Dhaka,  Sunday
21 July 2024

Anti-quota protest: RU students block railway

Rajshahi Correspondent

Published: 15:23, 8 July 2024

Anti-quota protest: RU students block railway

Photo : Collected

Rajshahi University (RU) students blocked the rail tracks near the university's Faculty of Agriculture on Monday (8 July) as part of the nationwide "Bangla Blockade" against the reinstatement of quotas in government jobs. 

The blockade has disrupted rail communication between Rajshahi and other parts of the country.

According to Rajshahi Railway Station Manager Abdul Karim, the inter-city Dhumketu Express train left Dhaka for Rajshahi but was stopped at the Haria station due to the blocage. Meanwhile, the inter-city Kapotaksh Express train from Khulna has been halted at Sardah station.

The station master warned that the district's rail connectivity with the entire country will be severed if the blockade is not lifted soon.

The agitating students blocked the railway tracks around 12pm in front of the railway gate in the Jamalpur area, next to the university's agriculture faculty.

At the time, they chanted slogans and delivered speeches demanding the reform of the quota system.

Prior to this, students marched from various halls and gathered at Paris Road within the university. From there, they organised a combined procession and blocked the railway tracks 

Ashiq Ullah Muhib, one of the coordinators of the Quota System Reform movement at RU, said, "Starting today, we demand the cancellation of unreasonable and discriminatory quotas in all grades of government jobs and the reduction of quotas for backward groups and those with special needs to the minimum level as mentioned in the constitution." 

"A law in this regard must be passed in the parliament. Until then our movement will continue," he added.

Earlier yesterday, the students had gathered at Paris Road at the university campus around 3:30pm and staged a demonstration with four-point demands including the abolition of the quota system in government jobs, and the reinstatement of the 2018 circular.

They claimed to achieve their demands through peaceful activities, such as cultural programmes, rather than any form of anarchy or rash actions.

They reiterated their commitment to remaining on the streets until their goals are met.

RU students blocked the rail tracks near the university`s Faculty of Agriculture. Photo: Collected

The anti-quota protesters following a 4-hour blockade at Shahbagh intersection last evening (7 July) announced that they will continue the protest programme. 

Nahid Islam, one of the central coordinators of the movement, announced that they will continue the protests with one-point demand from today.

"Our one-point demand is that the illogical quotas in all grades of government jobs should be abolished through enacting a law in the parliament," said the coordinator.

Regarding the next programme, Nahid Islam noted that the class and exam boycott will continue indefinitely until their demands are met. 

Since 2 June, university students have been holding sit-ins, organising marches and blocking roads and highways, demanding the cancellation of the High Court order restoring a 30% quota for freedom fighters' children and grandchildren in government jobs and demanding the reinstatement of the 2018 quota cancellation circular.