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Quota demonstrators demand release of protesters, gazette
Quota protesters on Tuesday demanded immediate release of Chittagong University teacher Maidul Islam, internationally acclaimed photographer Shahidul Alam, withdrawal of all false cases against students and exemplary punishment of attackers.
They also demanded immediate issuance of a gazette notification regarding reforms in the quota system for government jobs in line with their five-point charter of demands.
Bangladesh Students Right Protection Council, the platform that spearheaded ongoing quota reform movement, issued these demands from a human chain held in front of Bangladesh National Museum in the capital.
While addressing the rally, Dhaka University sociology department teacher Samina Luthfa said that those who once stood against injustice are also has this responsibility to stand against any kind of injustice and added if the government tried to repress dissent it would only lead to their downfall.
Dhaka University economics teacher Rushad Faridi said that the quota protesters’ demand was for logical reformation of the existing system, not a full abolishment of quota allocation whereas the government was trying to complicate the issue by abolishing the quota system.
Demanding immediate reformation in the existing quota system in all stages of government job services, Jagannath University teacher Nasir Uddin said when the Prime Minister’s announcement came in favour of quota reform, it only meant she ethically made a decision to realize the demands.
Regarding digital security act, Nasir Uddin said it was a draconian law and similar law could not be found in any civilized country.
Hasan Al Mamun, platform co-coordinator, said that the government should work on solutions in accord with the demands of the protestors of two recent massive movements, quota reform and safe road movement, rather than harasses the protesters.
He also warned that they would again take to the streets if the government did not pay any heed to their demands.
Meanwhile, Muktijoddha Sangsad Sontan Command also threatened to wage tougher movement if recommendation to abolish the quota system for 1st class and 2nd class government jobs was passed terming it as ‘against the spirit of the liberation war.’
They voiced their threats from a rally held at Raju Memorial sculpture of Dhaka University on Tuesday morning.
While addressing the rally, Muktijoddha Sangsad Sontan Command’s general secretary Al Mamun said the recommendation to abolish quota privilege was pathetic and also humiliating for freedom fighters and their children.
Demanding cancellation of the recommendation Mamun also pressed for full implementation of quota system, law to safeguard freedom fighters’ families and punishment of those who made derogatory remarks on prime minister and freedom fighters.
Students and jobseekers took to the streets on February 17 and continued protests for reducing the quota in government jobs to 10 per cent from the existing 56 per cent, including 30 per cent for freedom fighters’ children and their grandchildren, 10 per cent for women and 10 per cent for districts, 5 per cent for ethnic minorities and 1 per cent for physically challenged people.
In the face of the country-wide demonstrations staged by the general students, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on April 11 finally issued an announcement promising to scrap the quota system in government job recruitment.
PM, however, said a different arrangement would be made so that members of the ethnic minorities and physically-challenged people are considered for government jobs.
On September 17, a seven-member government committee, led by cabinet secretary Mohammad Shafiul Alam, recommended scarping of the quota system for class-I and class-II jobs in civil service.
The public administration ministry is likely to place a proposal based the government committee recommendations in the weekly cabinet meeting today with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair.