Dhaka, Bangladesh
Beware of touching FF quota

Beware of touching FF quota

Minister invokes court order

Liberation War Affairs Minister AKM Muzammel Hoque has ruled out any scope to abolish 30 percent quota for the children of freedom fighters in government jobs. Hoque cited a High Court verdict for his argument. "If the government wants to alter the quota system, it will have to appeal to the court for reviewing the verdict," the minister said at a press conference on the freedom fighters' quota in jobs on Wednesday. "Applicants from the merit list can come in, if eligible candidates are not found under the freedom fighters' quota but the 30 percent quota for freedom fighters must remain in the system," he said. "There is no scope to take any decision by avoiding or ignoring the court order. It will be tantamount to contempt of the court, if done," Hoque said. Currently, 56 percent of government jobs are reserved under the quota system. The system allocates 30 percent for the children of freedom fighters, 10 percent for women, 10 percent for economically backward districts, 5 percent for minority ethnic groups and 1 percent for the disabled. A group of students and job seekers launched a protest movement several months ago to reduce the quota to 10 percent. On Apr 11, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina announced in parliament that the system would be abolished altogether. She also announced the formation of the review committee headed by the cabinet secretary at the time, reports bdnews24.com. The government had appointed the cabinet secretary to lead the seven-member panel on Jul 2 in an effort to stave off further protests from quota reform protesters. The committee decided to collect information on the quota system from different sources at home and abroad in addition to designing a work process during its first meeting on May 8. The committee has been instructed to submit its recommendation to the government with necessary and logical directives to reform or abolish the quota system by Jul 23. A copy of the High Court verdict was submitted to the review committee on Wednesday and the panel will decide on the issue after careful scrutiny, said Hoque. "I would like to emphasise that the government is always respectful to the law and believes in the spirit of the liberation war. The quota for freedom fighters will not be changed." However, the minister said the review committee can recommend changes to other areas of the quota system.

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