Tougher quota demo threatened
The quota reformists yesterday threatened the government with tougher agitation if their three-point demand, including; unconditional release of their leaders and exemplary punishment of the attackers, is not met by August 31.
They further urged the government to publish the gazette notification on bringing reforms to the quota system immediately, in line with their earlier five-point demand.
“We will announce a tougher programme if the government does not respond to our demands by August 31,” Bin Yeamin Mollah, joint convener of Bangladesh Sadharan Chhatra Odhikar Sangrakkhan Parishad said at a rally in Shahbagh yesterday.
They also demanded immediate and unconditional release of the arrested students who took part in the quota reform protests and safe roads.
The protestors had earlier called for a rally at the base of Aparajeyo Bangla on Dhaka University campus around 11:00am but could not do so as a group of Chhatra league activists held a counter rally on the same venue around the same time.
Failing to hold the programme there, they tried to gather on the base of Raju Memorial Sculpture but the BCL men appeared there too and foiled the rally.
Later, they moved to Shahbagh and held a brief rally lasting 10 to 15 minutes in front of the National Museum.
Ever since the anti-quota demonstrators started fresh programmes over their five-point demand on June 30, they had either been attacked by Chhatra League men or got arrested by law enforcers.
BCL men have attacked quota reformists at least 18 times in the last three months, injuring around 75 students of four universities, according to media reports.
Some of the injured were allegedly driven out of hospitals and secretly took treatment in different health complexes after they were denied treatment in some government hospitals.
Fearing further attack or arrest, the injured quota reformists could not return to their campus, let alone stay in the dormitories.
They have also remained inactive on social media to evade arrest and further attacks.
At present, a total of seven students of different public universities involved with the quota reform movement are in jail. They are -- joint conveners of the platform Rashed Khan, Faruk Hosen, APM Suhel, Tarikul Islam, Moshiur Rahman, Jashim Uddin and Ratul Sarker.
All of them were shown arrested under the four cases filed by the university authorities and the law enforcers over vandalising Dhaka University's vice-chancellor's residence, obstructing police, snatching walkie-talkies and for falling foul of the ICT act.
Around a hundred members of the platform, which spearheaded the movement for civil quota system reformation, joined yesterday's rally, in which some guardians of the arrested quota reformists also took part.
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.