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Quota reformation: Police withdraw, students continue protests

  • Published at 03:09 pm April 9th, 2018
  • Last updated at 08:27 pm April 9th, 2018
Quota reformation: Police withdraw, students continue protests
Protestors in favour of quota reforms in government recruitment tests drove away the police from the TSC area of Dhaka University at around 2pm on Monday. The police and other law enforcement agencies were forced to withdraw after protestors threw brickbats at them. The law enforcers retaliated by throwing tear gas shells at the protestors. One armed forced battalion officer has allegedly been injured in the clash. Up until this report was written, the police had retreated to the Doel Chattar. They are on stand-by alert, and have water cannons and tear gas shells in their disposal. Students positioned themselves in front of the TSC area at the foot of the Raju Memorial sculpture. Earlier, they set fire to various areas around TSC. They chanted slogans asking why the police attacked their peaceful protests on Sunday. At around 12pm, students tried to carry a procession to Shahbagh through the university campus, when the police stopped them by throwing tear gas shells. Students continued their demonstrations inside university premises. Almost 10,000 students joined the protests. Protestors gathered around the foot of Raju Memorial sculpture in the TSC area after completing their procession. Female students from different residential halls also joined the gathering. The agitators chanted slogans that their protests would continue till their demands had been met. On the other hand, Bangladesh Progressive Students Union expressed their solidarity with the quota reform protestors by joining them. Rafia Tamanna, a protestor, said: "Why would the police be deployed in an autonomous institution? We condemn the police for firing teargas shells on students. Our protest is logical. Our demands have to be met." "We are not protesting for the removal of quota system," said Afsana Safa, another protestor. "We just want the quota to be reformed from 56% to 10%." Earlier, Dhaka University students formed a human chain beside the Central Shaheed Minar in protest of the police attack on students demonstrating for quota reform on Sunday. The human chain was mainly formed by students from the Geography and Environment Science departments. Meanwhile, Bangladesh Chhatra League brought out a procession against students who were in favour of quota reform at around 6am on Monday. Starting from TSC, Chhatra League activists carried the procession to Curzon Hall. At that time they were seen carrying sticks, rods, and other weapons. Chhatra League President Saifur Rahman Shohag, General Secretary SM Jakir Hossain, and 300 other leaders and activists were present in the procession. After reaching Shahidullah Hall, Chhatra League activists gave chase and later were chased by students already positioned there. Currently, they are holding positions in front of Madhur Canteen. Different universities have continued protesting for quota reform since Monday morning. The protests were a continuation of demonstrations that had started Sunday evening. Jahangirnagar University (JU) students blocked the Dhaka-Aricha Highway from around 10:30am, while at the same time, Rajshahi University (RU) students formed a blockade on the road in front of the RU main gate after boycotting classes. Previously on Sunday, students and job seekers started a procession from in front of the Dhaka Central Library. Later, it came to a stop in Shahbagh at around 3pm. Traffic was stopped around Shahbagh area at that time. Later, at around 8pm, police dispersed the assembled students by throwing tear gas shells. Several protestors were also detained, and clashes occurred between them and the police. Dispersed, protestors took positions at Dhaka Central Library and TSC areas. At around 1am, they broke into the DU Vice Chancellor Md Akhtaruzzaman's residence. Till 2:30am, they continued demonstrations, including vandalizing the VC's property and setting his car on fire. They also vandalized property inside the Faculty of Fine Arts. Police chased the protestors inside residential halls by throwing teargas shells and shooting rubber bullets. On the other hand, the government decided to meet with the protestors Monday afternoon. A government representative team led by Awami League General Secretary and Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader was scheduled to sit with the leaders of the movement. The proposal for the meeting was forwarded by ruling party Joint General Secretary Jahangir Kabir Nanak at around 8pm on Sunday, among the protestors. Sections of this article were first published on banglatribune.com