the country into conditions of instability. While on the subject, we might add that there are fanatics who have been spewing venom against such religious communities as the Ahmadiyyas. The government must be in a state of alert against these bigots. Indeed a combing operation ought to be launched to deal with those conspiring to undermine the State through creating communal strife in the country.

Our fledgling democracy must not suffer at the hands of these purveyors of communal hate.

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