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A step back for justice

The striking medical students? decision to call off their strike is welcome. They have played a heroic role in resisting the irrational government policy of enforcing quotas for the OBCs in institutions of higher learning.

india Updated: Jun 01, 2006 01:03 IST
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The striking medical students’ decision to call off their strike is welcome. They have played a heroic role in resisting the irrational government policy of enforcing quotas for the OBCs in institutions of higher learning. The Supreme Court’s decision to look into all the aspects of the issue is a victory, and the students should see it as such. Persisting on the path of confrontation would have resulted in an erosion of popular support and would have violated the direction of the apex court, the only constitutional arm that has dealt with the issue fairly. They can continue to highlight their views in a manner that does not affect their professional obligations.

Theirs is not an usual profession. Doctors have to always balance their professional interest in upholding merit with the needs of those who are ill and suffering. The travails of those who suffered during the 19-day strike were unintended, but they were very real for many of them, who also happened to be poor. The doctors’ strike sought to highlight the government’s bad policy, and they have succeeded in not only sensitising society, but the SC as well. The one section that seems to have been unaffected by their cry for justice was the government. Where ministers rushed to comfort Medha Patkar on her inane fast, they ignored the students who had a far more just cause. Some politicians who did show solidarity, did so in stealth. Instead of seriously addressing the issues, the government came up with a cynical sop of increasing the seats in the institutions. Only a trivial intelligence will be convinced that the government, whose supervision of the institutions of higher learning has been marked by niggardliness and incompetence, would manage an unprecedented expansion of facilities in quick time.

The Supreme Court’s queries, as well as its observations point to an opportunity for both the government and the political class to undo some of the mess that has been created by their hamhanded efforts to promote social equality.

First Published: Jun 01, 2006 01:03 IST