Did The Water Flowing In A Bangladeshi River Turn Red With Blood? No, Here’s The Truth…

False International

Over the last few weeks we noticed a number of posts on social media streams in Sri Lanka targeting the minority community with posts related to COVID19. Some of these posts were misleading and we debunked several such stories such as a year old procession in Beruwala misinterpreted as recent and an incident related to a COVID19 recovered patient roaming Puttalam

On a similar note, FactCrescendo Sri Lanka flagged a social media post that ran on 12th April claiming that the waters of a Bangladeshi river turned blood red, allegedly because of the genocide of Buddhist by Islamists in Bangladesh. Facebook user Shanika Ekaynayake from Kandy, Sri Lanka posted the below post which went viral, with a number of other users sharing similar content as well. The post, which can be seen below was accompanied by Sinhala extensive text

කාටද මතක……….. කවුද මේවට කතා කරේ… 1992 අප්රේල් 10; බංග්ලාදේශ බෞද්ධයින්ගේ ඛේදජනක දවස: මේ ගලා යන රුධිර ගංගාව තිරිසන් සතුන්ගේ නොව, 1992 අප්රේල් 10 වෙනි දින මධ්යම රාත්රියේ, බෙන්ගාලි සෙට්ලර් මුස්ලිම් හා තත් කාලින BDR හෙවත් Bangladesh Rifles revolt විසින් කෘර ලෙස කපා කොටා වෙඩි තබා සමූල ඝාතනය කරන ලද, 3000කට ආසන්න අහිංසක බංග්ලාදේශ බෞද්ධයන්ගේ රුධිරයයි. මේ අමානුෂික ඝාතනය නිසා එම ග්රාමයටලෝගන්හෙවත්රුධිර ගංගාවයන නම පටබැදුනි. මේ සෝචනීය සිදුවීම නිසා අසරණ වූ බොහෝ අහිංසක බෞද්ධයින් ගම් අතහැර දා සමීප ඉන්දියාවට පලා ගියහ. අවසනාවක මහත නම්, මහා මිනිස් සංහාරය සිදුකල පාපතරයින්ට තවමත් නිතිය ක්රියාත්මක වී නොමැති වීමයි. සුළුජාතික බෞද්ධ හා හින්දු ජාතීන්ට ජීවත්විමට සිදුවී තිබෙන්නේ අප්රමාණ දුක් ගැහැට මැද . කබලෙන් ලිපට වැටුන බංග්ලාදේශ බෞද්ධයන් තව වසර 20ක් යන්නට මත්තෙන් මිහිමතින් තුරන් වී යනු ඇතැයි බොහෝ ඉතිහාසඥයින් දරන මතයයි. මිලියන 3 4 අසරණ බෞද්ධයින්ට අද ගැටෙන්නට සිදුව තිබෙන්නේ ම්ලියන 170කට අධික මෝහම්මදිකයින් සමගය. මෙතෙක් කල් දුක් ගැහැට විදිමින් තවමත් බෞද්ධයින් නොනැසී පවතින්නට එකම හේතුව නම් බංග්ලාදේශ බෞද්ධයින්ගේ තිබෙන අධ්යාපනයයි. බහුතර බෞද්ධයින් මධ්යම පාන්තිකයින් වුවද, සංසන්දනාත්මකව බැලූ කල මෝහම්මදිකයින්ට වඩා අධ්යාපනයෙන් ඉහල ප්රතිශතයක සිටියි. නමුත්, බෞද්ධයන් බහුලව ජීවත් වන දිස්ත්රික්ක 3, කෝටා ක්රමයක් (quota) හදුන්වා දී, බොහෝ අසරණ බෞද්ධ ළමයින්ට, සරසවි ප්රවිෂ්ඨයට ප්රමාණයටත් වඩා ලකුණු තිබුනද, ඉහල පෙලේ සරසවිවලට ඇතුලත් වෙන්නට වරම අහිමි වෙයි. තවත් බොහෝ දේ කිවයුතු තිබුනත්, නොකියා සිටීම නුවණට හුරුය. නැවත එවැනි ශෝචනීය දේවල් අහිංසක මිනිසුන්ට සිදුනොවේවායි ප්රාර්ථනා කරමි.” 

