While distorting facts, ‘Bhorer Kagoj,’ Bengali-language newspaper of Bangladesh reported that India handed over second hand locomotives to Dhaka

Former Russian chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov in his book ‘Deep Thinking’ writes: “The point of modern propaganda isn’t only to misinform or push an agenda. It is to exhaust your critical thinking, to annihilate truth.” Exactly the same is being done by some Bangladeshi dailies, which otherwise follow the same footprint their Pakistani counterparts do in their tryst to harm India and its interests.

Recently ‘Bhorer Kagoj,’ Bengali-language daily newspaper of Bangladesh reported with officials saying that the locomotives India sent to Bangladesh are second hand and are at least seven to five years old. The story was not only misleading and devoid of any fact, it was apparently written with an aim to bring a strain in India-Bangladesh relations.

“We have seen other mischievous stories from the same source, which pertain to our ties with Bangladesh,” Ministry of External Affairs’ spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said while adding that “these locos have been provided from our existing inventory based on a specific request and an urgent requirement of Bangladesh.”

On July 27, India handed over 10 Broad Gauge locomotives to Bangladesh in a virtual ceremony attended by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal from India while Abdul Kalam Abdul Momen, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Nurul Islam Sujan Minister of Railway represented Bangladesh.

The proposal for 10 locomotives for Bangladesh railways had been received by India during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit in October 2019. All 10 locomotives were not only taken out from Indian Railways inventory but also “suitably modified” to meet the requirement of Bangladesh. This India did to meet Bangladesh’s immediate demand and in keeping with the spirit of friendship between the two countries.

In his speech at the handing over ceremony, EAM Jaishankar was clear in his mind about the relations of the two countries. There was no confusion either in India’s diplomatic and political community members when he said, “Very few countries in the world share such close fraternal ties as those of ours (India and Bangladesh). Our partnership today stands out as a role model in the region for good neighbourly relations.”

But Bhorer Kagoj rubbed India the wrong way by concocting stories on the locomotive issue. This development came close on the heels of the Bangladesh daily’s indulging in perfidy on Indian projects in the country. In its report on July 25, Bhorer Kagoj said all Indian projects have slowed down since the re-election of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in 2019 and that Chinese infrastructure projects are receiving more support from Dhaka.

As if it was not enough, the daily came out with another sensational disclosure, stating Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Riva Ganguly Das tried for four months to get an appointment with Prime Minister Hasina, but didn’t get it. This was the height of misrepresentation of facts, compelling MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava to term it as a “concocted” story. But then such shenanigans are not new in Bangladesh or Pakistan. There are anti-India elements which are looking for every opportunity to hammer India’s good relationship with neighbours into smithereens, but how hard they may try truth can’t be fudged.