Quota Reform Demo: Human chains at universities, colleges today

 Quota system scrapping in public service
A student was wielding a festoon saying "Where is the gazette, we want gazette," during a recent press briefing. Star file photo

A day after the deadline demanding gazette notification on abolishing the quota system in public service ended, the quota reformists yesterday called for a fresh programme as the government was yet to publish the gazette as per the prime minister's assurance of scrapping the quota system. 

Under the banner of Bangladesh Sadharan Chhatra Adhikar Sangrakkhan Parishad, the platform spearheading the quota reform protest, demonstrators will form human chains at all universities and colleges at 11:00am today, demanding swift publication of the gazette.

Leaders of the quota reform movement announced the programme at a press briefing in front of Dhaka University Central Library.

Meanwhile, Mozammel Haque Khan, senior secretary of the public administration ministry, yesterday said the gazette on the abolition of the quota system would be issued when they got instructions from the Prime Minister's Office, reports UNB.

“We're yet to get any instruction over the abolition of the quota system. We've to wait for the instructions from the Prime Minister's Office,” he said while talking to reporters at the secretariat.

Replying to a query, Mozammel said the issue was under final consideration of the government.

Asked whether there was any directive to form a committee on the quota system, he said, "We haven't received any instruction about this. We're ready to do anything if we're asked. The committee will be formed if necessary."

He, however, said they would implement whatever directives came from the government.

On Monday, Cabinet Secretary Shafiul Alam told a press conference that there had been no progress regarding publication of the gazette.

He also said officials did not receive any directives about the quota system from the prime minister.

On April 26, leaders of the quota reform movement threatened to launch fresh demonstrations on May 1 if the gazette notification regarding the quota system was not issued by the end of the month.

But a 15-member delegation of the quota reform movement met Awami League lawmaker Jahangir Kabir Nanak next day and postponed their agitation until May 7 as Nanak assured them of taking necessary steps to publish the gazette notification after the prime minister's return from Australia.   

Nurul Haque Nur, joint convener of the protesters' platform, read out a written statement at yesterday's press briefing.

“It has been 27 days since Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in parliament announced that the quota system would be abolished. But even now, there has been no gazette notification. The students are disappointed. We are calling upon the government not to force the students to take to the streets again,” he said.

Rashed Khan, another joint convener of the platform, alleged that law enforcers were inquiring about family details of those leading the platform.

Under the banner of the parishad, students and job seekers launched the movement on February 17 to press home their five-point demand, including reduction of the quota privilege to 10 percent from 56.

Students of public and private universities across the country took to the streets, demanding reforms of the quota system in one of the most widespread protests in recent times.

The protesters blocked key points in the capital and roads and highways elsewhere.

In the wake of mass protests by students, Hasina in parliament on April 11 declared that the quota system would be scrapped.

The quota system was introduced through an executive order in 1972 and was amended several times.


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