Roughly translated, this means: Throwback to 10th April 1992. This river of blood, flowing down silently, is the blood of our indigenous Buddhists in Bangladesh, estimated to be nearly 300 innocents, who had been brutally murdered by settler Muslims on 10th April 1992. Due to this shocking genocide, this particular village came to be known as ‘Lo Gang’ which means the ‘River of Blood’. This is the life that minority Buddhist live in Bangladesh today. The murderers still live freely. Human rights do not always work on the minority’s side. These types of incidents are quite common in the area, but few are reported, coupled with other crimes such as rape, harassment, ethnic cleansing etc.

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We also gathered that this same post ran on 80+ other Sri Lankan social media pages and profiles in the past couple of weeks having a similar viral result – a small sample of which as can be seen below

Given the sensitivity of the subject and the potential harm such posts can cause, FactCrescendo Sri Lanka investigated the authenticity of the image, its location and the date of the genocide mentioned in the contents of the post. 

FACT CHECK

We began with a Google Reverse Image search to see if the image was used in other posts outside of the country. The search results indicated that the image could have been from several other locations, primarily in the African continent such as Kenya, Nigeria, the Congo and Rwanda. 

A YouTube video, posted on March 30th , 2020 with the title “LA FIN DU MONDE RIVIÈRE QUI SÉPARE LE CONGO ET LE RWANDA S’EST TRANSFORMÉE EN SANG….” meaning “THE END OF THE RIVER WORLD THAT SEPARATES CONGO AND RWANDA HAS TRANSFORMED INTO BLOOD …”, indicated that the image in the viral Facebook post could have been a screenshot taken from the same video. Links to the video and accompanying screenshot are below:

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Running a frame-by-frame analysis of the video and then using each frame in additional Google Reverse Image search indicated that the location of the video was Ghana. An online newspaper from Ghana (PRIME News Ghana) ran the story on this on 7th October 2017 saying the water of a river New Juaben Region had suddenly turned red one Saturday that month and that it was taken for laboratory testing. The article runs with a similar video of the location taken from a different angle as can be seen below:-

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Further investigations revealed that yet another Ghanian online publication (Ghana Web) ran the story two days later with more information such as the name of the village being Koforidua and the river’s name, Nsukwa.  The article also details a police report made by Chief Inspector Ebenexer Sekyi where it is mentioned that a tie-and-dye powder was poured into the river by a nearby factory. The article also features an additional video, more extensive than the original and yet clearly connected to the viral image.

Both articles note that evangelists have claimed the incident to a Biblical sign of the end times. The Ghana Web article debunks this perspective with the scientific evidence provided stating the local police had confirmed the incident had occurred due to local manufacturer pouring dye powder into the river.

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A further search for the locations provided in both articles on Google Maps also revealed the accuracy of the region and the Koforidua village as seen below:

Considering the original post mentioning Bangladesh as the location, we also ran a further search with the keywords ‘Bangladesh’, ‘River’ and ‘Blood’ to discover a BBC news story from September 2016 that indicated that the annual EID animal slaughter in Dhaka turned the city’s flood water red as can be seen below. However, the images have no similarity to the original image from the viral post and no reference to genocide was mentioned. 

Further, the Odia desk of Factcrescendo team also debunked this story recently based on a post mentioning the location to be Russia.  

“EXPOSED! HOW KOFORIDUA RIVER TURNED BLOOD” video posted in 2017 shows how the water turned blood red by pouring chemicals.

However, 1992 Bangladesh pogroms was a series of violence against the Bengali Hindus and other non-Muslim minorities of Bangladesh, by Islamists in protest against the demolition of Babri Masjid and violence against Muslims in India. The incidents of violence began in December 1992 and continued till March 1993. Wikipedia

CONCLUSION

Based on the evidences, it is clear that the image of river with red water is not from Bangladesh but from Ghana and has absolutely no relation with genocide or minorities in Bangladesh in 1992. Hence the post sharing the image with claim in the story that says, “A Bangladeshi river turned red with blood of Buddhist genocide victims in 1992” is totally baseless.

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Title:Did The Water Flowing In A Bangladeshi River Turn Red With Blood? No, Here’s The Truth…

Fact Check By: Shanaya Seneviratne 

Result: False

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