A junior minister in the Bangladesh government resigned Tuesday amid backlash over his derogatory remarks on women, including opposition leader Khaleda Zia and her granddaughter Zaima Rahman, officials said.
The resignation by deputy minister for information and broadcasting, Murad Hassan, came a day after he was asked by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to step down, the ministry’s public relations officer Gias Uddin confirmed to EFE.
General secretary Obaidul Quader of the ruling Awami League party had told reporters on Monday Hasina had sought Hassan’s resignation following his controversial remarks.
Murad allegedly made the disparaging remarks on Dec.4 during a Facebook interview that soon went viral.
The incident led the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) to demand Hassan’s resignation for using abusive words against party chairperson Khaleda Zia, her son Tarique Rahman and Tarique’s daughter Zaima Rahman.
BNP in a statement described the comments as “baseless, politically malicious and anti-women and racist.”
The call for Hassan’s resignation grew louder after an audio of his telephone conversation with a film actress was leaked on social media, in which he was heard threatening her with rape.
The actress, in a social media post on Monday, confirmed the authenticity of the audio.
Women rights activists demanded that Hassan be tried for his remarks.
“His resignation is not enough for what he said. He should be tried for insulting women regardless of their political identity or profession,” Fauzia Muslem, president of Bangladesh Mahila Parishad (Bangladesh Women Association), told EFE.