Thursday, 25 April, 2019

Quota protesters reunite; vow to carry on movement

Published on: 7:57 pm - Tuesday | April 10, 2018

Overcoming its division and confusion over continuing the quota reform movement, Bangladesh General Students’ Rights Protection Council on Tuesday afternoon announced to go on with the agitation until a specific statement from the Prime Minister to this end is made.

Rashed Khan, joint convener of the platform, came up with the announcement at the foot of Raju Sculpture on the Dhaka University campus around 5:55pm. “We’ll continue our movement until a specific statement from Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is made,” he said, UNB reports.

On Monday, the council got split over continuing the movement demanding that the existing quota system in the public service be reformed.

Following a meeting with Awami League General Secretary and Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader, Council convener Hasan Al Mamun on Monday announced to postpone the movement until May 7.

However, a group of the platform refused to accept the decision and announced to continue the movement.

It started staging demonstrations on the DU campus on Tuesday morning demanding reforms of the quota system in a week.

The demonstrators also demanded a written apology from Agriculture Minister Matia Chowdhury for her Monday’s comments in parliament that the protesters are children of ‘Razakars’.

On Tuesday evening, both the groups removed their differences and announced to continue to the movement until a specific assurance from the Prime Minister comes.

Meanwhile, Finance Minister AMA Muhith on Tuesday said the government will reexamine the quota system after the national budget. “We’ll reexamine the quota system after the budget,” he said while addressing a meeting at the Finance Ministry.

Defending the quota system, he said quota must be there to advance the disadvantaged groups of society. “But there might be rethinking about the percentage of quota for different groups,” he added.

Meanwhile, Jahangirnagar University Vice-chancellor Dr Farzana Islam and many Dhaka University teachers expressed their solidarity with the demand of the students.

Speaking at a human chain arranged by Dhaka University Teachers’ Association, Chairman of Criminology department Ziaur Rahman said the DU VC and teachers are with the students’ demand.

The quota reform movement has got a new dimension with the students of different private universities and colleges joining it.

Also on Tuesday, students of public and private universities across the country, including the capital, staged demonstrations to press home their demand to get the quota system reformed.

At Dhaka University, several hundred students and jobseekers gathered at the foot of Raju Sculpture for the third consecutive day.

They were staging demonstrations till filing of this report around 7pm.

On the other hand, students of different private universities, including Daffodil International University, North South University and East West University, staged demonstrations expressing solidarity with the movement demanding reforms of the existing quota system in government jobs creating severe traffic congestions in several city streets.

Witnesses said the students of Daffodil International University took position opposite to Sobhanbagh mosque on Mirpur road around 11 am demanding the same.
The vehicular movement on the busy road was halted due to the agitation.

Later, the transport movement became normal around 4:30 pm as students withdrew their blockade following police intervention, said officer-in-charge of Sher-e-Bangla Police Station Gopal Gonesh Biswas.

Besides, hundreds of students of East West University, North South University and UITS staged demonstrations in the city’s Merul Badda, Kuril Biswa Road and Jamuna Future Park areas on the issue, creating a long tailback from Rampura to Kuril Biswa Road since the morning.

Meanwhile, State University of Kalabagan and Ahsanullah University of Tejgaon Industrial areas also took part in agitation programme in front of their respective universities.

At Jahangirnagar University, students boycotted all the classes and examinations protesting police attack on the fellow students on Monday.

They also demanded punishment of the policemen who attacked the students during the demonstration demanding reform of the existing quota system in the civil service.

The agitating students brought out a protest procession in front of the central library on Tuesday at 9:30am.

They also declared Agriculture Minister Matia Chowdhury as ‘persona non grata’ on the JU campus if she does not withdraw her comments made in the House. They also demanded an apology from her.

Meanwhile, JU Teachers’ Association in a press release condemned the police attack and demand immediate punishment of those involved in the attack.

Earlier on Monday, at least 60 students were injured as police swung into action to disperse university students and job-seekers staging demonstrations on Dhaka-Aricha highway.

Rajshahi University students for the third consecutive day on Tuesday continued demonstrations on the campus demanding reforms of the existing quota system in government jobs.

Several hundred protesters brought out a procession in front of the central library around 11:45am which paraded different roads.

Besides, the students of Rajshahi University of Engineering and Technology (Ruet) brought out a rally on Dhaka-Natore highway to press for the demand.

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