Striking medicos remained defiant on Thursday despite President A P J Abdul Kalam's appeal to call off their anti-quota agitation and intensified their two-week-long stir by launching a 'civil disobedience' campaign.
The medicos, under the banner of 'Youth for Equality', will also call on the President later in the day to convey their position on the emotive issue and their decision to continue with the strike.
"We really thank the President for his concern, but it has come a bit too late as the government has already announced its decision to go ahead with the proposal," said Amithasha Sinha, a representative of Youth for Equality.
The agitation by resident doctors and medical students also got a boost as traders in the capital decided to join their movement and threatened to shut shops if the government failed to rollback its quota proposals within 100 hours.
The medicos launched a 'civil disobedience' campaign to enlist the support of RWAs, traders and other sections of society in their movement against introduction of 27 per cent reservation for OBCs in elite educational institutions.
"This is an attempt to widen our agitation. We are seeking the support of the all sections of the society," Safal, a student from MAMC and a representative of Youth for Equality, said in Delhi.
Meanwhile, junior doctors of five premier medical colleges, MCD hospitals and other health centres continued their strike for the 14th day and decided to discontinue operating parellel OPDs to give more sting to their agitation.
Medical students of five medical colleges in Delhi, who kickstarted the anti-quota protests, also continued their hunger strike for the 12th day at the AIIMS, the nerve-centre of the agitation.
The Indian Medical Association's Delhi unit will hold a sit-in at AIIMS in support of the stir, while its chapters in other states have called for a medical bandh, the second such shutdown by the apex medical body since the stir began.
The AIIMS Faculty Association has also decided to go on mass casual leave from Thursday to support the anti-quota stir, but made it clear they will ensure that basic health-care services are not disrupted.
A group of students, preparing for various entrance examinations of elite educational institutions like IITs and IIMs, will hold a fire walk in Delhi to register their protest against the reservation hike.
Kalam's appeal on Wednesday night to call off the agitation had no effect as the medicos remained firm on their demand for setting up a separate Empowered Commission to examine the entire reservation policy.
The President asked the medicos to end their hunger strike and resume normal student life assuring them that the number of seats in central educational institutions will be increased.
His appeal came after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's two appeals to the medicos to call off their agiation, which they have turned down.