Quader asks protesters to wait for court’s final verdict

Road transport and bridges minister Obaidul QuaderFile photo

Awami League general secretary Obaidul Quader told the anti-quota protesters to wait for the final verdict of the court as the matter is under trial.

He also urged the demonstrators to avoid such a movement that causes people’s suffering.

Obaidul Quader made the remarks while speaking at a press conference at the Awami League president Sheikh Hasina’s political office in the capital’s Dhanmondi on Monday.

The Awami League general secretary said, “We think the country’s top court will deliver the verdict considering the real situation. Bright people are the driving force behind the action that Sheikh Hasina started to build a smart Bangladesh. We mainly need the meritorious young generation to reach the goal of building a smart Bangladesh through creating an educated, competent and smart generation.”

Obaidul Quader, who is also the road transport and bridges minister, said the prime minister abolished all types of quotas by issuing a circular in 2018. Children of seven freedom fighters filed a writ with the High Court challenging the circular. The top court of the country declared the circular on quota invalid, and the state appealed against the verdict. The government is sincere in the abolition of the quota system, which is why the attorney general appealed against the court verdict.

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It will not be lawful to comment on the issue that is pending with the High Court, he said adding, the court will give a final verdict after hearing arguments of both sides. Everyone should wait until the court delivers the final verdict. Any type of tension or road blockades that cause suffering to people should be avoided.

Programmes that might create disturbance for HSC examinees and their guardians, in particular, should be avoided, he remarked.

The Awami League leader mentioned that 31 front-line leaders of the previous quota movement could not pass the BCS examinations.

He requested newspersons to look into the matter.

Saying that political element has been added to the ongoing anti-quota movement, Quader added, “Our division and politics of polarisation has been added here because BNP and their like-minded entities openly depend on this quota movement. They support it openly, that means they have participated in it through supporting it. As a result, it has now fallen into a politics of polarisation, and there is nothing new to say on what its political colour is.”

The road transport minister said whoever is involved in the movement, whether it is a part of any conspiracy will be understood in the course of the movement. This will be clarified in time. Nothing will be possible to hide; they are closely monitoring the movement.

The governing party leader was asked political parties and union workers join movements across the world, but why is Awami League taking it negatively?

In reply, Obaidul Quader said have any political party joined a movement against the court verdict in any country? The matter is under trial, and no political party can do it this way. This is a court verdict.

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Recalling that abolition of the quota was the government’s decision, he said the protesters are also demanding it. Again, the government appealed to the court, the court gave the verdict. So, where is the government’s fault here?

He observed that it was not lawful to talk about or criticise the matter or even protest the issue that is pending at the court.

Replying to a query on whether the government has any plan to go tough on anti-quota protesters to lessen people’s sufferings, Obaidul Quader said the state has appealed, and the court is yet to give the final verdict. How would they intervene amid this? Programmes that cause people’s suffering should be avoided. Let the court deliver the verdict, and they will see afterwards, he added.

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Replying to another query on whether he is requesting to suspend or withdraw the movement, Obaidul Quader said, “You should understand from what I have said. Understand the language, and then it will be fine.”

Asked about the university teachers’ movement opposing the implementation of the ‘Prottoy’ scheme of universal pension system, Obaidul Quader said, ‘There might have been some misunderstandings here. We have been in touch with them, but no formal talks have been held yet and the decision must be taken in the light of the real situation. We will not debate on whether we are the superior or the teachers. We will choose based on our statuses and the reality.”