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14th-Aug-2018

Quota reform: Free the students and fulfill their rational demands

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CABINET Secretary after weekly Cabinet meeting on Monday told journalists that the committee formed by government to review the existing quota system proposed abolition of almost all the quotas in public services giving priority to talent. However, the court directives will be sought before taking any decision over freedom fighter quota, he said.
Earlier in April, the students of public and private universities launched a movement demanding reform in the quota system in government jobs. To cool down the protest, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on April 11 announced in Parliament the abolition of all types of quotas. The government later on July 2 formed a seven-member committee headed by Cabinet Secretary to review the existing quota system. The other members of the committee are secretaries of the Public Administration, Finance Division, Liberation War Affairs Ministry, Legislative Division and PSC, and acting secretary of the PMO. The Cabinet Committee had extended its tenure two times and finally yesterday said that 'it will seek court directives for taking decision about freedom fighter quota'.  
At present, 56 per cent government job is filled from the quota - of which 30% is for freedom fighters' children, 10% for district, 10% for women, 5% for ethnic communities and 1% for the disabled. Meanwhile, taking a U-turn from her previous stance PM recently said that freedom fighters' quota could not be abolished as per court decision. Even Liberation War Affairs Minister on July 11 ruled out any scope to abolish freedom fighters' quota. So, its clear that the review committee has echoed the government's stance. That means, seeking court directives by the committee is nothing but killing time to divert the issue.
What significant is that students instantly rejected the committee's decision terming it a "farce". They yesterday announced to continue their movement until the demand is fulfilled.  It is not understandable why the government is deliberately switching its stance referring the court verdict while there was actually no decision over quota system.
Presently, all the seven quota-reformer student leaders are in jail and rests are on the run fearing police repression. Why our students would face such harassment if they are not really involved in any anti-government movement? We must say it will not wise to give a political colour on the popular students' movement. Free the students from jail immediately and fulfill their rational demands.