Road Transport Minister Obaidul Quader is once again in the eye of a social media storm by sharing a photo where he is seen making an auto-rickshaw driver do sit-ups holding ears as a punishment for violating rules.
The minister posted the photo on his Facebook page on Sunday.
The government has banned all three-wheeled auto-rickshaws and locally built human haulers from the national highways since Aug 1.
These vehicles were blamed for many recent road accidents across Bangladesh in which several people died.
Quader went to inspect the ground situation on Dhaka-Mawa Highway on Sunday. Later, a photo album titled ‘Road Safety Program Maowa 09-08-2015’ was uploaded on his Facebook page.
One of the pictures showed a police official making the auto-rickshaw driver to do sit-ups holding his ears while the minister, wearing black pants and white shirt, looking on.
A Facebook user, Ahmed Jewel, shared the photo and wrote, “From where did Mr minister get the authority to humiliate people like this? A violator will be punished according to the law.
“But who gave him (Quader) the power to insult (the driver) in public? Is this a republic?…”
He continued, “Mr minister, remember that these people voted for you and made you the minister. Learn to respect people. And do something so that people will be forced to abide by the law.”
“Don’t become the public enemy. We have been hurt by what you wanted to depict by sharing this photo on Facebook.”
“This CNG driver comes from the weakest section of society. So there is no risk in insulting him by making him to hold ears,” remarked online activist and blogger Pinaki Bhattacharya.
Zahid Hossain pointed out that Article 35(5) of the Constitution prohibited any torture or inhuman punishment.
Rashed Mosharraf wrote, “When government vehicles, university buses ply on wrong lanes, what steps are taken?”
Kazi Ashraf wrote, “If he is courageous enough, let him make anyone who encroaches railways or highways land do sit-ups holding ears.”
Another photo of the minister making a motorcycle rider fasten buttons of his shirt also went viral on Facebook.
A few years ago, the minister had evoked strong criticism by slapping a railway official at Ishwardi in Pabna. At that time he was the railways minister.