State Minister for Religious Affairs Sheikh Md Abdullah passed away last night at the Dhaka Central Military Hospital. He was 75.
The freedom fighter died after a cardiac arrest around 11:45pm, Nurul Islam, secretary at the ministry, told The Daily Star.
He was rushed to the hospital after he started feeling unwell at his home around 10:30pm, said Sheikh Nazmul Haque Saikat, the state minister’s assistant personal secretary.
Abdullah left behind his two wives, eleven children, a host of relatives, well-wishers and friends, he said.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has expressed deep shock at his demise.
Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader, Education Minister Dipu Moni, Deputy Leader of Opposition GM Quader, among others, also expressed profound shock at the death.
Abdullah was born on September 8, 1945 in Kekania village on the bank of the Madhumati river in Gopalganj.
His father was late Sheikh Md Matiur Rahman and mother Mosammat Rabeya Khatun. He was second among his four brothers and three sisters.
Beginning his education at local Gaohardanga Hafezia Madrasa, he then studied at a Qawmi madrasa. He had his primary and secondary level education at Sultan Shahi Kekania Primary School and Sultan Shahi Kekania High School. Later, he obtained B.com (hons) from Azam Khan College in Khulna in 1963 and M.com from the University of Dhaka in 1972 and MA in Economics in 1974, according to the website of the religious affairs ministry.
He obtained his LLB degree from Dhaka Central Law College in 1977. After completion of his education, he started his career as the Headmaster of Sultan Shahi Kekania High School. Later, he started practicing law at Dhaka and Gopalganj judge courts and Bangladesh Supreme Court as an enlisted lawyer.
He got engaged in politics when he was a student. He was motivated by the ideologies of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
He was actively involved in the Mass Upsurge Movement of 1969. He joined the Liberation War in 1971.
Every time Sheikh Hasina was elected Member of Parliament from Gopalganj-03 (Tungipara-Kotalipara), Abdullah worked as her chief polls agent.
After the formation of the current government last year, he was made the state minister for the religious affairs ministry.