Social welfare minister Mohsin Ali triggered criticism as he openly smoked on stage in a reception for GPA-5 holders in JSC and PSC examinations on Monday afternoon.
The minister's actions in spite of legal bindings on and growing awareness against smoking in public places gave rise to widespread talk in the Sylhet region in particular.
A minister’s exhibition of “irresponsibility,” particularly as he was in the presence of students, parents, teachers and law enforcers, has “disappointed” many in the region.
Mohsin Ali, MP of Moulavibazar-3 constituency, was the chief guest in the reception programme at Sylhet Border Guard Public School and College.
Witnesses said the minister was smoking ceaselessly while sitting at the centre of the stage among the dignitaries, while speakers were delivering speech one after another.
And he continued to do so until he stood on the dais, witnesses said.
Commander of BGB Sylhet sector, Lt Col Jamal Mahmud Siddique presided over the programme. Commissioner of Sylhet Metropolitan Police Mizanur Rahman and Sylhet District Administrator Abdus Zahur Chowdhury Sufian were the special guests.
Bangladesh enacted the Smoking and Tobacco Product Usage (Control) Act in 2005 with provision of a Tk50 fine for smoking in public places.
Mohsin Ali, who smoked in the presence of the public, was first elected in 2008 from Moulavibazar-Rajnagar constituency. He was also elected uncontested from the same constituency in the latest national polls this year.