Age Limit 35 Demo: People suffer as Shahbagh blocked for several hours
Commuters suffered delays as a group of jobseekers blocked the capital's busy Shahbagh intersection for hours yesterday demanding extension of age limit to 35 from 30 for entering government jobs.
Some 500 students from different colleges and universities, under the banner of Bangladesh Sadharan Chhatra Parishad, joined the protest and formed a large circle to block the roundabout around 12:30pm.
A number of demonstrators sat in the middle of the road and chanted slogans in support of the demand. They were continuing the agitation as of filing this report at 8:00pm.
Sanjoy Das, convener of the Chhatra Parishad, said they would continue their demonstration all night long.
No vehicle could pass through the area during the protest, causing suffering to people. Many were stuck in long tailbacks on adjacent roads. People were seen walking to their destinations.
Ehsan Sheikh, a resident student of Dhaka University, said, “I left Sir F Rahman Hall for Farmgate around 4:00pm, but could not reach there in two hours as my bus was stuck in a long tailback.”
Meshkat Hassan came to Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University for treatment of his mother. He said it took him two hours to reach the hospital at Shahbagh from Gulistan, a distance that usually takes around half an hour.
The two took a bus, but got off the vehicle halfway through and walked to the hospital.
The Chhatra Parishad was scheduled to hold a rally in front of the National Museum at 11:30am yesterday, but the programme started an hour later as the Chinese minister for public security was visiting the museum at that time.
After the rally ended, the demonstrators marched in a procession to the Shahbagh intersection.
In a statement yesterday, the Chhatra Parishad said they have been staging demonstrations since 2012 to press home the demand. Several lawmakers extended their support to the demand, but it was yet to be met.
In June this year, a parliamentary committee on the public administration ministry had recommended extending the age limit to 35 for entering civil service.
It again made the same recommendation on September 10.
PM'S INTERVENTION SOUGHT
Demonstrators yesterday sought Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's intervention in the issue to implement the recommendation.
“A parliamentary committee on public administration had thrice recommended increasing the age limit, but it seemed to have fallen on deaf ears,” Imtiaz Ali, president of the Chhatra Parishad, told The Daily Star.
He said they were told by the authorities concerned that a gazette notification on increasing the age limit would be issued before the publication of 40th BCS circular. But that didn't happen for some unknown reasons.
“We had taken to the streets demanding publication of the gazette. If necessary, we will submit to mass arrest, but won't leave the streets until our demand is met.”
Chhatra League General Secretary Golam Rabbani visited the demonstrators around 1:30pm and assured them of conveying their demand to the PM.
“Make sure that no anti-government element enters this peaceful programme,” the BCL leader cautioned the demonstrators.
Currently, the age limit for entering public service is 30 and the retirement age 59.