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Candlelight anti-quota protest

INDIAN INSTITUTE of Management-Indore (IIM-I) students held a silent candlelight protest on their Pigdamber (Rau) campus to protest the Central Government?s proposal to introduce reservation in institutes of higher learning.

india Updated: Aug 25, 2006 14:32 IST

INDIAN INSTITUTE of Management-Indore (IIM-I) students held a silent candlelight protest on their Pigdamber (Rau) campus to protest the Central Government’s proposal to introduce reservation in institutes of higher learning.

IIM-I Students Welfare Activity Committee (SWAC) co-coordinator Wayne Fernandes, who evolved the idea of involving all IIMs in a nationwide protest and roped in the cooperation of like-minded students, said that the intelligentsia has now come forward in open protest of rules imposed upon the populace by the political class of the country, signaling a change in the mindset of the people.

At the height of the protests earlier, most students of IIMs were not present on campus because they were in different parts of the country doing their internship. However, at that time all students’ bodies across the six IIMs issued a joint statement stating their views and registering their protest.

The students of IIM are against the proposed increase in reservations in graduate and postgraduate institutes of excellence in its present form while agreeing that the weaker sections of the society needed to be given a boost. However, the way in which the boost was being given does not serve the purpose.

Increase in number of seats is contingent on the availability of infrastructure and human capital, which is getting dearer by the day.

The students believe that empowerment should start at the lowest level and towards higher education merit should be the sole criteria. In this light the proposed measures would be detrimental to the future of the country and would rupture the societal fabric of the country.

IIMs along with the pan IIM alumni body will approach the PM, President and other leaders of the country in an attempt to make their views heard in the correct forum.

IIM_I student Abhishek Chandra opined, “Reservation is just another card in the hands of politicians to get access to some more votes. It is just a step backward in today’s progressive world, which shall not benefit anyone in need of it.”

Shraddha Srimal said, “If this bill on reservation comes into force, it will be testimony to our apathy as a country, and its impact will reverberate through the decades to come in every walk of national life. The very purpose of democracy will be defeated, if inequality is promoted behind the façade of equal opportunity.”

Hushidar Kharas said, “The reservations issue is a matter that has grave implications for the future of our country. I sincerely believe that reservations lead only to inequality, and that they are inherently wrong.

The current moves that Parliament is making are only to serve short-term political interests, and have the potential to destroy much the institutions that we hold in high regard. No political party has either the ability or the willingness to oppose this, largely because the middle class refuses to stand up and be heard.”

Rahul Tara said, “The government is thrusting the decision down our throats, and has not considered the views of students and academia at all. Its hurry to introduce the bill shows clear vote bank politics on government’s part. There are better ways to provide facilities to the underprivileged, and there is no reason why reservations should be extended to the creamy layer of OBC’s. This will just lower the quality of education at premier institutions and create a caste-based division on the campus. This is not acceptable to us at all.”

Aniruddh Mairal said, “None of us were born when reservation was first implemented. None of us have ever discriminated on the basis of caste. We suffer for an offence we did not commit and want no part of.”

First Published: Aug 25, 2006 14:32 IST