Demand for quota reforms gets louder
Students, job seekers stage demo across country, block highways
Published : 08 Apr 2018, 21:29
Job seekers and university students staged demonstrations across the country on Sunday demanding reforms of the existing quota system in government recruitment tests, including BCS examination.
In Dhaka, several thousand students of different city universities, including Dhaka University, Jagannath University, and colleges, and job seekers blocked Shahbagh intersection in the afternoon to press home their demand.
As part of the countrywide programme announced earlier by Bangladesh Sadharan Chhatra Odhikar Sangrakkhan Parishad (Bangladesh General Students’ Right Protection Council), the students and job seekers gathered in front of the Dhaka University Central Library in the afternoon.
From there, they brought out a rally around 2:30 pm which paraded different important points of the university.
Later, they marched towards Shahbagh to stage a sit-in programme there to press for their demand.
The protesters blocked the intersection around 3pm, halting the vehicular movement in roads around the intersection and inflicting sufferings on the city dwellers.
Speaking on the occasion, Hasan Al Mamun, convener of the parishad, said they will continue their movement until their demands are met.
However, police dispersed the job seekers and university students from the Shahbagh intersection in the evening charging baton, and lobbing teargas shells and rubber bullets.
Police swung into action around 7:50pm after the demonstrators refused to withdraw the blockade, witnesses said.
In Rajshahi, the vehicular movement on the Dhaka-Rajshahi highway remained suspended for several hours as the Rajshahi University students staged a sit-in in front of the RU main gate blocking the highway as part of the countrywide programme announced by the parishad.
Passengers using this highway had to undergo sufferings due to the blockade.
Masud Munnaf, convener of ‘RU Quota Reform Movement’, said they want the Prime Minister to take a decision during the ongoing parliament session to reform the quota system.
Students of Jahangirnagar University (JU) blocked the Dhaka-Aricha highway adjacent to the main entrance of the campus to press for the same demand.
Around 500 students blocked the highway from 3:45 pm 4:20 pm as part of their scheduled programme. They also chanted slogans opposing the present quota system.
Traffic on the busy highway remained suspended for half an hour following the blockade.
Later, the students withdrew their blockade following the intervention of the university authorities and JU unit BCL.
Earlier, in the day, the JU students brought out a protest rally from the central library that ended on the Central Shaheed Minar premises after parading different streets on the campus.
In Chattogram, the Chittagong University students brought out a rally from Sholoshahar in the city to realise the demand. The rally ended at Agrabad after parading through Lalkhan Bazar and Dewanhat.
On February 17, students and job seekers started the movement to press for their five-point demand that include introduction of unified age limit in government jobs, review of quota system in government recruitment process, including Bangladesh Civil Service (BCS) examination, stopping taking benefit by job seekers under the same quota, filling vacant posts from merit list if the candidates from quota are not found and fixation of 10 percent quota instead of existing 56 percent.
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