Quota Demo: Protesters block Shahbagh Students boycott classes, exams

 Online Report

Quota reform protesters today blocked one of Dhaka’s main thoroughfares Shahbagh suspending vehicular movement in the area.

The protesters after bringing out a procession from Dhaka University Central Library gathered around Shahbagh intersection, creating gridlock on all roads leading to the intersection.

“We will not leave the street until the demand is met,” Nurul Huq Nur, joint convener of Sadharan Chhatra Adhikar Sangrakkhan Parishad, told The Daily Star, after blocking the intersection.

They were staging the sit-in on the interaction till 1:30pm when the report was filed.

“We request the prime minister for giving instruction to the respective secretaries to issue the gazette notification,” said Muhammad Rashed Khan, joint convener of the platform.

As long as the gazette notification is not issued, the protesters will not leave Shahbagh, Rashed added.

Around 3,000 protesters started the procession from the front of Dhaka University Central Library around 11:00am demanding immediate gazette notification on abolishing quota system from public service as per prime minister’s words.

They marched towards each faculty and took out the students, suspending all classes, reports our correspondent from the spot.

Muhammad Rashed Khan, joint convener of the platform said they would not return to classes until the gazette is published.

In Jahangirnagar University, about 200 protesters brought out a procession on the campus to press home their demands, reports our JU correspondent.

The protesters were carrying banners that read “No more delay, issue gazette notification”.

In Chittagong University, quota reformists have been staging a sit-in on the rail tracks, blocking CU shuttle train service since 8:00am, our CU correspondent reports quoting Sholoshohor Police Outpost Sub-Inspector Jakir Hossain.

Quota reformists in Chittagong University have been staging a sit-in on the rail tracks, blocking CU shuttle train service since 8:00am on May 14. Photo: Md Abbas/Star

No train left the port city for the campus since morning, the correspondent said.

In Rajshahi University, more than 300 students brought out a procession in the campus around 2:50pm, reports our RU correspondent.

Many also boycott their classes today.

“As the government failed to publish the gazette by the given timeframe, we will observe strike sine die and boycott all academic activities at the colleges and universities countrywide,” Nurul Haque Nur, joint convener of Bangladesh Sadharan Chhatra Adhikar Sangrakkhan Parishad, told The Daily Star yesterday.

Earlier, the protesters set the deadline to 5:00pm yesterday to publish the gazette and threatened to go on an indefinite strike.

Yesterday, the students observed a two-hour strike from 11:00am to 1:00pm at different universities and colleges.

Awami League General Secretary ObaidulQuader however at a programme on the same day said threats of further protests were unrealistic.

Earlier on Wednesday, the protesters threatened to begin demonstrations from Sunday if the government failed to publish the gazette by Thursday.

They announced launching of fresh demonstrations after Cabinet Secretary Mohammad Shafiul Alam on May 7 said there was no progress regarding the gazette publication.

In April, students of public and private universities across the country took to the streets with the demand. Police charged truncheons and fired tear gas shells on the demonstrators on DU campus, injuring at least 163.

The protesters blocked key points in the capital and roads and highways elsewhere.