Dec 3, 2008

World - Dhaka exams row sparks violence

Waliur Rahman

Police in the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka, have detained more than a dozen protesters angered at being "dropped" from the civil service.

They stormed the office of the Public Service Commission and vandalised it.

The protesters, angry that previous exam results had been annulled, held staff captive for almost four hours.

Their protest was only broken up when police arrived, forced their way into the building and began rounding up the demonstrators into a van.

Sought-after jobs

The fracas is related to the crisis-ridden 27th Bangladesh Civil Service (BCS) examinations.

The Public Service Commission (PCS) is responsible for organising and managing the BCS examinations, which determine who will be recruited as administrative officers within the civil service.

The 27th BCS examinations were held three years ago, with the PSC recommending the recruitment of some 3,000 youths for much-sought-after government jobs.

But things changed with the declaration of a state of emergency in January last year, when a military backed caretaker government was installed to run the country and cancelled general elections at short notice.

The new administration reconstituted the PSC with new members after the resignation of the previous chairman and other members who were appointed by the government of former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia.

The new PSC cancelled the results of 27th BCS examination on grounds that it was flawed.

It was alleged that most of the candidates were linked to Ms Zia's four-party coalition government, led by her Bangladesh Nationalist Party.

'Under consideration'

After a fresh recruitment test more than 11,000, who had originally qualified, failed to get through the second round and were dropped from the government job list.

The recruitment process under the PSC new list has already been completed.

But those who were dropped are demanding that the fresh BCS results be reversed and that PSC chairman Dr Saadat Hussain be sacked.

One of the protesters, Mahfuzur Rahman, told the BBC they staged the demonstration because the government failed to fulfil an assurance that a solution would be found.

Meanwhile, a committee to examine the demands of the dropped BCS candidates is still considering their case.

The PSC has always maintained that its decision to cancel the earlier examinations was correct and everything was done legally, transparently and following necessary rules.

No comments: