Demonstrations calling for reformation to the quota system of the public service recruitment continued across Bangladesh on Wednesday.
Boycotting classes and examinations, students of various colleges and universities – both public and private – in different districts blockaded streets and highways, fended off assaults from Bangladesh Chhatra League activists and braved police obstruction to push the government into meeting their demands.
They, however, called it a day when Bangladesh Sadharan Chhatra Odhikar Sangrakkhan Parishad announced halting their demonstrations until Thursday morning following Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s declaration in parliament that the quotas in public service recruitment tests would be repealed.
In some of the districts, students were stopped by the police from demonstrating, while a number of protesters were injured in attacks carried out by Chhatra League.
After daylong demonstrations, students agitating on the Dhaka-Aricha Highway in front of Jahangirnagar University (JU) faced an attack by Chhatra League activists, in presence of Vice-Chancellor Prof Farzana Islam and other teachers, Wednesday evening.
At least 15 people, including students and journalists, were injured in the attack around 6pm. The injured were being treated at the JU Medical Centre.
The students later brought out a procession protesting the attack from JU Central Library.
JU Chhatra League unit President Md Jewel Rana, however, denied attacking the students.
In Manikganj, students of Manikganj Government Debendra College could not carry out their demonstrations facing police obstruction in the morning.
In Jamalpur, students of Government Ashek Mahmud College held human-chain and brought out a protest procession in the town as part of their demonstration.
Students of different public and private universities, including Khulna University (KU), Khulna University of Science and Technology, North Western University, demonstrated at Khulna city’s Shibbari intersection from Wednesday noon to the evening.
They had boycotted all academic activities for the third consecutive day, expressing solidarity to the nationwide quota reform movement.
KU Vice-Chancellor Prof Md Fayekuzzaman also extended his support to the students’ demands.
In Tangail, students of Mawlana Bhasani Science and Technology University and Government Saadat College, Karatia took to the streets as part of their protest programs from the afternoon.
They also condemned Agriculture Minister Matia Chowdhury’s remarks where she called 80% demonstrators “children of Razakars,” and demanded that she apologizes and withdraws her comment.
Students of Shahjalal University of Science and Technology (SUST) in Sylhet also boycotted academic activities indefinitely and blockaded the main gate of the university in the morning as part of their protests.
Activists of Chhatra League were also seen joining the demonstration.
Meanwhile, students of Noakhali Science and Technology University (NSTU) dispersed after an alleged attack by Chhatra League activists during their demonstrations in the morning.
Four people, including a journalist, were injured in the attack. Chhatra League’s NSTU unit, however, denied any involvement in the incident.
Students in Chattogram, Rajshahi, Gopalganj, Rangpur, Gazipur, Barishal and many other districts had also blockaded roads and highways and demonstrated throughout the day.
Dhaka Tribune correspondents from JU, SUST, Rajshahi, Chattogram, Manikganj, Jamalpur, Khulna, Gopalganj, Barishal, Gazipur, Noakhali, Rangpur and Tangail contributed to this article