They, however, called off the blockade after an hour
Descendants of the 1971 freedom fighters demonstrated for an hour by blockading the Shahbagh intersection in Dhaka, demanding 30% quota in government jobs.
They put up the blockade around 4pm on Tuesday – a day after cabinet secretary briefed the journalists that the quota for disabled people in government job recruitment will remain unchanged.
However, the demonstrators withdrew the blockade around 5pm following an assurance from the Bangladesh Chhatra League President Md Rezwanul Haque Choudhury Shovon and General Secretary Golam Rabbani that they would notify the prime minister about the matter.
Shovon urged the demonstrators to withdraw the blockade and assured them by saying: “We will place your six-point demand to the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on your behalf. You can form a human chain but please do not create public suffering by blockading the busiest intersection.”
Rabbani expressed solidarity with them and asked them to clear out the streets. He said: “You can uphold the demands of the people. Gather public support in this regard without creating a blockade.”
A huge traffic gridlock was seen before the vehicular movement resumed at 5pm.
Under the banner “Muktijoddhar Santan o Prajanma – Chakri Prottashi o bartoman shikkharthibrinda” (Children and Descendants of Freedom Fighters – Job seekers and current students) demonstrators gathered in front of the National Museum, earlier at 3pm.
This banner is a part of “Muktijoddhar Santan o Prajanma Samonaway Parishad” (Coordination Council to Children and Descendants of Freedom Fighters) where Aminul Islam Bulbul and Al Mamun are the president and general secretary respectively.
Al Mamun called off the movement and asked the protesters to vacate the streets.
The descendants of freedom fighters have been demanding for 30% quota in public service recruitment since the government removed quotas in the first and second class government jobs late last year, following recommendations from a committee.
The committee, led by the cabinet secretary, was formed to review the quota system after nationwide demonstrations by students and job seekers, demanding reformation of the system, intensified in 2018.