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Monday, April 9, 2018 11:52:04 PM
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Minister's proposal rejected

Protesters to continue movement

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Anisul Islam Noor with Rayhanul Islam :
Awami League General Secretary and Minister Obaidul Quader's moves
yesterday to defuse university students' movement on the quota system claiming that students have agreed to postpone the movement for one month has apparently failed to win support of the agitating students.
They said Obaidul Quader must clear his position appearing before the students. They are not ready to accept any open and misleading promise to break their movement. The minister must make concrete promises for the government without any ambiguity.   
Meanwhile, protest continued in the capital and further spread yesterday all over the country in almost all public universities and higher educational institutions.
In the capital police laid siege at Shahbagh intersection blocking access to the varsity campus while several thousand students had taken position at Raju momument around the TSC and other spots on the Dhaka University campus.
A tense situation is prevailing as the stand off continues between police and students. Meanwhile several hundred members of Bangladesh Chatra League (BCL) and ruling party cadres had taken position at some university spots equipped with fire arms and many apprehend that they may attack the protesting students to
foil their movement. Nobody was leaving the spot till writing the report at 10 pm. BCL cadres also attacked protesters at Shahjalal University of Science and Technology (SUST) to disperse the movement but they were chased in counter attacks.
The armed party cadres on Dhaka University campus also carried out similar attacks yesterday noon but they ran away when protesting students chased them. Such chase and counter chase also reported at many other public universities.
Meanwhile, Awami League General Secretary and Communication Minister Obaidul
Quader's announcement was not enough to break the impasse. He made the announcement after a meeting with a 20-member delegation of the agitating students at his Bangladesh Secretarial office. He said the government needs one month time to examine all aspects of the quota issue in a bid to accepting their demands.
But when the delegation leaders backed to the agitating students at Raju Chattar
at TSC the message they carried fell into the deaf ears of crowd. They suspected it as a government ploy. They are not ready to be misled by unclear commitment to abandon the movement.
In yesterday's clashes between police and protesters in which ruling party cadres also helped police at many places, over 300 protesters were injured some being bullet hit at many places. The injured included 60 at Jahangirnagar University, 40 at Rajshahi University, 160 at Dhaka University including one bullet hit.   The number of injuries at Chittagong University and SUST at Sylhet could not be known.
Many were admitted to Dhaka Medical College Hospital who received injuries in
police action at Dhaka University, Jagannath University and Dhaka College. Classes and examinations were not held in those universities and colleges. Similar situation reported from other places.
The protests were so massive yesterday in the Dhaka University campus with female students from residential halls joining the protesters in processions. In fact their presence was so huge and noticeable in scorching sun as they were chanting various slogans calling for scrapping of the quota system.
Even BCL leaders from many residential halls also joined the agitation apparently defying party instruction when the government is trying to foil the movement by using armed party cadres at various levels. The movement on quota has become a common cause because every student after passing out the universities is facing the job uncertainties held hostage by elite and privileged classes under quota system.        
Rashed Khan, joint convener of Sadharan Chhatra Odhikar Sangrakshan Parishad (Bangladesh General Students' Right Protection Council), yesterday warned if party cadres attack the agitating students, they would be met with equal fire.
Earlier, police detained at least 25 students from the overnight protest, he demande their immediate release.

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