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Doctors suspend anti-quota stir for 3 months

Last updated on: August 25, 2006 15:53 IST
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Doctors and medical students on Friday suspended their agitation against the government's decision to introduce reservation for Other Backward Classes in educational institutions, for three months.

A senior resident doctor said the decision came as Parliament's Monsoon Session was concluding on Friday and there was no point in carrying on with the agitation.

The decision was taken in view of the reservation bill being referred to a Parliamentary Standing Committee after being introduced in Lok Sabha. They have decided to move Supreme Court against the proposed law.

"The bill has been referred to a Standing Committee so now it will be taken up only in the Winter Session of Parliament. Hence we have decided to suspend our agitation till then," said Dr Vinod Patra of the AIIMS Resident Doctors Association.

The students, who were demonstrating at Jantar Mantar, announced their decision to suspend the agitation after they got the information that the bill was being referred to a Standing Committee and scenes of jubilation could be witnessed with the medicos describing it as a 'short-term victory' for them.

"We will now try to organise ourselves in a better way, mobilise public opinion in our favour and also explore legal options," Patra said.

He said as soon as they will get a copy of the bill, the medicos will consult lawyers and move the Supreme Court against the proposed legislation.

"Now the battle will not be on the streets. We will fight it out in Supreme Court," he said.

The bill, envisaging 27 percent seat reservation for OBCs during admission in Central educational institutions besides 15 per cent for SCs and 7.5 per cent for STs, was introduced in Lok Sabha. Later, Speaker Somnath Chatterjee said the bill will be referred to the Standing Committee.

Meanwhile, students of the three medical colleges had struck work on Friday and resident doctors from All India Institute of Medical Sciences and Maulana Azad Medical College took mass casual leave for the second successive day.

Anti-reservationists, including students of medical colleges, Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi University, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Indraprastha University, and resident doctors from across the city marched towards Parliament, where the OBC quota bill was tabled on Friday.

Essential services in AIIMS functioned normally on Thursday but OPD services were affected, with patients having to wait in long queues for their turn. Out of the resident doctors on mass leave in AIIMS, 300 remained in the institute to attend the patients.

"We do not want to cause any inconvenience to the patients and that is why 300 resident doctors remained in the institute and attended the patients," he said.

Several anti-reservation protestors were injured and scores detained during a demonstration in the capital on Thursday, as police used water cannon and teargas to stop them from marching towards the Supreme Court. Police used water cannon and teargas shells to disperse scores of demonstrators as they were trying to form a 'human chain' near the court and submit a memorandum to the court registrar.

Angry students and resident doctors, raising anti-government, anti-reservation and anti-Arjun Singh slogans and carrying flags and placards, held demonstrations near India Gate against the Government's move to implement OBC quota in institutes of higher education.

While the protestors, wearing black armbands, were trying to move towards the Supreme Court, where prohibitory orders are in place, Rapid Action Force and Delhi police stopped them. The medicos are back on the streets in protest over the same issue within almost three months of the 20-day strike in May when the Supreme Court had asked them to call off their agitation.

The government had assured them that their concerns regarding OBC reservation will be addressed. The angry medical students and few resident doctors, from all medical colleges across the city, sought details from the government on the implementation of 27 per cent OBC reservation in higher educational institutes.

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