Anti-quota procession starts from DU, BCL takes position at Modhur Canteen

Anti-quota protesters bring out a protest march from Dhaka University campus on 6 JulyProthom Alo

Students and job seekers on Saturday resumed their movement on their four-point demand including cancellation of the quota system in government jobs by the reinstatement of the circular issued by the government in 2018.

The protesters, under the banner of ‘anti-discrimination student movement’ , brought out a protest procession from the DU central library premises at around 3:15pm.

Although the protestors were not obstructed, the leaders and activists of the ruling party student wing Bangladesh Chhatra League took position at the Modhur Canteen of Dhaka University.

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The students started to gather in front of the DU central library after 2:30pm. Protestors from different residential halls of the campus joined the gathering in processions. The protest procession is supposed to go to Shahbagh intersection, which the students blocked for five hours on Thursday last.

The demonstrators on Thursday announced all-out general strikes across all colleges and universities of the country on Sunday. Students of at least 63 departments and institutes of the DU expressed their solidarity with Sunday’s strike as of Saturday afternoon. The demonstrators are likely to chalk out their street movement from today’s programme.

Apart from the reinstatement of the circular of 2018 that abolished the quota system, the job aspirants and students are also pressing some other demands. Those include the formation of a commission to omit irrational and discriminatory quotas in all grades of government jobs subjected to the reinstatement of the 2018 circular, considering the backward community as per the constitution, closing down the scopes to use the quota facility more than once, filling up the vacant posts reserved for quota on the basis of merit and taking effective measures to ensure a corruption-free, neutral and merit-based bureaucracy.

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Till 2018, there was a 56 per quota in government jobs, including 30 per cent freedom fighter quota, 10 per cent women quota, 10 per cent quota for people from backward districts, 5 per cent quota for ethnic minorities and 1 per cent quota for physically challenged persons. That year, there was a big protest in the educational institutions across the country, including the Dhaka University demanding quota reform.

In the face of the movement, the government abolished the entire quota system for first and second class government jobs. Later, on 4 October that year, the public administration ministry issued a circular cancelling the quota system.

However, in 2021, the offspring of freedom fighters filed a writ with the High Court challenging the abolishment of the freedom fighter quota for government jobs.

Following the hearing on that writ, the court declared the cancellation of the freedom fighter quota as illegal on 5 June this year. The job aspirants have been protesting since then demanding the reinstatement of the circular abolishing the freedom fighter quota.

The students have been waging movement in higher educational institutes since then. The students 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.