Protesters, pressing for quota reform in government jobs, have called off their agitation after ruling Awami League leaders assured that a gazette on the abolition of the quota system will be issued after Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina returns to Dhaka.
They also suspended their demonstrations for the time being, but will hold a scheduled teachers-students views exchange meeting on April 30 on the Dhaka University campus.
The decisions came on Friday after a meeting between the protesters and Awami League Joint General Secretary Jahangir Kabir Nanak and Organizing Secretary AKM Enamul Haque Shamim at the NAM Bhaban around 9pm, quota movement’s Joint Convener Bin Yamin Mollah told the Dhaka Tribune.
Nanak had invited the protesters for talks in the evening. A 15-member delegation of Bangladesh Shadharan Chhatra Odhikar Sangrakkhan Parishad had gone to meet him.
"We learned about students' demands and discussed the quota system scheme... We have assured them that the government will take measures to release a gazette notification in this regard soon after the prime minister returns from Australia," Nanak told the Dhaka Tribune.
The students may rest assured law enforcers will not detain or harass their fellow protesters, even if anyone of them is found to be involved in the April 9 attack on the residence of Dhaka University Vice-chancellor during their movement, Awami League Organizing Secretary AKM Enamul Haque Shameem said, quoting Nanak.
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In early February, students and job seekers across Bangladesh took to the streets demanding an overhaul of the quota system that reserved 56% jobs in the public sector for selected groups. Amid the protests, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on April 11 announced scrapping the system.
“They (the Awami League leaders) assured us that the process of issuing a gazette notification over quota abolition will be started shortly after the prime minister returns home,” Yamin said.
“We will wait until then,” another Joint Convener Nurul Haque Nur said, adding that they would not stage protests before May 7.
He said they hoped the gazette would be published by the first week of May, warning: “We will otherwise intensify our demonstration.”
The quota protesters’ representatives also demanded the withdrawal of five cases filed against them on April 11 by Dhaka University authorities and police for vandalism, arson and obstruction of duty and attack on the vice-chancellor’s residence.
Nanak and Shamim assured the protesters that the cases would be withdrawn soon.