Protests in Bangladesh put an end to a corrupt quota system

Apr 19, 2018

INDIA reserves a share of jobs in government for people of particular castes. In Bangladesh, the dividing line is history. The ruling Awami League, which led the country’s independence movement, reserves 30% of public posts for descendants of those who fought in the war of secession from Pakistan in 1971 (a further 26% go to other groups). Students, who have been agitating for reform since February, want 90% of public posts to be awarded on merit. On April 11th Sheikh Hasina Wajed, the prime minister, faced with a spiralling series of demonstrations and sit-ins, appeared to accede to their demands, promising to abolish all the quotas. But there has been no official follow-up, and supporters of the quotas are now planning counter-demonstrations.

The anti-quota protests, suspended for now, first erupted on the campus of Dhaka University on April 8th. They quickly spread, gripping public and private universities across the country. In Dhaka, the capital, police used tear gas, batons...

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