The minister’s comments, interpreted by some as an attempt to downplay the culpability of the driver, resulted in calls for him to step down
Shipping minister Shajahan Khan on Monday said his resignation would not solve the ongoing crisis, as public outrage over the deaths of two teenagers in a road accident threatened to fuel a third day of protests.
The minister’s comments, interpreted by some as an attempt to downplay the culpability of the driver, resulted in calls for him to step down.
Shipping Minister Shajahan Khan is also the executive president of Bangladesh Sarak Paribahan Sramik Federation, a major transport workers’ union.
Critics claim he has often downplayed concerns over reckless driving amid a spate of deadly road accidents.
On Sunday, Shajahan was visibly irked by reporters telling him that drivers had become reckless because he had overlooked their faults.
“A road crash has claimed 33 lives in India’s Maharashtra; but do they talk about it the way we do?” he asked.
Talking to reporters at the Secretariat on Monday, he said: “If anyone can prove that the problems will be solved as soon as I resign, I have no problem in quitting.”
Resignation is not the way to solve a crisis, he added.
The minister made assurances that those responsible for the accident would be brought to justice.
“The transport workers will not protest any action against them,” he added.
When asked whether transport company Jabal-e-Noor Paribahan, whose bus rammed into the students, was owned by one of his relatives, the minister said he had no idea.
“The route permit of the Jabal-e-Noor Paribahan buses will be cancelled,” he said.
Chhatra Union demands Shajahan Khan’s resignation
Bangladesh Chhatra Union staged a demonstration on Monday demanding the resignation of Shipping Minister Shajahan Khan in front of the National Museum, protesting the killing of two school students by a reckless driver in Dhaka.
The Front’s General Secretary Liton Nandi said: “Such remarks from a minister were unexpected. If he does not resign willingly, the public will reject him.”