Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu is notorious for his attention seeking character. I once remember the man suddenly walking into a seminar I was attending on campus in a prestigious university at Dhaka when Inu suddenly entered the venue and later demanded that he be given floor. Those were the days of the caretaker government under Fakhruddin when politicians used to be on the run, in fear for their lives. Times have changed, and with it the character of politicians.
Hasanul Haq Inu has kept up the facade of an immaculate and strong worded politician while endeavoring to discredit his political opposition at every moment possible. Not to be outdone by his sneering political buddy Suranjit Sengupta or the rock faced Know-it-All Mohiuddin Khan Alamgir, Inu has tried to keep up a high profile among government officialdom since taking office in September 2012.
He has regularly called press conferences to outline policies of the government in general and policies of his ministry in specific on current issues. Sadly, such press conferences of his have actually been flooded more by rhetoric than information. The press conferences have underlined his deep hate for the political opposition in Bangladesh, and his disproportionate remarks and opinions have made headlines, less for their objectivity, and infinitely more for their pure outlandishness. Then again, it could just be another class act to seek the attention of those who matter in order to gain another term in office in perhaps bigger and better positions.
His comments after taking office reflect such tendencies. Take the example of him leading the pack in saying that existing law could be used to ban Jamaat and Shibir, despite comments by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on the need for ministers to refrain from making such comments. Inu has been on the forefront in inflammatory criticism of Khaleda Zia, leader of the opposition, calling her the unofficial ameer of Jamaat-e-Islami. In addition to his rantings, he is regularly heard by media and countrymen to refer to Jamaat as a terrorist outfit. Unable to do anything constructive recently, he has resorted to allegations that BNP is involved with 'media terrorism'. In his spree for attention grabbing, he has made statements such as 'Government won't tolerate abuse of Islam', in which he has given his own twisted views on the subject, saying that it was not the atheist bloggers who were responsible for abusing Islam through their inflammatory and defaming remarks on the Prophet and Islam in general. According to him, abuse of Islam was being carried out by media who had uncovered such information, specifically Amardesh, Naya Diganta and the Daily Sangram. Accordingly, they rightfully required to be banned. But oops, Inu had to hold back his words there, regrettably informing media journalists that current laws did not yet allow so. In a bid to add some spice to the political vendetta he initiated, Inu in his latest statements, asked Khaleda Zia to hand him lists of true war criminals and true atheists.
Khaleda Zia, to her credit, has refrained from answering such bizzare and childish queries.