Protesters demanding reformation in the quota system in civil service yesterday threatened to wage tougher movement from Sunday if the government failed to publish a gazette notification to that end by today.
The ultimatum came from a human chain where around 1,200 students under the banner of Bangladesh Sadharan Chhatra Adhikar Sangrakkhan Parishad took part from the TSC area to the VC's residence around 11:30am.
Nurul Huq, a joint convener of the Parishad, made the announcement at a gathering at the foot of Raju Memorial Sculpture on Dhaka University campus.
The protesters alleged that the government was “staging a drama” with them regarding publication of the gazette.
Cabinet Secretary Mohammad Shafiul Alam at a press briefing on Monday said there was no progress regarding the gazette abolishing the quota system as officials received no directive from the prime minister.
The next day, Mozammel Haque Khan, senior secretary of the public administration ministry, said the gazette would be issued when they got instructions from the Prime Minister's Office. “We have yet to get any instruction over abolition of the quota system,” he added.
The leaders of the platform said although 28 days have passed since Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina announced abolishing the quota system in parliament, there was no headway to that end.
Joint convener of the platform Muhammad Rashed Khan said they had kept faith in the government for many days and given them time to publish the gazette.
“But no gazette was published even after 28 days. The government is staging a drama with us and hatching conspiracy centring the gazette notification,” Rashed said.
He also said they would launch tougher movement from Sunday if the gazette was not published by today.
“We have been observing peaceful and non-violent programmes to meet our demand. The prime minister also announced that the quota system would be abolished. But still, no gazette has been published,” said Rashed while briefing journalists at the base of Raju Memorial Sculpture.
Before the human chain, more than 1,000 demonstrators brought out a procession starting in front of the DU Central Library.The procession ended at Raju Memorial Sculpture after parading around the Institute of Fine Arts.
As part of the Parishad's declaration to form human chains at all universities and colleges demanding quick publication of the gazette, around 1,000 students at Rajshahi University, more than 200 students at Jahangirnagar University and around 200 students at Chittagong University formed human chains yesterday.
They threatened to wage tougher movement on their respective campuses again if their demand was not met by the deadline.
Earlier on April 26, the leaders of the quota reform movement threatened to launch fresh demonstrations in May for the gazette notification.
Awami League Joint General Secretary Jahangir Kabir Nanak met the leaders the next day and assured them that the government would publish the gazette once the prime minister, who was in Australia at the time, returned.
Following the assurance, the leaders of the quota reform movement postponed their agitation till May 7.
As the gazette was not published by the deadline, the protesters on Tuesday declared to resume demonstration, demanding immediate publication of the gazette.
Under the banner of Parishad, students and jobseekers across the country launched the movement on February 17 to press home their five-point demand including reduction of the quota privilege to 10 percent from existing 56 percent.
Students of public and private universities across the country took to the street in support of the demand. Police on April 8 charged batons and lobbed tear gas shells on the demonstrators on DU campus, injuring at least 163.
The protesters blocked key points in the capital and roads and highways elsewhere.
In the wake of mass protests by the students, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in parliament on April 11 declared that the quota system would be scrapped.
Quota system was introduced through an executive order in 1972 and has been amended several times since then.