Retain indigenous quota in civil service-Adivasi Quota Sangrakkhan Parishad demands

One week into the government review committee’s recommendation of scrapping all quotas, demands for retaining certain quotas are being put forward.

A group yesterday demanded that five percent allocation of quota privileges for indigenous people in government jobs be kept.

They made the demand at a press conference, organised under the banner of ‘Adivasi Quota Sangrakkhan Parishad’, at Madhur Canteen, Dhaka University.

At the programme, they alleged that cabinet secretary made a “generalised” remark that there are no backward communities in the country right now.

“The grounds for abolishing the quota system has not been created yet as indigenous people are still facing hurdles in receiving higher education compared to people living in the plains,” said William Nokrek, coordinator of the platform, while reading out a written statement.

Achieving good results is an uphill battle for indigenous students due to the lack of qualified teachers and poor school facilities — in terms of the number of schools and classrooms in the hilly areas.

A student of an institution in Lama upazila of Bandarban cannot be compared to a student of an institution in Dhaka. So, it would not be wise to push the indigenous community into an “unequal competition” by scrapping quota privileges for them, he said.

“Quota reformists had demanded reformation, not abolishment of quotas, and some lawmakers had also extended their support to retaining the indigenous quota,” he added.

They also demanded immediate implementation of the prime minister’s declaration of making special arrangement for indigenous people.

The platform will also stage a protest rally on September 29 at the base of Raju Memorial Sculpture and will march towards the Secretariat the next day to press home their demands.

In the wake of countrywide demonstrations staged by general students, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on April 11 decided to scrap the quota system in government jobs.

The PM, however, said a different arrangement will be made so that members of ethnic minority groups and physically-challenged people can get government jobs.

On September 17, a seven-member government committee, led by Cabinet Secretary M Shafiul Alam, recommended abolishing the quota system for class-I and class-II jobs in civil service.

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