Exposing pro-militancy ‘Aynaghar’ drama


In today’s cyberworld, two individuals stand out among the most nefarious information terrorists namely – Tasneem Khalil and Zulkarnain Sami. For years, they have been running vile propaganda mainly targeting law enforcement agencies in Bangladesh for the “crimes” of continuing effective offensives against terrorists and militants. This racket of Tasneem Khalil and Zulkarnain Sami have joined the ranks of this vicious cycle of gradual subversion against Bangladesh, with the help of few individuals including Hasinur Rahman, a sacked military officer who has on-record connections with various terrorist and jihadist outfits, including Pakistani spy agency Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI). Their collective mission is to undermine the law enforcement agencies – including Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) which are combating terrorism and extremism in Bangladesh, thus deliberately misleading the international community. Even the German TV channel Deutsche Welle, among other human rights organizations, has fallen into the notorious propaganda trap set by Tasneem Khalil, Zulkarnain Sami and lately Hasinur Rahman. Their manipulative attempts have even caught the attention of the US administration.

Surprisingly, Global Investigative Journalism Network, an US-based organization has given certificate of appreciation to the makers of ‘Aynaghar’ drama by wrongly perceiving it as a documentary film. On its ‘X’ (former Twitter) handle, Global Investigative Journalism Network claims to be the “global hub for investigative journalism, sharing resources, stories, events, and jobs”. Despite such claim of being the “global hub of investigative journalism”, by extending appreciation to ‘Aynaghar’, GIJN actually have put its own credibility at stake.

Let us now delve into the technical aspects of the drama “Aynaghar” drama through which Tasneem Khalil and Zulkarnain Sami are attempting to deceive everyone.

Recently, researcher and media influencer NahidRains has scrutinized the drama, “Aynaghar” in a video post, meticulously highlighting how the drama produced by Tasneem Khalil essentially serves the purpose of questioning Bangladesh’s Armed Forces with an ulterior motive. “Aynaghar” is nothing more than a calculated attempt to tarnish the reputation of law enforcement agencies, especially the Bangladesh Army, which is directed by Tasneem Khalil – a man without any past knowledge of filmmaking.

The drama “Aynaghar” showcases two principal characters, as reported by Netra News – a website run by Tasneem Khalil and funded by National Endowment for Democracy (NED).

One of the main characters of “Aynaghar” drama is an individual named Mohammad Selim, a Bangladeshi expatriate in Malaysia. Another character is sacked army officer Hasinur Rahman. The third primary character is Tasneem Khalil himself, serving as the unscrupulous producer and presenter. The fourth is Zulkarnain Sami, a manipulative propagandist, a fugitive, and a self-proclaimed journalist with a track record of criminal activities including drug trafficking, pimping, robbery, street-snatching, extortion, rape with penchant for subversion. There is also another character named David Bergman, the son-in-law of Dr. Kamal Hossain, who is widely recognized as a broker by majority of people in Bangladesh.

Two actors of ‘Aynaghar’ drama Sheikh Mohammad Selim and Hasinur Rahman, a sacked military officer with militancy connections.

Errors in the “Aynaghar” drama

Let us examine the errors in the main video footage and how information is presented to manipulate everyone. Nahid Rain has meticulously analyzed the drama and exposed the falsehoods of Sheikh Mohammad Selim, one of the central characters in “Aynaghar”. Sheikh Mohammad Selim claims that there are no windows in Aynaghar, and the time cannot be determined there since there is no way to perceive sunlight or wind. However, the drama shows Aynaghar’s cells having small windows on the upper part, contradicting Selim’s statement.

In the drama, it is claimed that Aynaghar’s participant characters collected some images using the help of a laborer in Bangladesh’s Armed Forces. They state, “We have not disclosed these images for the sake of our sources’ confidentiality and safety”. However, these collected images are later shown in the video, and the claim that Aynaghar’s inmates could have been kept in those rooms is made.

Let us discuss this matter further.

Sheikh Mohammad Selim says that there are no windows in Aynaghar. He mentions that it is impossible to tell the time, as there is no way to perceive sunlight. However, in actual footage, Aynaghar’s cells are shown to have small windows at the top.

The description of Aynaghar’s rooms in the drama initially mentions that there are adjustable fans. However, in the specific images obtained, there is no evidence of any adjustable fans. Both descriptions and statements about the rooms’ characteristics appear inconsistent.

