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Quota protesters threaten to wage fresh agitation

3 demo leaders ‘blindfolded’, taken to DB office, released later

16 Apr 2018, 21:00

NTV Online

Dhaka: Bangladesh General Students’ Rights Protection Council’ on Monday threatened to wage a fresh movement if the cases filed against them during the quota-reform movement are not withdrawn within the next two days.

Nurul Haque, co-convener of the council, gave the ultimatum at a press conference in front of the Dhaka University Central Library around 11am, reports the UNB.

‘We’ll be there in the field again if our demand is not met within the given time,’ Haque said in a written statement.

On April 11 last, four cases were filed against unnamed accused following a clash and vandalism on the DU campus and its VC’s house during the demonstration for the reformation of quota system in government jobs.

At the press conference, the agitating students also protested a report published by the ‘Daily Ittefaq’ which termed the one of the leaders of the platform as a ‘Shibir’ activist.

They also demanded the withdrawal of the news saying, ‘If the newspaper doesn’t withdraw the report within 5pm today (Monday), all educational institutions and universities will boycott the newspaper from tomorrow (Tuesday).’

The leaders also demanded the arrest of the miscreants involved in the attack on the DU VC’s residence.

They also urged the authorities not to harass any student either on the university campus or at its halls.

Picking up and Release:

Barely an hour after their ultimatum for withdrawal of all the cases filed against, three leaders of the council were reportedly picked up by detectives from near Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH).

Police, however, claimed that they only called the three joint conveners of the council—Rashed Khan, Nurul Haque Nuru and Farooque Haque—to go to their Mintoo Road office to have talks on violence on the Dhaka University campus.

Talking to UNB, Rashed Khan said the DB police picked them up into a microbus around 1:25 pm while they were going to Chankharpool from the DMCH after visiting some students who got hurt during the quota-reform demonstration.

They were later released around 2:50 pm, he added.

Later, at a press conference in front of the DU Central Library around 4 pm, Nurul Haque, co-convener of the council, said the DB police picked the three council leaders into a microbus and then they were blindfolded with black scarves.

Later, he said, they were taken to the DB office where they were neither repressed nor interrogated.

Haque said, ‘We’re worried about our safety and of our family members following the incident.’

Rashed Khan, joint convener of the council, claimed that his father Nabai Biswas was also taken to Jhenidah Sadar Police Station in the afternoon.

He was released after the law enforcers harassed him, Rashed alleged.

He also claimed that the law enforcers forcibly took some confessional statements from his father.

Another joint convener of the council, Nurul Haque Nuru, said they were dragged into the microbus from near the emergency department of the DMCH by a group of DB members.

‘They first gave us helmets to wear, and later we’re blindfolded with scarves. When unfolded, we found us at the DB office,’ Nuru said.

He said the BD members released them after asking their names and addresses. ‘They told us that they’ll call us again, if necessary.’

Later, a procession, protesting the incident, was brought out on the campus.

Contacted, DB Joint Commissioner Abdul Baten said they only integrated the three students for the sake of investigation into the violence on the DU campus.

He said they crosschecked various information and video footages relating to violence and the attack on DU VC’s residence during the quota-reform movement through discussion with the three leaders of the movement.

Baten denied the allegation of picking the three movement leaders up forcefully and said they only called them to go to their office and the three leaders left the DB office after discussions with them.

Earlier on Thursday, the council announced to stay all their protest programmes in response to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s decision to cancel all quotas for government jobs.

On February 17, students and jobseekers started the movement to press for their five-point demand that include introduction of unified age limit in government jobs, review of quota system in government recruitment process, including Bangladesh Civil Service (BCS) examination, stopping taking benefit by job seekers under the same quota, filling vacant posts from merit list if the candidates from quota are not found and fixation of 10 percent quota instead of existing 56 percent.

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