Prime minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday announced that there will be no quota system in the public services from now on.
In a statement in parliament, she also asked the agitating students and job-seekng youths to go back to classes, stopping the demonstration at campuses across the country.
"Since no one wants the quota, I think, there should be no quota," Sheikh Hasina said in reply to a supplementary question from Awami League member of parliament Jahangir Kabir Nanak.
The prime minister condemned the vandalism at the Dhaka University vice chancellor's residence and criticised the students for the protests despite assurance from the government to scrutinise the quota system in public services.
"I was shocked to see the demonstration chanting slogan 'we don't want quota', 'we want reform in quota'," she said.
In reference to the participation of the girl students in the protests she apparently reluctantly said, "Okay, we've no problem; as you don't want any quota, we will recruit all based on merit."
The prime minister said, "We discussed the issue in the cabinet meeting on Monday and I directed the cabinet secretary to scrutinise the quota system. The public administration ministry also started working on the matter."
Road transport and bridges minister Obaidul Quader sat with the agitators. The protesters agreed to postpone their programme, she pointed out.
"What then is the relevance of the movement?" Hasina asked. "Still a section of demonstrators stayed at Teacher and Student Centre throughout the night. Even the female students came out from their dormitories at 1:30am,"
The prime minister said a section of protesters carried out attack on the residence of the Dhaka University vice chancellor in a planned manner as they first broke CCTV and vandalised everything and looted valuables.
She said the attackers went on the rampage as the way the Pakistani forces did at the house of Bangabandhu at Road No 32, Dhanmondi in 1971.
"I strongly condemn the attack," Sheikh Hasina said adding those who carried out the attack would be identified. "Intelligence agencies have been asked to take necessary steps," she said.
"I couldn't sleep for the night. I sent Jahangir Kabir Nanak to negotiate... But they will not accept anything".
The students of private universities also joined the demonstrations, and the protests deteriorated traffic situaiton in the city, she pointed out adding the patients were unable to reach hospitals.
She claimed that the government is receruiting manpower on the basis of merit. Referring to 33th Bangladesh Civil Service (BCS) examinations, she said 77.40 per cent recruitment was made on the basis of merit.
She observed that those who attend BCS examinations are all meritorious students. "Nobody is hired without merit as they have to pass in the written examinations," she said and criticised the protesters for their "demands are not clear".
Sheikh Hasina said the female students and students at district levels also took to the street protesting the quota system.
"Even the women do not want quota'' so it's OK, there will be no quota," she said adding 'we will manage jobs for ethnic minorities.'