Students demanding reform of quota system in the public service called off their blockade at Shahbagh intersection after over 6 hours of their stay on the streets halting vehicular movement through the capital’s one of the busy intersections.
Sadharan Chhatra Odhikar Sangrakkhan Parishad — the platform of general students seeking quota reforms – on Sunday announced to enforce strikes in all educational institutions for an indefinite period from Monday, demanding issuance of gazette notification abolishing quota system in the public jobs as per the announcement of the prime minister Sheikh Hasina.
But, apart from boycotting classes in the educational institutions including in the Dhaka University, students took to the streets to press home their demands.
Several hundred students of Dhaka University and of various colleges of the capital took to Shahbagh intersections around 1:00pm and staged demonstrations their until 7:00pm.
The six-hour long blockade created a huge tailback on main thoroughfares of the capital to the sufferings of the city commuters.
Following assurance from the authorities, the agitating students called off their road blockade, but said they would continue the strike in the educational institutions across the country until the gazette is issued reforming or abolishing the quota system.
“We’re assured that the quota system will be reformed in line with prime minister’s assurance, but several senior government officials are making some controversial remarks, several lawsuits against the students and attack on the students at places have worried us. That’s why we are forced to take to the street again,” Nurul Haque Nur, joint convener of the platform, told a media briefing after the blockade at Shahbagh intersection.
He also said they wouldn’t hold any street agitation again as a source of prime minister has assured them once again about the publication of the gazette soon.
“We’re not at all an anti-government force. Rather we’re supporters of its development. We’ve left the matter to the prime minister. We hope her declaration will be implemented soon,” Nur added.
Convener of the platform Hasan Al Mamun said, “We’ve suspended the blockade for the time being, but will take to the street again if the gazette is not issued within a ‘reasonable time’.”
Some of the student leaders said, a ruling party leader contacted them and asked them to end the blockade assuring them of gazette publication soon.
Before putting the blockade at Shahbagh, the students gathered in front of Dhaka University’s central library and brought out a procession around 11:00am. Classes and examinations in almost all the departments of DU did not take place.
Several hundred students then marched through different roads in and around the DU campus for around two hours.
The students were holding placards inscribed with various slogans like ‘no more deception, publish gazette notification’, ‘gazette or bullet’ and ‘Student will not allow any delay in publishing gazette’.
Some were singing parody songs amidst the cheers of the demonstrators. Some curious onlookers were also seen joining the sit in at Shahbagh.
A group of students also painted on the Shahbagh streets. A painting reads: ‘Students won in 52, 71; why should they fear in 18’. Another group of students wrote a slogan by flowers on the streets.
The platform started their countrywide demonstrations from 17 February this year demanding reform of the quota system calling it discriminatory towards majority of the job seekers.