Looking back: Social media activism in 2016
The year 2016 was an eventful year for Bangladesh, on grounds of trade, business, diplomatic ties, achievements and failures. However, 2016 has been the year when everyone witnessed the power of social media.
Gulshan Café Attack: The news of deadly terror attacks on the evening of 1st July 2016 at Holey Artisan Bakery was first flashed by social media users.
Right after the attack, when SITE Intelligence group released pictures of the attackers and Islamic State claimed responsibility of the attack, the law enforcers provided with possible identities of the terrorists. However, the identities were later confirmed when the social media users started identifying the terrorists as their classmates/acquaintances and this has been the biggest lead for the law enforcers to investigate this gruesome attack. Later on, the law enforcers, at every stage of their investigation had published pictures of the suspects on social media and sought help from the netizens in identifying them.
2. Justice For Tonu: Social media users once again came together after Sohagi Jahan Tonu, a second year student of History Department of Comilla Victoria College was found dead in a bush beside a culvert inside Comilla cantonment on March 20, 2016. The first autopsy report revealed she was not raped, however, subsequently; the body was exhumed again and sent for fresh autopsy. This mysterious death has given rise to wide spread criticism, and questions in social media by the netizens.
3. Rampal Power Plant: In 2009, Bangladesh and India signed a deal to set up the two power plants in Shapmari and Katakhali, nine kilometres away from the Sundarbans. A total of 1,834 acres of land has already been acquired for the power plants with a capacity of 1,320 megawatt of electricity. Despite the government's assurance that the plant would not harm the Sundarbans, the Unesco remains firm against the plant and on October 20 requested again the government to cancel and relocate it to a more suitable place. Otherwise, the UN's culture and science agency may place the forest on the list of "World Heritage in Danger" next year. Meanwhile, Nasrul Hamid, state minister for power, energy and mineral resources said the construction work of the power plant at Rampal which is barely 14 kilometres off the forest has already started. However, social media users and activists initiated a war against Rampal power plant on Facebook and on the streets.
However, social media users and activists initiated a war against Rampal power plant on Facebook and on the streets.
4. Attacks on Minority: Miscreants vandalised and looted at least 10 Hindu temples in Brahmanbaria's Nasirnagar on October 30 along with hundreds of houses of the Hindu community. Nasirnagar Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) Chowdhury Muazzam Ahmed said the rampage began around 1:30pm after a Facebook post a few days ago.
5. Attack on Khadiza: On October 6, Khadija Akter Nargis, a student of Sylhet Government Women's College was brutally hacked by BCL leader Badrul Alam, a fourth-year student of Economic Department and an assistant secretary of SUST unit Chhatra League. Khadija Akter Nargis was brought to neurosurgical intensive care unit of Square Hospital in Dhaka in a critical state. The video of the hacking went viral on social media which lead to widespread criticism and protest by the netizens.