Bangladesh, Mashrafe Mortaza, World Cup 2019, doctor, transfer

Top Bangladesh doctor transferred to rural area for ‘criticizing’ cricket team captain

Story by AFP

A top paediatric doctor in Bangladesh has said he was transferred to a remote rural clinic after criticising the country’s cricket captain on social media.

Rezaul Karim, a child cancer specialist, was posted to the south-eastern district of Rangamati weeks after criticising Mashrafe Mortaza on Facebook.

“I have been transferred to Rangamati medical college, which doesn’t have any cancer treatment facilities. This seems to me an unnatural process,” he said.

Mohsin Uddin, a deputy secretary of the country’s health ministry, who signed the transfer order, said it was “only an administrative decision”, and rejected any suggestion it was a punishment.

A social media row started after Mortaza, the country’s most popular sportsperson and a member of parliament for the ruling party, visited a state-run hospital in his rural constituency and became infuriated when he found several doctors absent. A video of Mortaza criticising one senior doctor by telephone went viral on social media.

Karim said he was one of six doctors served notice by the country’s health ministry after writing a Facebook post criticising Mortaza for “taking pleasure in bowling Bangladeshi doctors”.

Two months later he was ordered to Rangamati, where a low-intensity tribal insurgency has simmered for decades.

The sudden transfer from a cancer facility in Chittagong, where he was treating more than 100 young patients, has also grabbed local media headlines.

The Manabjamin newspaper said the transfer was a consequence of Karim’s “disrespectful” Facebook remark about Mortaza, who is in England taking part in the World Cup.

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