Indigenous students demonstrated in Dhaka and Chattogram yesterday, demanding reinstatement of five percent quota privilege for the indigenous communities in class-I and class-II government jobs.
In Dhaka, about hundred students, under the banner of “Adivasi Quota Sangrakkhan Parishad”, took to the Shahbagh intersection around 10:00am and blocked the busy intersection by putting up barricades, reports our DU correspondent.
Vehicular movement through Shahbagh area remained halted for hours, causing a severe gridlock on the adjacent roads and immense suffering for commuters.
Speaking at the programme, Satirtho Chiran, joint convener of the platform spearheading the protest, said, “If you [government] consider us [indigenous people] citizens of this country, then ensure our rights.”
He also demanded revision of the recently published gazette on abolishing the quota system and vowed to continue the protest.
“Article 29 of the constitution authorises the state to make special provisions for the disadvantaged communities. Thus, quota is not a charity for us, it’s our right and we want it reinstated,” said Rebang Dewan, another joint convener of the platform.
Before leaving the spot at 3:00pm, the protesters said they would continue their protest through different programmes until the quota privilege for them is reinstated.
The platform would hold a solidarity rally and cultural programme on October 13 in Shahbagh area over the same demand.
In Chattogram, around 200 indigenous students of Chittagong University (CU) formed a human chain in Gate-1 area of the university, according to our CU correspondent.
They took position on Chattogram-Khagrachhari road at 10:30am and tried to block the road but failed as police intercepted them.
Khanjan Tripura, joint convenor of Adivasi Quota Sangrakkhan Parishad, urged the government to reinstate the five percent quota for indigenous people.
Protesters also demanded effective measures from the government for fully implementing the Chittagong Hill Tracts Peace Accord.
“The agitators left the spot around 11:15am as we requested them to consider the suffering of the commuters,” said Belal Mohammad Jahangir, officer-in-charge of Hathazari Police Station.
Later, the protesters brought out a procession with the same demand, which ended in CU Rail Crossing area.
On October 4, the government issued a circular abolishing all quotas for recruitment in class-I and class-II government jobs.
Until the abolition, about 56 percent of government jobs had been reserved for candidates from various quotas.