05/11/2016, 17.56
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Promode Mankin, Bangladesh’s first Catholic minister, dies

by Sumon Corraya

The 77-year-old politician died at Mumbai’s Holy Family Hospital, where he was undergoing treatment. Dhaka’s archbishop visited the family. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina chose him twice as Social Welfare minister.

Dhaka (AsiaNews) – Promode Mankin, the first Catholic appointed minister in Bangladesh, died at Mumbai’s Holy Family Hospital where he was undergoing treatment.

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina joined Mgr Patrick D'Rozario, archbishop of Dhaka, in extending her condolences to the family of the 77-year-old lawyer. The prelate met with Mr Mankin’s family this morning (pictured).

Born on 18 April 1939 in Mymensingh (north-eastern Bangladesh), Promode Mankin entered politics in 1991 when he joined the Awami League, a secularist party. A trailblazer for his co-religionists in politics, he was the first Catholic to get a cabinet post.

Sheikh Hasina included him in her last two cabinets (last sworn in in January 2012) as State Minister for Social Welfare.

Thanks to his great influence, the Catholic Church has had access to the highest offices of the state. Every year, for example, Catholic leaders celebrate an early Christmas at the Prime Minister’s Residence.

The country’s Catholic community is shocked at the news of Mankin’s death. "I cannot believe Promode is no longer with us," said Nirmol Rozario, secretary of the Bangladesh Christian Association, which Mankin headed.

For Daniel Costa, a Catholic, the politician’s death is "a great and irreparable loss for the entire community and the country. He was soft-hearted, pleasant, smiling and with a gentle personality.”

“He had a feeling for humanity,” Costa added. “He loved me very much and always encouraged me to serve in the legal field. May God grant him eternal peace and salvation for his departed soul."

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