Protesters block Shahbagh for 2nd day, demanding removal of govt job quota

Several thousand students and job aspirants took position at Shahbagh in the afternoon on 3 July 2024Prothom Alo

A large number of students and job aspirants have blocked the Shahbagh intersection in the capital for the second consecutive day, demanding the cancellation of the quota system in government jobs. 

They urged the authorities to reinstate the 2018 circular that invalidated the entire quota system in the government job.

The students all demanded the court rule in favor of students' interests in the hearing scheduled for tomorrow, Thursday. 

Under the banner of ‘Anti-Discrimination Student Movement’, the protesters brought out a procession from the Dhaka University central library premises and marched through the Doyel Chattar and the Supreme Court areas  around 2:30 pm, before reaching the Shahbagh intersection. 

They demonstrated at the busy road crossing, blocking vehicular movement which led to a traffic congestion there. While filing this report around 4:00pm, the protesters were chanting various slogans at Shahbagh in favour of their demands and against the quota system. 

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Meanwhile, a significant number of policemen took position beside the protest programme, but with no efforts to disperse the protesters or hinder the programme. 

On the previous day, they blocked the intersection for around an hour as part of their protest programme.

According to the protesters, several thousand students from Dhaka University, its affiliated seven colleges, and some other colleges under the National University have joined the protest programme. 

They all demanded the court rule in favor of students' interests in the hearing scheduled for tomorrow, Thursday. 

In the face of a similar movement, the government canceled the entire quota system in 2018, clearing the way for a complete merit-based recruitment. Recently, the court invalidated the government’s quota cancellation order, essentially reinstating the quota system. 

It prompted the job seeking students to take to the streets once again. This time, they have placed some more demands, alongside the reinstatement of the quota cancellation order.

The additional demands include establishing a commission to eliminate irrational and discriminatory quotas in all grades of government jobs, keeping the 2018 circular effective, if the government wants to take any step regarding quotas in future.

Besides, the commission would consider benefits of the backward communities as per the constitution, work to block the use of quota multiple times in job recruitment tests, to recruit from the merit lists in the absence of qualified quota candidates, and to ensure a corruption-free, impartial, and merit-based bureaucracy.