12:00 AM, September 13, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:30 AM, September 13, 2018

'Movement will continue'

Say quota activists, pressing their 3-point demand including publication of reform gazette

Quota reformists on September 12, 2018, brings out a rally on Dhaka University campus demanding three-point demands, including publication of the gazette on quota reform soon. Photo: Collected

A day after the government issued circular for 40th BCS examination, quota reformists yesterday demonstrated on the Dhaka University campus in protest.

On Tuesday, at a press conference at DU, they had demanded that the government publish the gazette on reforms to civil service recruitments before the issuance of the circular.

But around two hours after the programme, Bangladesh Public Service Commission released the circular for 1,903 civil service jobs.

At around 10:30am yesterday, around 400 protesters under the banner of Bangladesh Sadharan Chhatra Adhikar Sangrakkhan Parishad brought out a procession, which paraded through different streets on the campus before ending at the base of Raju memorial sculpture.

They held a brief rally there and vowed to continue the agitation until their three-point demand, including swift publication of the gazette notification, is met. The other demands are withdrawal of cases against the quota reformists and ensuring punishment of those who attacked them.

“We did not want abolishment of quota system, we demanded its reform. The prime minister announced its abolishment at the parliament,” said Nurul Haque Nur, joint convener of the Parishad, which is spearheading the quota-reform movement.

“If the premier wants, she can abolish the quota system… but if the government wants to reform it, it should be done in light of our demands,” he added.

Muhammad Rashed Khan, another joint convener of the Parishad, said, “We were tortured in remand and false cases were filed against us but that could not distract us. We know and will show how to realise our demands by taking to the streets.”

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.

Quota reformists on September 12, 2018, hold a rally on Dhaka University campus demanding publication of the gazette on quota reform soon. Photo: Collected

In the face of mass protests, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on April 11 announced in parliament scrapping of the quota systems.

On July 2, the government formed a seven-member committee to “review, reform or cancel” the quota system and it was asked to submit a report within 15 workings days. On July 19, the committee was given 90 working days as it could not finish collecting information about the system.

However, the premier on July 12 citing a High Court order said it was not possible to reform freedom fighters' quota.

Cabinet Secretary M Shafiul Alam, who leads the seven-member committee, on August 13 told journalists that they had suggested abolishment of almost all quotas in civil service and to prioritise merit-based recruitment.

At present, about 56 percent of government jobs are reserved for candidates from various quotas.