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Kalam appeals to docs to end stir

Students' delegations which called on Prez demanded a separate Empowered Commission to go into the quota issue.

india Updated: May 24, 2006 21:09 IST

President APJ Abdul Kalam on Wednesday appealed to medicos to end their hunger strike over the reservation issue.

Kalam, who was called upon by student delegations from various universities, assured them that "the number of seats in educational institutions will be increased and the Oversight Committee set up for the purpose will draw the action plan within a stipulated time," a Rashtrapati Bhawan release said here.

He said the Committee would submit a comprehensive report by August 31, 2006 with a time-bound roadmap for implementing the decision of increasing the number of seats in educational institutions.

However, students said that a separate Empowered Commission should be set up to go into the entire issue of reservation.

Making the students "understand that every life is precious and that parents pin a lot of hope on them to fulfil their educational pursuits and be gainfully employed", Kalam appealed to the students to "respect the sentiments of their parents" and requested "the student community, particularly the fasting students, to come out of their fasting mode and resume normal student life."

Earlier, as the impasse over reservation in elite educational institutions continued, the issue figured prominently at a meeting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had with President APJ Abdul Kalam in New Delhi.

During the meeting, which lasted for 30 minutes, Manmohan Singh is understood to have briefed Kalam on various aspects of the raging controversy over quota for OBC in the institutions.

The meeting came close on the heels of Manmohan's appeal to striking resident doctors and medical students to withdraw their agitation.

The Prime Minister had received a report by the three- member Group of Ministers which suggested increasing the number of seats as also the institutions so that the interests of general category students are not affected.

Kalam has maintained that the total number of seats should be increased to make reservation irrelevant.

"Current issues of national importance and legislative business in the ongoing session of Parliament were discussed, a Rashtrapati Bhavan spokesman had said.