DHAKA (AFP): A top Bangladeshi cricket referee said Monday he had “resigned” after taking part in anti-government protests, with supporters alleging he was pushed out under pressure.
Debabrata Paul, Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) match referee coordinator, took part in a rally of the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) on Friday, sparking criticism from other officials at the influential board.
“I found the situation really uncomfortable, so I resigned,” Paul told AFP, declining to comment further.
But supporters close to Paul said he had been castigated by BCB directors in players’ messaging groups for taking part in the protest and that he felt “abused”.
Paul, who represents Bangladesh in the FICA, the global cricket players’ association, had been serving as a match referee in local leagues since 2006, and has overseen 134 domestic matches.
BCB umpires committee chairman Iftekhar Rahman said that he had spoken to Paul over his participation in the protest, but denied he had been forced to quit.
“We are also shocked at his resignation,” Rahman told AFP. “We did not put any pressure on him.”
The opposition BNP are seeking the ouster of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in elections slated for January.
BCB president Nazmul Hassan is a lawmaker for Hasina’s ruling Awami League, as is former captain Mashrafe Mortaza.