Muktijoddhar Sontan o Projonmo Samonnoy Parishad, a pro-freedom fighter group, has pressed a six-point demand before Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, seeking a halt in recruiting people with anti-liberation sentiment for government jobs.
Shipping Minister Shahjahan Khan pressed the demands on behalf of the organization at a public rally in front of the National Press Club on Sunday.
Addressing the rally, the minister said: “You have seen students holding protests for reforming the quota system for public service. It is normal for students to hold demonstrations over an issue.
“However, who were those culprits that made an attempt on the life of the Dhaka University Vice-Chancellor? We must track these people down.”
Addressing the students, Shajahan Khan said: “You can choose not to respect the freedom fighters, but under no circumstances, can you insult them. Confusion is being spread over the quota system.
“What is the definition of a meritorious student? We cannot call someone meritorious if the person lacks ideology.”
Adding that merit does not automatically translates to skill, the minister said: “The honourable prime minister and many members of the parliament were not first class first students. But we are skilled at running the country.
“Sheikh Hasina governs the country with the spirit of the 1971 Liberation war. People who are sons and daughters of rajakars and members of Jamaat and Shibir, should not be recruited for positions within the government.”
He continued: “People with anti-liberation sentiments, even if meritorious, must not be appointed as public servants. We did not participate in the Liberation War for quotas.
“We have accepted the prime minister’s decision regarding the quota system. But we urge our leader to accept our demands.”
The demands pressed by Muktijoddhar Sontan o Projonmo Samonnoy Parishad include exemplary punishment of those who instigated lawlessness across the country using the name of quota reform movement.
The group also urged the government not to appoint members of Jamaat-Shibir, war criminals and those with anti-liberation sentiments in government positions, and to suspend them if they are already working as government employees.
A demand was made requesting the government to seize properties belonging to war criminals, and formation of a special tribunal to hand down exemplary punishment to those who were involved in violence, arson, murder, terrorism and the destruction of public and private properties during the years 2013, 2014 and 2015.
The pro-freedom fighter party also spoke in favour of formulating a law to punish those who are disrespecting freedom fighters, the 1971 Liberation War and Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
This article was first published on banglatribune.com