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Medicos to launch protests again

Medical fraternity has decided to launch the second round of their anti-quota agitation.

india Updated: Aug 22, 2006 09:48 IST

A section of the medical fraternity in the capital late Monday decided to launch the second round of their anti-quota agitation following the government's decision to introduce a bill in parliament to enlarge the scope of caste-based reservations in education.

"All medical colleges in Delhi and students of Delhi University would meet at the Jantar Mantar Tuesday," said Shubham Garg, a member of the Resident Doctors' Association of the Maulana Azad Medical College.

A section of the students of Delhi's medical colleges and resident doctors, as well as their counterparts in many other cities, had in April-May gone on a strike paralysing the healthcare services in public hospitals after the government announced its policy to enhance educational quotas.

The central cabinet Monday evening decided to introduce a bill in parliament to provide 27 percent reservation for candidates from the other backward classes (OBCs) in government-aided institutes of higher education.

The bill, to be introduced in the ongoing monsoon session of parliament that concludes Friday, has angered sections of the student community again.

Garg said that the students had earlier met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Human Resource Development Minister Arjun Singh earlier but it had not helped. Therefore, they have decided to meet United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi.

"We have also contacted other medical colleges and universities (in the country) and they would soon join the agitation. We would turn it into a nationwide agitation and the government will have to consider our demands," said Garg.

"We have opposed this stand of the government and we stand by our decision to oppose it," said K.K. Handa, general secretary of the faculty association of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).

Handa said the students and doctors would take part in the protest march and would also join the nationwide agitation though the faculty members would not be part of the march.

Faculty members of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi, said they would react only after studying the bill and discussing it with the students.

"We would like to study the decision before reaching a conclusion," said Anshul Kumar, dean of undergraduate students at the IIT, Delhi.

However, the students' union of the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) here welcomed the government decision. "We support the implementation of the reservation policy," said Mona Das, president of the JNU Students' Union.

She added the students' union would meet Tuesday to decide the future course of action to show their support to the decision.