In an outburst that will strike some as more than a bit out of left field, Liberation War Affairs Minister AKM Mozammel Huq has called on the government to shut down internet services in the country after 12am daily.
While that may sound preposterous in this day and age, you know he is being serious because he was careful to add 'special arrangements' can be made for those who work with foreign companies from Bangladesh (outsourcing/freelancers).
That would probably require some sort of licensing or permit for such individuals. Or maybe something like a ration card.
The Liberation War Affairs minister, who isn't immune to the occasional gaffe, was speaking as the chief guest at the 74th founding anniversary of the Dhaka University Alumni Association (DUAA) at the DU campus Saturday.
What vexes him is that students these days are glued to their mobile phones instead of their studies, he said. It seems the minister hasn't caught up to the fact that a lot of people these days are actually studying on their phones, or tablets - whatever the device, the essential facility that they must use to get their studies done is the internet.
Without it, we would probably have witnessed 2 years of rampant illiteracy the world over just recently.
"I think, in the future, Bangladesh will become a talentless nation (if this trend goes on)," the minister added.
Were the internet really such a bad place, what good would it even do to only ban it after midnight? Surely all the damage would already be done. Clearly the minister, who has a valiant record as a freedom fighter during the Liberation War, hasn't really thought this through.
He did end with an excellent suggestion though, for universities to ramp up their research output, or else risk being saddled down by a lack of expertise.
But try and do that with restricted internet! (Anyone has a JSTOR password?)
For the record, we can afford to take it lightly, because like so much else, this is one more ministerial pronouncement that is destined for the rubbish bin.
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