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IIM students join ranks with docs

Council leaders of premium B-schools urged Centre to desist from reserving an additional 27% of seats for OBCs.

india Updated: May 25, 2006 02:24 IST

In a show of strength, student councils of all six Indian Institutes of Managements (IIMs) on Wednesday opposed additional caste-based quotas in higher education institutions.

Expressing their solidarity with striking medicos across the country, council leaders of the premium B-schools urged the central government to desist from reserving an additional 27 per cent of seats for other backward castes (OBCs) from the next academic year.

"Increase in the quota system by another 27 per cent for OBCs will not serve the cause of higher education. Similarly, increasing seats in the general category will not resolve the issue without commensurate availability of infrastructure and teaching faculty," the council leaders said in a joint statement in Bangalore.

The council leaders from IIMs of Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Indore, Kolkata, Kozhikode and Lucknow also held a demonstration. Students of IIM-B joined them in a protest march.

The support of B-school students to the ongoing agitation against the quota regime was delayed as they were busy with their internships.

Students of the respective IIMs will now chalk out a plan of action to intensify the stir from the first week of June when the new academic year begins.

Students turn down Kalam's appeal

Meanwhile, medicos on Wednesday cranked up their agitation despite an appeal by President APJ Abdul Kalam to end their hunger strike and called "civil disobedience" by professionals and traders on Thursday after the UPA government chose to go ahead with quotas for OBCs in higher education.

The President asked the students who met him "to come out of their fasting mode and resume normal student life" and assured that the quantum of seats in educational institutions would be increased.

The students however stuck to their demand for setting up a separate Empowered Commission to examine the quota policy.

As the agitation against reservation for OBCs in central educational institutions entered the 13th day, All-India Institute of Medical Sciences resident doctors' association asked traders, resident welfare associations, bank employees and bar associations not to work from 9 am to 12 on Thursday.

Backed by Delhi Medical Association and Indian Medical Association, it also announced a "Delhi Chalo" rally on May 28 and the medicos took up the task of preventing the recruitment drive by the government to replace them.

Interviews at Safdarjung Hospital were postponed even as action by the government for eviction of the striking doctors from hostels was still pending.

Paying little heed to the 24-hour notice by the Uttar Pradesh government to return to work, doctors of Sanjay Gandhi Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences in Lucknow took out a 'scooter rally' and continued their indefinite strike.

Nearly 4,000 students took out a protest rally in Davanagere in Karnataka, medicos in Ahmedabad began a 48-hour hunger strike and the hunger strike by students of Indian Institute of Technology in Mumbai continued for the third day.

Striking medicos in Punjab and Haryana sought Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's clarification on status of general seats in elite educational institutions as they intensified their stir against quotas.

While supporting the proposed quotas, the BJP demanded that merit should not be reduced in the institutions and capacity-building should be accelerated.

"We consider reservation to be an effective mechanism in tackling inequality," BJP General Secretary Arun Jaitley said but cautioned that it should not be "politically motivated".

In the backdrop of the move to amend the Constitution to introduce OBC quotas, Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Meira Kumar said there was a provision in the UPA's common minimum programme for SC/ST reservation in the private sector.