Quota reform: Govt playing ‘dubious role’

July 07, 2018 The Daily Star

Govt playing ‘dubious role’

Citizens’ demo also slams police inaction, demands judicial probe into attacks on quota reformists

Staff Correspondent

A group of guardians and other citizens yesterday accused the government of playing a dubious role on the quota issue.

On the one hand, the quota reform activists got arrested and “driven out of hospital” despite being attacked and injured at different protest programmes, but on the other the attackers were moving freely, they said at a protest rally.

They slammed police inaction over the matter as the law enforcers could not arrest any of the attackers even after they were identified in several photos and videos published in the media.

Parents, rights activists, teachers and eminent citizens attended the rally, organised under the banner of “Concerned Guardians and Citizens”, in front of the Jatiya Press Club.

They also criticised Chhatra League men and police for the alleged physical assault, verbal abuse and mental torture on a female protestor and demanded the immediate release of detained demonstrators and withdrawal of false cases against them.

“Incredible! What a country we are living in,” he said, accusing the government of playing a “dubious role” on the quota issue.

Anu Muhammad, a member secretary of the National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Power and Ports, said, “People like Moriom [the girl who was allegedly assaulted] are our strength and hope. But the government has failed to understand them, the government has failed to understand this power”.

Writer and anthropologist Rahnuma Ahmed asked where the women leaders of parliament were now as they were still not speaking up despite knowing about the sexual assault on Moriom.

Nur’s father Idris Hawladar said he was a farmer from a remote village and he sold his land for the education of his son, who is a master’s student at Dhaka University’s English Department.

“As a concerned person, Nur joined the quota reform movement along with the people of Bangladesh. But he was picked up by DB police and released an hour later,” he said and broke down in tears.

“Then he was beaten on his university campus. He had so much pain all over his body that he could hardly stand on his own. But he was driven out of Dhaka Medical College Hospital.

“When my son was admitted to a private hospital, he was forced to leave that as well,” Idris said, demanding an end to such repression on the participants of the quota reform movement.

Toriqul’s experience was even worse.

A master’s student at Rajshahi University and joint convenor of the quota reform movement at Rajshahi University, Toriqul was admitted to RMCH after being beaten with a hammer and sticks by Chhatra League men near the main gate of the university.

But he was forced to leave the hospital and is now being treated at a private hospital, said his family members.

Supreme Court lawyer Hasnat Quaiyum, one of the organisers of yesterday’s programme, asked why such repression was taking place in a democratic country.

“Those who are in the government, why are they there? What is their job? … Do they get salaries to foil peaceful movement? Do they get salary to repress people?”

Jyotirmoy Barua, another Supreme Court lawyer, said what was done by police and the Chhatra League men during some recent incidents amounted to criminal offences.

He is among the 20 lawyers who have promised to provide legal aid to quota reform activists for free.

Meanwhile in a press statement yesterday, Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (Forum-Asia) expressed grave concern over the recent attacks on the protesters by BCL leaders and police.

Terming the attack as “violent”, it also condemned the harassment of the university teachers and said that force against any peaceful assembly is restricted under the international human rights law.


As BNP-Jamaat could not weaken the government through any meaningful movement, they are now provoking quota reform activists against the government, said Law Minister Anisul Huq yesterday.

He was answering questions from journalists after inaugurating a newly constructed building of Moniando High School in Akhaura upazila of Brahmanbaria.

In a similar tune, Rajshahi University (RU) Vice Chancellor Prof M Abdus Sobhan said the ongoing quota reform movement was an “anti-government movement with a motive to carry out sabotage.”

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