Bangladesh suspends job quotas after student protests

Dhaka   -   Bangladesh’s top court on Wednesday temporarily suspended quotas for coveted government jobs after thousands of students staged nationwide protests against what they call a discriminatory system, lawyers said. The quota system reserves more than half of well-paid and massively over-subscribed civil service posts, totalling hundreds of thousands of government jobs, for specific groups.

Students launched protests earlier this month, demanding a merit-based system, with demonstrations on Wednesday blocking highways and railway lines. “We will not return to classrooms until our demand is met,” protest leader Rasel Ahmed of Chittagong University told AFP.

The quota system was abolished in 2018 after weeks of protests, but reinstated in June by Dhaka’s High Court, sparking fury from students.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday suspended that order for a month, said lawyer Shah Monjurul Hoque, who represents two students seeking to end the quota system.