This photo circulated in old reports about a clash between ruling party groups in Bangladesh

Copyright AFP 2017-2022. All rights reserved.

Facebook posts shared thousands of times purport to show a photo of a Hindu police officer who "shot and killed" three Muslims in Bangladesh as religious unrest erupted across parts of the country. The claim is false; the photo has circulated in reports from 2015 about a clash between rival ruling party groups. AFP found no reports of the incident described in posts.

The photo was published here on October 15 in a Facebook post shared more than 9,000 times.

"Hindu police officer Soumen Kumar Roy openly shot and killed a six-year-old child along with a Muslim couple," the Bengali-language post reads. "Below is the picture of Soumen Roy attacking with a shotgun."

Soumen Roy is a former Bangladesh police officer who allegedly killed his wife, stepson and a man in June.

The post surfaced online after an outbreak of violence in Bangladesh targeting religious minorities.

Screenshot of the false claim shared on Facebook, taken on October 19, 2021

The photo was shared in similar Facebook posts here and here.

However, the claim is false.

AFP found no media reports of a Hindu police officer killing three Muslims during the recent spate of violence.

Md. Sabbirul Alam, the Officer in Charge (OC) of Kushtia Model Police Station, said the photo did not show a Hindu police officer named Soumen Roy. 

"This is not Soumen Roy. It’s a photo of the incident from a clash between two groups of Awami League after the 15-August procession in Kushtia in 2015," he told AFP. 

A reverse image search on Google found the photo in a report from August 16, 2015 by Bangladeshi daily Prothom Alo.

The report's headline reads: "Awami League activist killed in clash after mourning rally in Kushtia".

The report said the man was unidentified.

Below is a screenshot comparison of misleading Facebook posts (left) and the Prothom Alo report (right).

Screenshot comparison of misleading Facebook posts (left) and the Prothom Alo report (right)

 
 

A later report published in 2018 identified the man in the photo as Anisur Rahman Anis, a follower of a then-local ruling party leader.

The report's headline reads, "A sacked Assistant Sub Inspector (ASI) fired".

According to the report, Anisur Rahman was an officer in the Bangladesh police force.

The report states he joined the forces of a group of local Awami League in Kushtia after being stripped of his duty on allegations of involvement with embezzlement of drugs.