A group of physically challenged students yesterday demonstrated at Shahbagh, blocking the busy intersection in Dhaka, demanding reservation of five percent quota for them in class-I and class-II government jobs.
Around a hundred people, under the banner of “Bangladesh Pratibandhi Shikkharthi Oikya Parishad”, started gathering at the intersection at around 11:00am.
The agitators sat in the middle of the intersection, formed a large circle, and chanted slogans in support of their demands.
Vehicular movement from all directions leading to Shahbagh remained halted for hours, mounting sufferings for commuters. Only ambulances were allowed to proceed on the Birdem-Dhaka University road.
On-duty police officers spoke to the protesters and requested them to make some space so that vehicles could pass. The demonstrators complied with their request, and were also seen making space for ambulances.
Speaking at the programme, convener of the platform Ali Hossain said, “We could not draw the government's attention without a strict movement. Though people have suffered a lot, we are now left with no option other than blocking the road.”
He also said that they would try to meet the prime minister to let her know about their demands and would only stop their movement if they receive assurance from her.
Physically challenged students of different universities and colleges, including Dhaka University, joined yesterday's protest. Chhatra league General Secretary Golam Rabbani visited the protesters at around 1:00pm and extended his support.
“We are a community that lags behind and deserves the chance to move forward. To realise our demands, we would observe hunger strike if necessary, but would not leave the streets until our demands are met,” another protestor Kulsum Lipi told The Daily Star.
The students continued their demonstrationa till 5:00pm and ended it by holding a press conference.
The platform also placed their 11-point demand, including reservation of 10 percent quota for class-III and class-IV jobs, implementation of quota for physically challenged people in all government, autonomous and semi-autonomous jobs, and formation of a separate ministry for them.