Published on 12:00 AM, May 11, 2021

‘Cyber-bullying must end’

Artistes protest after Chanchal Chowdhury, mother, abused online

As the entire country celebrated mother's day on May 9 with pictures, felicitations and tributes to the women who raised them, National Award winning actor Chanchal Chowdhury was harassed on his Facebook account for following a different religion.

The shameful incident stuck out like a sore thumb on an otherwise beautiful social media feed.

As the actor uploaded a picture with his mother with the caption "Maa", some people were surprised at seeing vermillion on his mother's head, which is worn by married women in Hindu communities.

Among those who made the comments, there were some who expressed their surprise over their "discovery" of Chanchal's religion and made aggravating comments, abusing Chanchal and his mother.

The event escalated to a point where the actor had to address the commenters.

"Brothers and sisters, why does my being Hindu or Muslim concern you?" commented Chanchal. "Above all, I am human. Let these awkward questions regarding religion stop. Let us all be human."

On Monday, Chanchal Chowhdury shared a clip reciting his Bangla poem "Dhormo" on his Facebook page.

An excerpt from the poem says, "Who has given you the right to 'save' religion? Why do you commercialise religion? All religions speak of serving humanity. Do you feel superior after commercialising yours?"

Many stood in solidarity with Chanchal, also protesting the frequent incidents of cyberbullying of celebrities and public figures with the #stopcyberbullying and #hokprotibad (let's protest) hashtags.

"Chanchal Chowdhury is my brother, our brother," wrote director Chayanika Chowdhury. "I am seriously having doubts about our conscience as a nation. This is enough."

Actor Rawnak Hasan wrote, "I condemn those who make these radical and obscene comments. I demand exemplary punishment of these cyber criminals."

Popular actor Fazlur Rahman Babu wrote, "Ignorant fanatics always go too far in the name of religion."

Ashna Habib Bhabna, also a victim of such frequent cyber-attacks, wrote, "Our silence has been their strength."

Filmmaker and music director Masud Hasan Ujjal's post was one of the most notable on Facebook -- "Our mental deterioration and jealousy is alarming…Most big-time artistes I know have lost motivation to do work because of people's tendencies to bring others down. There is only one way out -- another renaissance. We need to keep doing tasteful work to block out the distasteful."

Many other artistes, including Tahsan Khan, Moushumi Hamid, Richie Solaiman and Zakia Bari Mamo, also stood in solidarity with Chanchal Chowdhury on social media.