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‘Quota reform movement to continue until gazette is published’

  • Published at 12:00 am July 8th, 2018
File photo of quota reform protesters holding a demonstration at Shahbagh intersection in MaySyed Zakir Hossain
File photo of quota reform movement activists demonstrating at Shahbagh intersection in Dhaka in May Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune

Earlier on April 11, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina announced scrapping the quota system

Saturday, leaders of the ongoing quota reform movement vowed to continue their movement until the government publishes a gazette abolishing the system. 

Earlier on April 11, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina announced scrapping the quota system.

They demanded that the gazette be published implementing the prime minister’s announcement in parliament.  

Bangladesh General Students’ Rights Protection Council Convener Hasan Al Mamun told the Dhaka Tribune: “Our main demand was to reform the existing quota system in government recruitments, but we did not demand abolishing the system completely.”

“Following our legitimate movement, the prime minister declared to completely abolish it. It was not exactly what the protesting students demanded.”

He said: “However, three months have passed since the prime minister’s announcement, but no measure has been taken to implement the decision and that is why we have resumed our movement.”

He added: “The movement will continue until the nation is informed about the decision through a gazette.” 

The movement was launched by students and job seekers across the country in mid-January. 

Sources involved with the movement said the students continued their protest peacefully over the months of February and March. 

Later, the movement became violent in the beginning of April, following attacks on the protesters which were reportedly carried out by Bangladesh Chhatra League and police. 

On June 30, Chhatra League activists reportedly attacked the quota demonstrators and foiled their scheduled press conference. The incident triggered protests at different universities across the country. 

However, Chhatra League’s recently dissolved central committee General Secretary, SM Jakir Hossain, denied allegations against the organization. 

“Chhatra League is not involved in any attack. The clashes took place among the protesters over leadership of the movement,” he told the Dhaka Tribune.

On Monday, the government formed a seven-member committee, with Cabinet Secretary Mohammad Shafiul Alam as its convener, to review the existing quota system in public service recruitment. 

“The committee has been formed to review, reform, or revoke the existing quota system for government jobs,” Public Relations Officer of the Public Administration Ministry, Mominul Hoque, said. 

The committee has been asked to submit its report within 15 working days. 

When asked, the movement leader Hasan said: “We welcome the recently formed committee. But we do not want to waste time.  Rather, we want a fixed timeline to meet our demand.”