The growing movement for quota reforms across the country cannot be stopped by force. Agitators were attacked in Rajshahi yesterday after being attacked in Dhaka too.
It was hoped that the unprecedented movement emerging around Dhaka University in the election year and the pledge of prime minister Sheikh Hasina in parliament will be adequate to solve the issue.
The problem could be resolved soon if the government wants.
Earlier the cabinet secretary told the media, a notification will be circulated soon on the premier’s declaration.
Time has passed, but the prime minister’s promise has not been implemented as yet. The goverment hasn't even issued any specific statement.
The committee led by the cabinet secretary should inform the people on their progress regarding the issue.
Rather than any declaration, there have been attacks, harassment and arrests. The Students Rights Protection Council was obstructed to hold a press conference Saturday and several of the ruling party backed BCL (Bangladesh Chhatra League) leaders sought out and abused activists of the movement.
The injured were even obstructed on their way to hospital.
We condemn the attack. Leaders of Dhaka University BCL have denied involvement in the attacks. But, just the following day, after BCL’s attack on the Rajshahi University students, they said, “Those who do not rely on the words of the prime minister, will not be spared.”
The silence maintained by the top order of the ruling party following such a remark by a BCL leader, hints of powerful backing.
The movement for reforming quotas is a justified one. After 47 years of independence, 55 per cent employment preference for first and second grade government jobs and only allowing the remaiming 45 per cent for merit, requires change.
The system cannot be constant forever. Even the protesters did not demand quota removal. They are raising their voices for justified reasons and for the greater good of the country.
The protesters engaged in the nonviolent movement are not victims of BCL’s oppression only; they are also being arrested.
Yesterday, police arrested Rashed Khan, the joint convener of the Bangladesh General Students Rights Protection Council, in connection with a case filed by a BCL leader.
This will instigate the agitators more. It is unfortunate that the top level committee for reforming quotas remains inert.
The government quarters cannot expect that only because the prime minister had formed a committee, the students and job seekers have no right to stage nonviolent movements.
The agitators wanted to hold the press conference to let their demands be known, but the Chhatra League men attacked them and created unrest.
They cannot deny the responsibility of this unrest on campus.
We hope that the prime minister’s pledge will be implemented and all the oppression, harassment against the protesters will cease.
Release Rashed Khan unconditionally. The silence of the administration over the violation of the law, the arrest and, harassment of the victims, will only send out a wrong message to the people.