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Arjun attacks Knowledge panel for opposing quota

HRD Minister Arjun Singh attacked Knowledge Commission Chairman Sam Pitroda for opposing quota in academic institutions.

india Updated: May 14, 2006 15:08 IST

Sticking to his stand on the OBC quota issue, HRD Minister Arjun Singh on Saturday attacked Knowledge Commission Chairman Sam Pitroda for opposing reservations in Central educational institutions.

"The Chairman of the Knowledge Commission says that he was unaware of the Constitution Amendment (on reservation). If he is that ignorant, how can he be the chairman of the Knowledge Commission?" Singh said.

A majority of the Knowledge Commission had opposed the extension of reservations in Central educational institutions as proposed by the HRD minister.

Singh, however, criticised police action on striking medicos protesting his proposal for reservations in centres of higher education.

"I don't support the police action," he said, but asked protesting students to take into account the interest of "large sections of the deprived people".

The HRD minister said that the reservation proposals had again been submitted to the Union Cabinet for consideration.

Asked whether the issue should be referred to a Group of Ministers in the light of the controversy it has sparked, Singh said that the powers lay solely with the Cabinet on such a decision.

He also rebutted reports that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was not informed of the proposals.

"The Prime Minister was definitely aware of this. In fact, he helped this amendment law being passed after satisfying the anxiety of OBC MPs. How can I say he was not aware of it?" the minister said.