Sheikh Mohammad Selim, later in the video, contradicts his initial statement, saying that each room has a light and an adjustable fan on top, and that there are four adjustable fans in total, implying that each of the ten rooms has two fans. In the same vein, Hasinur Rahman, in his description, mentions that there are two sections in Aynaghar, with ten rooms in each section, where both military and non-military individuals work as wardens.

The “Aynaghar” drama presents multiple stories of the inmates, as narrated by Sheikh Mohammad Selim.

In the 21-minute and 10-second of the video, Selim describes a prisoner named Litton. He speculates that Litton might have gone to Bangladesh around 2016 or 2017 with aspirations to participate in martial arts at the Olympic Games. Litton is mentioned as saying that Sheikh Mohammad Selim initially referred to his activities as “martial art”, but later corrected himself, possibly referring to “karate”.

In the description of one of the inmates of Sheikh Mohammad Selim’s “Aynaghar” (House of Mirrors), name of one “border Litton” has been mentioned. These words were spoken in the context of an interview with a character named Border Litton by the playwright Tasneem Khalil.

Tasneem Khalil, in his analysis of various theories and elements in the story, has found a source for his statements, Sheikh Mohammad Abu Saleh, who according to Khaleel was a school teacher at a school in Dhaka. Tasneem Khalil shared a news article on the “Rising BD” YouTube channel, a 21-minute 52-second video, which claims that in November 2016, RAB (Rapid Action Battalion) arrested him (Litton). At that time, allegations were made that this Abu Saleh, also known as Litton or Hurayra, was a jihadist terrorist, and he worked as an instructor in Islamic State (ISIS)’s training camps.

It is noteworthy that the news published on Rising BD was updated on August 31, 2020, after its initial release in November 2016. Tasneem Khalil, in the description of his drama, states that Sheikh Mohammad Selim was shown a photo of Litton published in a newspaper to confirm that he had indeed met the same “Border Litton” with whom Selim had an encounter at Aynahhar.

Listening to the narrative of this incident presented in the video, one might be inclined to believe that the drama is based on truth. However, it is interesting to note that there was no event in the Olympic competition in Bangladesh in 2016 or 2017 related to karate. We were able to confirm this information through the Bangladesh Olympic Association.

Tasneem Khalil’s attempt to prove the veracity of this story from “Aynaghar’s Inmates” through the broadcast of this video on NTV News and the subsequent recognition by the Global Investigative Journalism Network has raised eyebrows. This is his achievement!

In the drama titled “Aynaghar’s Inmates”, Sheikh Mohammad Selim, another character, mentioned that many people have written phone numbers on the walls of Aynaghar, and there are names and numbers written in the toilet as well. Although this matter is humorous and unofficial, it raises questions about the security of certain inmates in the country. If some important prisoners are kept under strict surveillance, wouldn’t they notice something like writing on the walls or phone numbers in the toilet? Isn’t this unbelievable?

In this poorly executed drama, Tasneem Khalil, who claims to be an anarchist, has blended two highly sensitive issues. On one hand, he seems to be pushing a notorious agenda aimed at stirring anti-India and anti-Hindu sentiments. On the other hand, he appears to be seeking sympathy from ultra-Islamists. Sheikh Mohammad Selim is heard in the video mentioning that an Indian national (posing as an interrogator) entered ‘Aynaghar’ and asked if he spoke Hindi. Additionally, in another part, Tasneem Khalil manipulatively included the Azan (Islamic call to prayer) in the background. However, these tactics have been executed in a rather dubious and transparent manner that would be evident to anyone with even a modicum of expertise in film and documentary production.

After a thorough examination, it becomes glaringly obvious that ‘Aynaghar’ is nothing more than a poorly crafted and unsuccessful attempt at drama. Should the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) or any other organization be interested in delving deeper into this ‘Aynaghar’ production, we stand prepared to provide substantial and compelling evidence to substantiate our claim that this is not a documentary. Instead, it appears to be a poorly scripted drama with the sole intent of tarnishing the reputation of law enforcement agencies in Bangladesh. We openly challenge Tasneem Khalil and his cohorts in this propaganda venture to refute our observations and findings. Furthermore, we call upon the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) to promptly cease funding to Netra News, blacklist Tasneem Khalil, and demand the return of every dollar of American taxpayer money that may have been misused to mislead the NED and the international community.


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