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Anti-quota protests

People’s plight mounts for rail-road blockade

Published : 10 Jul 2024 10:35 PM

Road and railway communications were disrupted severely across the country on Wednesday due to the blockade programme enforced by the protestors, demanding the cancellation of the quota system in government jobs.

The blockade programme caused untold sufferings to the people. Of them, patients and elderly people were worst-sufferers.

Train communications between Dhaka and other parts of the country were suspended as quota protestors put up barricades on the railway tracks in the capital city of Dhaka, Rajshahi, Chattogram and other areas in the country.

Besides, vehicular movement on the roads in Dhaka, Chattogram, Rajshahi and other major cities and also on the highways came to a standstill for the same reason, causing immense sufferings for the people across the country.

They had to get stuck on the roads, highways and even in the trains due to the blockade programme enforced by the protestors.

In Dhaka, the protestors put up blockades on Karwan Bazar level crossing and Mohakhali level crossing, causing immense sufferings for commuters.

Protesting students from different universities blocked the level crossings by placing logs around 11 am as part of the countrywide ‘Bangla Blockade’ programme protesting the reinstatement of the quota in public service.

Ferdous Ahmed Biswas, officer-in-charge of Dhaka Railway Police Station, said the students put up barricade on the level crossing near Karwan Bazar around 11 am, disrupting train communication.

Besides, the protesters staged demonstration at more than 20 points in Dhaka leaving all the roads in the capital city into a severe gridlock condition. Their blockades were put aiming at disrupting traffic movement. In some areas, commuters were seen trying to reach their destinations on foot.

Ctg trains halted, gridlock on roads In Chattogram, hundreds of protestors staged protests blocking roads at the Tigerpass intersection and railways under the Dewanhat Over Bridge in Chattogram city. 

The blockade caused significant disruption to traffic in the city, stranding Cox’s Bazar-bound Tourist Express and the Dhaka-bound Mahanagar Express trains at the Chattogram railway station.

Chattogram Railway Station Master Shafiqul Islam said protesters had blocked the railway under the Dewanhat Over Bridge. 

He noted that law enforcement officers were present but the Mahanagar Express to Dhaka and the Tourist Express to Cox’s Bazar remained unable to depart due to the students’ movement.

Following the railway blockade in the morning, the protesters moved to Tigerpass Intersection in the afternoon blocking traffic on Newmarket, Dewanhat, Ambagan, and Pahartali roads for about an hour. 

Vehicles from Newmarket had to reroute through CRB-Radisson Blue to Lalkhan Bazar towards GEC, while those from Pahartali road were diverted to Lalkhan Bazar via the road in front of the city corporation’s temporary office. 

As a result, hundreds of vehicles got stuck at the Tigerpass intersection while many passengers were forced to walk to their destinations.

Meanwhile, the city’s main entrances, including City Gate, Gate No 2, AK Khan, Agrabad Access Road, and Alankar, experienced a slight decline in public transport. 

The number of CNG auto-rickshaws and private vehicles also dropped noticeably. 

Bikers clash with protesters

The anti-quota demonstration on Wednesday caused traffic jams and serious disruptions to the public. Motorcyclists were seen frequently fighting with protesters.

Following a scheduled protest, protestors put blockades on major roads such as Shahbagh, Sciencelab, Farmgate, Dhanmondi, and Mohakhali after 10 AM, halting traffic.

Tensions escalated as bikers took attempts of breaking through the blockades to reach their destinations, leading to confrontations. 

Alamin, stranded in Banglamotor, lamented, “Even after informing them about my relative in the hospital, they won’t let me through. I’m being treated unfairly.”

Another commuter, Hanif, shared his frustration: “My wife is stuck in Banglamotor today. They insist on seeing appointment letters like it’s a military checkpoint. Without a letter, they won’t allow passage.”

Even uniformed personnel are not spared. An army sergeant, Feroze Al Mamun, recounted, “Despite explaining I had important office work, they forcefully stopped my bike at Banglamotor intersection.”