Members of quota reform movement could not hold their scheduled press briefing as they were attacked allegedly by the members of Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) on the Dhaka University campus today.
A group of BCL leaders and activists made the attack on quota reformists in front of DU Central Library Building around 10:45am injuring seven members of quota reform movement, Sumon Kabir, joint convener of Bangladesh Sadharan Chhatra Odhikar Sangrakkhan Parishad, told The Daily Star.
Seven people, including platform joint convener Nurul Haque Nur, its activists Saddam Hossain, Ataullah and Hasan Al Mamun, were taken to Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH), Sub-Inspector Bachchu Mia, in-charge of DMCH police camp, told The Daily Star.
The attack took place when the quota reform leaders, including joint conveners Faruk Hasan and Nurul Haque Nur, were taking preparation to hold the prescheduled press conference in front of the DU Central Library building to brief their next course of action as the government failed to issue a gazette notification by their deadline, our DU correspondent reports quoting platform convener Hasan Al Mamun
At that time, a group of 200-250 BCL men beat up the quota reform leaders, leaving several of them injured, said Hasan.
The attackers drove out the quota reform demonstrators form the area and took position at the library premises, he said.
DU Haji Muhammad Mohsin Hall BCL general secretary Mehedi Hasan Sani, its Bangabandhu Hall general secretary Al Amin Rahman and Sir AF Rahman Hall general secretary Mahmudul Hasan Tusaar, BCL central committee vice presidents Mehedi Hasan Rony and Imtiaz Bulbul led the attack, alleged the platform leader.
Meanwhile, at different spots on the campus other members of the quota reform movement came under attack.
Two of the leaders of the platform were beaten up in front of the Public Library at Shahbagh around around 2:45pm, our correspondent reports from the spot.
No BCL men were present during the attack on quota reformists, BCL General Secretary SM Jakir Hossain told our DU correspondent, adding that he has no idea who made the attack on the quota movement leaders.
The BCL leader also said if any group tries to boycott classes and examinations in any educational intuition in the name of quota movement, the BCL will protest it and assist the administration of educational institutions to prevent the boycott.
In a press briefing in front of the DMCH, platform leader Sumon Kabir told reporters that they will form a human chain in front of all public and private universities and colleges, except Dhaka University, across country tomorrow protesting the BCL attack.
Besides, they will stage demonstration in all public and private universities and colleges, including Dhaka University, on July 2 protesting the same issue, said the leader.
The platform had started an indefinite boycott of classes and examinations at all universities and colleges on May 14 after the government failed to issue a gazette notification on the prime minister's April 11 announcement of quota abolition in government jobs. It gave an ultimatum for publication of the notification by May 13.
On May 21, the quota reform demonstrators postponed their decision of boycotting examinations considering Ramadan and the prospect of “session jams” the strike may cause.
In April, students of public and private universities across the country took to the streets demanding reform in the quota system. The protesters blocked key points in the capital and roads and highways elsewhere.
At present, 56 per cent of government jobs are reserved for candidates from various quotas, while the remaining 44 per cent draw applications from the merit list.
Of the 56 per cent, 30 per cent are kept for freedom fighters' children and grandchildren, 10 per cent for women, 10 per cent for people of districts lagging behind, five percent for members of indigenous communities, and one percent for physically-challenged people.
In the wake of the protests, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina declared the abolition of quotas on April 11, during a parliamentary session.