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PM expresses frustration over quota reform activists’ ultimatums

  • Published at 05:48 pm May 14th, 2018
  • Last updated at 05:50 pm May 14th, 2018
Cabinet meeting - May 14, 2018
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina chairs a regular Cabinet meeting at the Secretariat on Monday, May 14, 2018 Focus Bangla

The demonstrators are demanding immediate publication of a gazette notification abolishing the quota system in government jobs.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has reportedly expressed frustration over repeated ultimatums and demonstrations of the students carrying out a movement demanding reformation of the quota system in government jobs.

Her reaction came during a regular Cabinet meeting at the Secretariat on Monday, according to several Cabinet Division sources who attended the meeting.

The sources said the prime minister expressed annoyance when the demonstrators’ blockade at the city’s Shahbagh intersection in the afternoon came up for discussion during the meeting.

“I have already made a statement and the committee is working (on this). Nobody is just sitting around. This is a long process. I have made a promise and people concerned are working on this. But the demonstrators are saying they will boycott classes. If they do not, it’s their loss. What I have said will happen,” Hasina was quoted by the sources as saying.

She also said: “Implementation of anything takes some time. Still they issue threats. This is too much.”

Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed, Industries Minister Amir Hossain Amu and Agriculture Minister Matia Chowdhury had also taken part in that discussion.

Meanwhile, Cabinet Secretary Md Shafiul Alam told reporters after the meeting that the gazette for quota reform in government jobs was still being processed.

He said the Ministry of Public Administration has formed a committee, with Shafiul as its head, to issue the quota reform gazette. “The committee has sent a summary of minority and female quota to the Prime Minister's Office.”

However, he said, he was yet to receive any documents or directives. "Maybe I will receive them within a few days. As soon as I get the directives, the gazette will be issued immediately."

Bangladesh Sadharan Chhatra Adhikar Sangrakkhan Parishad, the students’ platform that started the quota reform movement in mid-February, on Monday again took it to streets after the government failed to meet their demands.

They brought out a procession from Dhaka University and later blockaded the Shahbagh intersection, causing massive disruption in vehicular movement in the surrounding area.

The demonstrators have threatened to remain there until the gazette is published.

Showing solidarity, students at different colleges and universities across Bangladesh boycotted classes and examinations protesting the government’s failure in publishing the gazette notification abolishing the quota system.