Jahangirnagar University students block Dhaka-Aricha highway for cancelling quota

Jahangirnagar University students demonstrate on the Dhaka-Aricha highway on 7 July, 2024, demanding cancellation of the quota system.Prothom Alo

Students of Jahangirnagar University have blocked vehicular movement on the Dhaka-Aricha highway, demanding removal of the quota system in government recruitments. 

They took position on the highway adjacent to the university’s main entrance at 11:10 am and began a demonstration there. It created traffic congestion on both sides. 

Earlier, they brought out a procession from the central library at 11pm and marched through different roads on the campus before reaching the main entrance. They chanted various slogans in favour of their demands. 

Towhid Siyam, joint convener of the Anti-Discrimination Student Movement's JU unit, said they would continue their movement until the demands are met. 

He alleged a vested quarter is spreading propaganda that Jamaat and BNP descended on the current movement. He made it clear that their movement is solely conducted by general students. 

Mahfuz Islam, member secretary of the platform, echoed the demands and warned that they would take the entire country to a standstill if their rational demands are not met.  

Students and job seekers who have been campaigning for withdrawal of quota system in government jobs are holding a nationwide ‘Bangla Blockade’ today, with boycott of classes on campuses and obstruction of vehicular movement on roads. 

The protesters announced the programme on Saturday, following a nearly one-hour demonstration at Shahbagh in the capital in the afternoon. They vowed not to return classes until their demand of quota cancellation is met. 

Before lifting the blockade on Saturday, coordinator of the anti-discrimination student movement, Nahid Islam, alleged that the government has acted irresponsibly by pitting the students and the judiciary against each other. The executive division cannot Evade its responsibility for this situation.

The government had canceled the quota system in government recruitments in 2018. However, the High Court on 5 June declared the cancellation of the freedom fighter quota as illegal, essentially reinstating the quota system. 

The job aspirants have been protesting since then demanding the reinstatement of the circular abolishing the freedom fighter quota. They on 10 June gave an ultimatum to the government till 30 June to reinstate the circular of 2018.

As their demands remained unfulfilled, the students intensified their movement under the banner of ‘anti-discrimination student movement’ from 1 July.