Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has called Mainul Hosein “an agent of the 1971 Pakistani forces” and said he is “no less responsible” for the killing of martyred journalist Serajuddin Hossain. Mainul, a former adviser to the military-controlled caretaker government, also “murdered a person” in The Daily Ittefaq and “tried to frame Mainul’s brother over the murder”, she alleges.
The prime minister made the remarks on Monday when she responded to questions from journalists about the call for action against Mainul for his recent remarks defaming one of their colleagues on TV. She appeared at a news conference at the Ganabhaban to brief the public on her recent visit to Saudi Arabia.
“What more can you expect of the person who made offensive remarks about a female journalist in filthy language?” Hasina asked.
“Do you know who he is? He worked as an agent of the Pakistani forces during the 71 Liberation War,” the prime minister said, pointing finger at Mainul.
“Serajuddin Hossain was taken away from the Ittefaq. And he (Mainul) was no less responsible for this. This is the least I can tell you,” she added.
The Pakistani military took away Serajuddin from his home with the help of Al Badr and Razakar forces when he was the executive editor of The Daily Ittefaq on Dec 10, 1971 during the Liberation War. He has not been seen since then.
Mainul, a former chairman of the dailys editorial board and now the publisher of The Daily New Nation, has been facing intense criticism since Oct 16 when he called journalist Masuda Bhatti a woman of loose morals in Ekattor Journal, a talk show aired live on Ekattor TV.
He has secured bails from the High Court in three cases against him, including one started by Bhatti, for the comments “defaming the women”.
Mainul, a son of Ittefaq founder-editor Tofazzal Hossain Manik Miah, was in-charge of law, justice and parliamentary affairs, among others, during the military-controlled caretaker government.
Hasina and BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia had been among a horde of politicians and businessmen who were arrested during the 2007-08 caretaker government.
Mainuls brother Anwar Hossain Manju owns the Ittefaq now. Manju is also a member of Hasinas cabinet.
“He (Mainul) committed a murder in Ittefaq and tried to frame his brother for this,” Hasina said.
The prime minister recalled the close ties between the families of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and Manik Miah to dig Mainuls past.
Mainuls mother had once told Hasinas mother Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib that she had to appoint a chef to cook English food for Mainul when he returned from the UK after studying law there.
“He is like a crow that dresses itself in feathers of a peacock, tries to turn a peacock. He went abroad for study to become a barrister but tried to become an Englishman. He learned the English food habits, but not their etiquette and way of speaking,” Hasina quipped about Mainul.
She said Mainul was a member of the party formed by Khandaker Mushtaque Ahmed after the assassination of Bangabandhu and was also involved with the party formed by the killers of Bangabandhu.
“What else can we expect of a person who formed a party with the self-confessed killers of the Father of the Nation?” she asked.
The prime minister also criticised the female journalists for “not doing much” against Mainul. She said she believed there should have been more cases against Mainul over his remarks on Bhatti.
“The law enforcers will do whatever necessary if you protest. Start cases, we will do whatever is needed to be done,” she added.
When Ektttor TV Chief Editor Mozammel Babu said the TV journalists decided not to call Mainul to any other programme, Hasina said, “I have doubts whether he will come even if he gets the call. He has hidden in a rat hole; now check which one.”