Minister quits over controversial remarks

Wednesday, July 25th, 2018 | | Politics

Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Sher Bahadur Tamang announced his resignation on Tuesday following widespread criticism of his controversial remarks concerning female students pursuing medical degrees in Bangladesh.

During a press meet organised at the ministry on Tuesday, Tamang said he had resigned on moral ground. Sources said the minister’s move followed an instruction from senior leaders of the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) who discussed the matter on Monday night. A meeting of the nine-member NCP Central Secretariat had concluded that Tamang’s statement had demeaned the government and the party.

On Sunday, the minister apologised for his remarks that Nepali girls pursuing MBBS degrees in Bangladesh were bound to accede their honour to claim their certificate. He said he was sorry to have hurt their sentiments.

NCP Spokesperson Narayan Kaji Shrestha told the Post that the decision to ask the minister to resign was taken unanimously by the NCP Secretariat, chaired by NCP Co-chairman and Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and Co-chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal.

At the news conference, Tamang said he had been a crusader of women’s rights all his life but the very issue had cost him the job. Before calling it quits, the minister highlighted the achievements made during his tenure.

“I’ll continue to help in the party’s great initiative of building the nation,” Tamang said, in tears. “I thank PM Oli and the party leadership for designating me such an important and respectable position.”

He added that his speech was based on “information that female Nepali students in Bangladesh are mistreated”. Addressing an event in Kathmandu on Friday, the minister claimed that Nepali women studying medicine in Bangladesh were “submitting themselves to their professors to get degrees”. His statement came days after Durga Prasain, the owner of B&C Hospital in Birtamod, Jhapa, made a similar claim.

The video went viral on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Tamang’s apology on Sunday failed to reduce the outrage. Tamang is the first minister to resign from the communist-led coalition formed in February.