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Bangladesh Published At: 08 Jul 2024, 17:35 p.m.

RU students block railway to demand quota reform

Rajshahi University (RU) students block the Rajshahi-Dhaka railway line on Monday, July 8, 2024.

Students also obstructed four roads at the junction

Rajshahi University (RU) students have blocked the Rajshahi-Dhaka railway line, demanding reforms in the quota system for first and second class government jobs.

The students positioned themselves on the railway track at the crossroads under the flyover adjacent to the university's agriculture faculty at 12pm on Monday.

Besides blocking the railway, the students also obstructed four roads at the junction. They remained on the railway track until 2pm on Monday.

Rajshahi Station Manager of Bangladesh Railway Abdul Karim said that there is a fear of schedule disruption due to the students' protest.

He mentioned that the schedules of the Dhumketu Express and Kapotaksha Express trains were already affected. If the students remain on the railway line for an extended period, the Padma Express will also face scheduling issues.

Earlier at 11am, students gathered at Paris Road of the university, marching from various halls in protest. After assembling, they marched around the campus and then took a position on the railway tracks.

Thousands of students from different departments chanted various slogans against the quota system.

Mehdi Sajeeb, one of the coordinators of the quota system reform movement at Rajshahi University, said: "Today (Monday), we have committed a railway crime. Our program will continue until our demands are met."

Amanullah Khan, another coordinator of the quota system reform movement at Rajshahi University, said: "We had earlier protested on four-point demands. But from today (Monday), we will continue our struggle for a one-point demand, in coordination with the whole country, excluding the four points."

He added: "Our demand is clear: the quota system should be reformed in all types of government jobs, not just first and second class. If qualified candidates are not available in the quota, the posts should be filled by meritorious candidates. We will continue this movement in various forms until our demands are met."

The students have been protesting since June 6 to demand quota reform. Previously, they have organized human chains, rallies, cultural programs, and highway blockades.

The students' demand is to abolish unreasonable and discriminatory quotas in all grades of government jobs and to reform the quota system by passing a law in parliament, ensuring fairness for the backward groups and those with special needs.