Recently the country is passing turbulent period on the issue of quota movements. The protesters are coming down on the streets demanding quota reforms. Some of the country`s eminent intellectuals and so-called civil society members supported this movement by referring this movement a general student`s movement. But the question that comes on the mind, does the quota movement really belong to general students? Or is there any other force operating this movement?
How did the quota reform movement begin? Who raised the claim of cancellation of the freedom fighters’ quota first? We have to look back a bit to know the answers of these questions.
When Jamaat-e-Islami, the anti-liberation political party, took part in the election in 2001, they demanded to reform the quota system in the government jobs and demanded the cancellation of the freedom fighters’ quota in their election manifesto. After the victory of the BNP-Jamaat alliance in the elections, the first parliament session was held on January 8, 2002. During the discussion on the President`s speech, Jamaat leader and accused war criminal, the then industrial minister Motiur Rahman Nizami first said that the freedom fighters’ quota should be canceled. Because this quota is being misused and spoilt. Nizami further said, there is no need to create separation between freedom fighters’ quota, and the whole quota system needs to be reformed.
Then another Jamaat leader, Delwar Hossain Sayeedi who got the sentence of life imprisonment raised the demand for the cancellation of the freedom fighters’ quota during the 33rd budget session in 2003. In the same session, war criminal Maulana Abdus Sobhan also demanded the cancellation of the freedom fighters’ quota. In view of this demand, the parliament assured that quota reforms issue will be examined. The then Prime Minister Begum Khaleda Zia had said in parliament that quota should be reformed. However, the BNP-Jamaat alliance government could not move forward in this regard for various reasons.
Jamaat-e-Islami did not exclude the matter from its agenda even though they cannot go ahead on the issue at that time. They have been working secretly in order to exclude the freedom fighters’ quota. In continuation of this, they mobilized the general students to come down to the streets under the leadership of Shibir cadres by using their emotion. They named this movement `the quota reform movement`.
Though initially the protesters were seen on the streets with picture of Bangabandhu, but behind the camouflage of the general students the main target of this movement was to abdicate the freedom fighters’ quota.
The main purpose behind the movement has been clear as the days passed by. By spreading the rumors the protesters continuously disturbed the situation of the country. These so-called protesters even vandalized the Dhaka University’s Vice-Chancellor`s residence. At one stage, they also protested with the controversial and arrogant placards.
After this, it was also clear from the conversations of the key conveners of the quota movement, the original objective of this movement was to cancel the freedom fighters’ quota. Their objections were repeatedly highlighted in their speeches. And because of this it is clear, that the quota movement is not the movement of the ordinary students in reality. Rather, the anti-liberation force is behind this movement.
There is no wonder that Jamaat will oppose the freedom fighters’ quota. Jamaat was the defeated power of `71. They are the opponent of Bangladesh independence. This opposition took the worst form during our great Liberation War in 1971. Jamaat-e-Islami conducted indiscriminate killing, rape, rioting that time. 46 years have passed since independence, but the political position of Jamaat-e-Islami has not changed. So when Jamaat has got the opportunity to do public politics, they have expressed dissatisfaction over the liberation war and the freedom fighters. After coming to power for the first time in 1996, Awami League government had declared 30 percent quota reserved for freedom fighters in government jobs. Since then, Jamaat-e-Islami has been opposing the freedom fighters’ quota.
But sadly, the country`s so-called civil society, the intellectuals and the leftist parties are supporting this movement. They are carrying human chain demanding the release of Joint Convener of the quota reform movement Rashed Khan, ABM Suhel.
This group is constantly opposing the Awami League government by arranging press conferences and writing columns in the newspapers. And the anti-liberation forces and their affiliated bodies are actually enjoying its benefits. These intellectuals do not want to understand that they have involved themselves to the Jamaat`s conspiracy in the name of quota reform movement.
Liberation War is a matter of our pride. The freedom fighters are the best sons and daughters of our nation. The demand for the cancellation of the freedom fighters’ quota means it denies the freedom fighters’ sacrifice. And through this movement the anti-liberation forces, namely Jamaat-Shibir are implementing their agenda to disrespect the Liberation War and the freedom fighters. And the country`s civil society and intellectuals are involving themselves in this trap without thinking much.
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