Quota reform movement in Bangladesh: What's the logic behind movement?
12:00 AM, July 18, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:24 PM, July 18, 2018

What's the logic behind movement?

PM questions demo for quota reform

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday said she was unable to understand the logic behind the quota reform movement.

“What's the reason behind such a sudden movement against the quota system? We don't understand it,” she said.

The premier was speaking at a function marking the launch of the electronic distribution of honorary allowances to freedom fighters' bank accounts in Cox's Bazar. She joined the programme from the Gono Bhaban through videoconferencing.

Hasina said those who appear in Public Service Commission examinations have to go through a serious scrutiny before getting any job. “Aren't those who appear in the exams brilliant? All are brilliant here; the PSC exams are very tough. Without being brilliant nobody can appear in these exams.”

One cannot pass the PSC exams if he is not brilliant, she said. “Those who are very talented can go through the PSC exam process and get government jobs.”

Hasina said the anti-quota movement was “indirectly against the benefit of freedom fighters and their family members getting government jobs”.

She said the Awami League government had ensured the quota for the freedom fighters and their family members so that they could take part in running the country.

“When an anarchic situation was created in the name of anti-quota movement, I declared that the quota system will be removed. But we have to see that the anti-liberation elements and war criminals cannot return to power and get any government job.”

The PM said she could understand the quota reform movement, but she was unable to understand the logic behind ransacking the Dhaka University vice chancellor's house at midnight, entering his bedroom and looting valuables, including gold ornaments and cash.

“We as former Dhaka University students cannot believe the agitators being its students can enter the VC's house.... We cannot believe that any student can do that. I feel ashamed of thinking this, and if those involved in the incident are students, then it is more shameful for us.”

She mentioned that a writ petition was pending with the High Court about the freedom fighters' quota in government jobs and as per its verdict the unfilled posts should be lying vacant. “But the government moved the Appellate Division [of the Supreme Court] to seek a review [of the verdict]. The Appellate Division said the vacant posts can be filled with candidates from the merit list.”

“I feel pity when I see educated and knowledgeable personalities, including university teachers and retired public servants, in talk shows talk against the quota system. They never say these students did a very bad thing by attacking the Dhaka University VC's house. What could be worse than this for a Dhaka University student? They never talk about this; they even don't know anything about the Appellate Division's directives.”

Hasina said the government has introduced appointment of candidates to non-cadre posts through PSC exams. “How talented are they to utter that those who are getting jobs through PSC exams are not brilliant? How dare they talk such nonsense?”

The government cannot fully scrap the quota system due to the HC verdict, she said, adding that the government formed a committee to further examine the matter. “We cannot disobey the High Court verdict.”

She said those who were talking about the quota system did not have any idea about the HC verdict or the Appellate Division's directives.

Hasina, also the Awami League chief, said she never minds barristers and knowledgeable people of BNP talking about the issue as they are “expert in uttering lies”. But she wondered how the teachers could make such mistakes.

DISTRIBUTION OF ALLOWANCES

Some 342 freedom fighters of Cox's Bazar will get the honorary allowances directly through an electronic system. During the programme yesterday, the PM talked to some beneficiaries through videoconferencing.

Hasina said various allowances were being provided to freedom fighters and their families so that they did not suffer. 

As part of such initiatives, the distribution of freedom fighters' honorary allowances through an electronic system was introduced and it would be expanded in all parts of the country in phases, the PM added. 

She said those who had grabbed power illegally had distorted the Liberation War history, destroyed the spirit of independence and politically rehabilitated war criminals by giving them voting rights. 

Returning to power in 1996 after 21 years, Hasina said her government reestablished the spirit of Liberation War and undertook massive programmes to awaken the spirit. 

She asked the local administration, public representatives and people to look after the Rohingyas in Cox's Bazar. She directed them to make sure the local people did not suffer due to the influx of Rohingyas.

Liberation War Affairs Minister AKM Mozammel Huq delivered the welcome speech at the programme. Cap (retd) AB Tajul Islam, chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Liberation War Affairs Ministry, was present.

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