State Minister for Information and Broadcasting Murad Hassan resigned from the cabinet on Tuesday over his offensive remarks on women and scandalous audio leaks.
The Cabinet Division has already sent his resignation letter to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
In the letter, he mentioned personal grounds for resignation from the post of state minister, urging the Prime Minister to accept his resignation and relieve him of the duty.
Murad, who has taken a lot of flak from different quarters, including his own party and cabinet colleagues, stepped down following the Prime Minister’s order to do so by Tuesday.
Earlier on Monday night, Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader told journalists that the Prime Minister asked Murad to step down from the cabinet for various reasons.
In the emailed letter, Murad made a mistake while mentioning the date of joining the ministry.
He was appointed as state minister for information and broadcasting on May 19, 2019 but he ‘mistakenly’ wrote the year as 2021 in the resignation letter.
Murad was appointed as state minister for health after formation of the new government on January 7, 2019 following the 11th parliamentary elections. Later, he was transferred to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting on May 19, 2019.
After sending the resignation letter, Murad offered an apology to the people for his remarks made on the social media. “If I’ve made a mistake or if my words have hurt our mothers and sisters, I beg your pardon,” he said in a thread made on his official Facebook page.
As the news of Murad’s resignation spread, the residents of Sarishabari distributed sweetmeat among the people and brought out a joyous procession.
Later, the agitated leaders and activists of the ruling party burnt him in effigy.
Although Murad had been in the spotlight for the last couple of days over his derogatory remarks, Information and Broadcasting Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud hinted that he has noticed such a change in his deputy a couple of months ago. “Both the government and Awami League felt embarrassed at the indecent remarks of Murad. That's why the Prime Minister asked him to step down,” he said.
He may also lose the primary membership of Awami League as he was suspended from his post of health, population and family welfare secretary of the Jamalpur district unit immediately after his resignation.
AL General Secretary Quader also hinted that Murad’s fate in the party will be decided by its central working committee. “The decision regarding his party membership will be taken in the next meeting of our central working committee,” he said.
Echoing their general secretary, AL Joint General Secretary Mahbub-ul-Alam Hanif said if allegations against a leader are proven, he/she must be punished. Meanwhile, BNP has hinted at going for legal action against Murad for making vulgar comments on the daughter of its acting Chairman Tarique Rahman.
Besides, the High Court directed Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) to remove all objectionable audios and videos of Murad from social media platforms like Facebook and YouTube.
A complaint was lodged with Shahbagh Police Station in the capital on Tuesday against the disgraced state minister for making derogatory comments on the former female student leaders of Dhaka University.
Murad has recently taken flak also by saying that the state religion provision should not remain in the constitution even though the ruling party’s senior leadership is not considering the matter.
On different occasions recently, he also made insulting remarks about Gonoshasthaya Kendra founder Dr Zafrullah Chowdhury and former BNP lawmaker Syeda Asifa Ashrafi Papia.
Later, a two-year-old audio of a phone call with actor Mamnun Hasan Emon and actress Mahiya Mahi leaked that proliferated across Facebook.
People from all walks of life, women rights groups, feminist organisations and rights activists expressed great disappointment over such ‘sexist’, ‘perverted’, ‘racist’, and ‘objectionable’ remarks from a cabinet member.
BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir sought the Prime Minister’s attention to taking punitive action against the Jamalpur-4 MP.
Murad was elected lawmaker from the Jamalpur-4 constituency for the first time in 2008 general election. He, however, did not get the party’s ticket in 2014 but contested the 11th parliamentary elections held in 2018 on the AL ticket.