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Anti-quota movement

Patients bear brunt of road blockade

Published : 10 Jul 2024 10:43 PM

A large portion of the capital city of Dhaka, including different main intersections, came to a standstill due to the road blockade by students over the quota systems in the government jobs despite a status quo on the matter by the country’s highest court on Wednesday. 

The protesters took positions on important roads including Purana Paltan, Gulistan, Jatiya Press Club, Shahbagh, Karwan Bazar, Farmgate, Science Lab and other places halting the movement of vehicles since the morning. 

Thousands of people were stranded in different places for several hours as the protesters, many of them carrying sticks, were found blocking road intersections and some of them prevented even pedestrians from going to their destinations. 

The protesters assaulted some school going kids in the city’s Mohakhali area in the morning as they refused to join the blockade programmes. 

Even, some people alleged that the agitators did not allow patient-carrying ambulance or other vehicles to go to hospitals though the patients showed their necessary medical documents. 

A group of students blocked the Science Lab intersections in the morning causing severe sufferings to patients and people on their way to various hospitals in Green Road and Dhanmondi areas. 

Some people in front of Jatiya Press Club alleged that the protesters did not allow passengers to enter metro stations. As a result, hundreds of people were forced to walk to their destinations due to the blockade. 

A driver of an ambulance said the protesters did not allow him to go to hospitals when a critical patient was on his vehicle. 

The protesters were stopping cars, checking emergency papers and forbidding anyone from using the road. 

Rahim Mia came to Dhaka from Patuakhali along with his family as his six-year-old boy Mahiuddin is sick. The family reached Karwan Bazar from Uttara this morning. 

Rahim Mia said, “We will go to Postogola. We hired a rickshaw from Mohakhali to Gulistan for Taka 200. But the protesters are not allowing us to go to Gulistan. Now we are waiting at Karwan Bazar. 

There is no way to move ahead along with my family, specially my sick child.” 

Like Rahim Mia, hundreds of people were forced to walk to their destinations due to the blockade. 

Syed Mohammad Hossain was caught in the blockade while riding his motorbike from Old Dhaka to Labaid Hospital in Dhanmondi with his ailing mother Tahamina Akther. 

 “My mother and I were heading to the hospital for her chemotherapy,” Hossain said, adding, "No one let us go even though I showed the students the medical papers”. 

"I don't have any problem with the students' protest. However, how long the people will suffer? Who is going to hear about our pain?" he lamented. 

Students of different public universities and colleges and jobseekers have been demonstrating for the last seven days demanding reinstatement of a 2018 circular that abolished the quota system in government jobs.