The protesters leave the road after receiving assurance from the authorities
The blockade on the Dhaka-Aricha highway in front of Jahangirnagar University (JU), which was initiated by a group of protesters demanding reinstatement of 30% quota for the descendants of freedom fighters in government jobs, has been withdrawn.
The blockade, organized under the banner of Muktijoddha Sangsad Sontan Command’s JU unit, had started around 12:30pm on Sunday, disrupting traffic and causing gridlock on the highway.
The protesters, however, called it off around 3:40pm after JU Pro-Vice-Chancellor Prof Md Amir Hossain, who is also a freedom fighter, met them and assured that their nine-point charter of demands would be forwarded to the concerned higher-ups.
Vehicular movements on the road returned to normal soon after the blockade was withdrawn.
The organization’s JU unit Convener Shihab Uddin said: “We have called the blockade off for now as the university administration has assured us of taking the matter to the higher-ups in the government.
“But if the quota is not reinstated, we will be forced to take to streets again.”
Earlier in the day, the same unit’s Member Secretary Ratan Biswas had also told the Dhaka Tribune: “Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had gifted the freedom fighters with the 30% quota in public service sector after the 1971 Liberation War.
“The quota was withdrawn by a government in the past. But Awami League brought it back. However, the system, once again, has been cancelled following the recent quota reform movement. We will continue our movement until Bangabandhu’s gift is returned to us.”
The demonstration on Dhaka-Aricha Highway was part of a nationwide blockade on highways, waterways and railways announced by Muktijuddho Moncho, which is no spearheading a movement demanding reinstatement of quota for the descendants of 1971 freedom fighters in first and second class government jobs.
The organization on Saturday had declared that their movement would continue until their demands were met.
A number of organizations of freedom fighters, their families and descendants had taken to street in Dhaka on Wednesday afternoon, several hours after the Cabinet okayed the proposal to abolish the existing quota system in the recruitment process of first and second class government jobs.
Since then, the protesters had kept the capital’s busy Shahbagh intersection blockaded.
On Sunday, they also announced that the blockade there would last seven hours every day till their demands were met.