Descendants of freedom fighters have demonstrated for restoration of the 30 percent quota blocking Shahbagh intersection in the capital for the second day on Thursday.
The demonstration began on Wednesday night following a Cabinet decision of abolishing the quota that reserved for them in government jobs.
Meanwhile, Muktijoddhar Sontan Command's central president Sheikh Atiqur Rahman informed media that a rally will be held at Shahbagh at 3pm on Saturday to press home for their demand.
They would not leave the street until their demand is met.
bdnews24.com adds: Muktijoddhar Sontan Command and Muktijoddhar Paribar — groups of freedom fighters’ descendants —have flocked to the key intersection for the second day, disrupting traffic.
Protests have created severe gridlocks in and around the area, according to the traffic police control room.
The protests began hours after the abolishment of quotas in top government jobs on Wednesday.
“They have been demonstrating since last night. The traffic movement remained suspended, but there were no untoward incidents,” said Maruf Hossain Sardar, deputy commissioner of Dhaka Metropolitan Police for the Ramna Division, told bdnews24.com.
Traffic came to a complete halt from Karwan Bazar to Shahbagh and Elephant Road to Shahbagh on Thursday.
Police diverted vehicles near the InterContinental Hotel intersection toward the commercial hub of Motijheel.
At present, 56 percent of government jobs are secured for different quotas, 30 percent for children of freedom fighters, 10 percent for women, 10 percent for less-developed districts, 5 percent for small ethnic groups and 1 percent for people with disabilities.
A few months back, the ‘Bangladesh Council to Protect General Students’ Rights’, the platform of the quota reform protesters, demanded a reduction in the quotas to 10 percent and wanted merit-based appointments if people eligible for quotas are unavailable.
Following its demand, the government formed a committee to review the quota system and the panel recommended abolishing quotas in class I and II, two top tiers in government jobs.
In line with the panel’s recommendations, the cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina accepted the recommendations on Wednesday.
“We don’t accept this cabinet decision. The 30 percent seats for freedom fighters’ children must be kept in government jobs,” Sheikh Atiqur Babu, president of the Muktijoddhar Sontan Command, said at the demonstration on Wednesday.
He also announced a rally for Saturday afternoon.
They raised six demands from the demonstration:
>> Cancellation of the report by the committee to review the quota system;
>> Keeping 30 percent quota for freedom fighters’ descendants in Bangladesh Civil Service and other government jobs;
>> A law to protect the freedom fighters’ families;
>> Expulsion of children of anti-liberation people from government;
>> Justice for derogatory remarks on Hasina and Bangabandhu; and
>> Justice for attack on the DU vice-chancellor’s residence during quota reform protests.
Bangladesh Chhatra League General Secretary Golam Rabbani expressed his solidarity with the protesters’ demands.
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