Prothom Alo in line of fire

  • Staff Correspondent,
    Published: 2014-05-18 22:48:42 BdST


Bengali daily Prothom Alo has run into a Facebook storm by describing Bangladesh’s 1971 Liberation War as an ‘India-Pakistan’ war.

The newspaper made this observation in a profile - ‘Tea-seller to Prime Minister’ – of India’s prime minister nominee Narendra Modi, saying he had “formally joined as an RSS ‘campaigner’ after the India-Pakistan war of 1971”.

The article in the country’s second-largest circulated daily triggered a barrage of criticism in social media networks.

Sharing screen shots of the article on Facebook, an online activist, Joydev Nondee, accused Prothom Alo of demeaning the Liberation War.

“So Prothom Alo has started passing off our great Liberation War as an India-Pakistan war like it was done in the film Gunday?” the post read.

Nasim Rupok said: “Prothom Alo has shown disdain for our great War of Independence of 1971 by describing it as an India-Pakistan war.”

In a comment on Nandi’s post, one Khan Asaduzzaman Masum insisted it was important to be vocal against those describing the event as an ‘India-Pakistan war’. “By doing this, they are negating the Liberation War.”

The Facebook criticisms prompted the paper to make changes in its online edition and give an explanation.

The paper’s News Editor said that the story had been based on information provided by news agency Indo-Asian News Service (IANS) and that it had been kept unchanged.

The paper had not, however, attributed the source in its print edition.

The explanation further said: “India and Pakistan had got directly involved in war towards the end of the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971. So, some foreign news agencies, from their own perspective, also refer to it as India-Pakistan war. But 1971 is universally accepted as the year of Bangladesh’s War of Independence.”

Earlier, in February this year, Indian film producer Yash Raj Films had faced a wave of social media criticism for referring to the Bangladesh Liberation War as an India-Pakistan war in their film ‘Gunday’.

The producers later tendered their apology for the slip.