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Govt committee not enough: Quota protestors

Source: PTI
May 18, 2006 14:15 IST
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Resident doctors of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences began a one-day hunger strike to express solidarity with medical students fasting indefinitely in protest against the government's proposal to reserve 27 per cent of seats in central educational institutions for the backward classes.

"Resident doctors are beginning a one-day hunger strike in support of students who are already on an indefinite hunger strike", vice president of the AIIMS Resident Doctors' Association Dr Subrato Mandal said.

He said the decision was taken at a General Body meeting on Wednesday night.

"Private doctors are also joining us here for a relay hunger strike."

The RDA said non-medicos from JNU and DU have also extended support to their agitation and were joining them at the institute.

The government has meanwhile issued notices to striking medicos and have claimed that several of the doctors have resumed duties.

Meanwhile, the resident doctors met Union Defence Minister Pranab Mukerjee on Wednesday and presented their charter of demands. The minister assured them that the government would meet them again on the issue. "We are trying to fix an appointment today," Mandal said.

Doctors of Safdarjung Hospital said they expected to be served notices on Wednesday and would act accordingly after receiving the same.

Dr N K Chaturvedi, Medical Superintendent of RML hospital said "health services are running fine, OPDs functioning and operations are going on," in his hospital, adding, "CGHS doctors and two railway doctors have also been roped in to help the hospital."

Meanwhile, not satisfied with the government's decision to set up a three-member ministerial committee to look into the quota issue, striking medical students and resident doctors will take out a march to press for their demands.

The agitating doctors from MCD hospitals are organising a march from Red Fort to Raj Ghat which will be joined by the doctors from other state-run hospitals and medical students, said Amitasha Sinha, a student representative from Lady Hardinge Medical College.

While the talks between the protesting students and Union Minister Oscar Fernandes on the issue remained inconclusive, the protestors said they were far from satisfied with the government move to set up a three-member ministerial committee to resolve the issue.

"We wanted a judicial committee to look into the issue. The political class has already cleared the proposal in Parliament, so what is the point in setting up a committee of three politicians to look into the issue," said Jitin Jaipuria of Delhi Medical Students Association.

Meanwhile, the indefinite hunger strike by medical students of the capital continued even as 15 of the protestors fainted on Wednesday on the fourth day of the fasting and had to be hospitalised.

"At least 15 of the students collapsed yesterday. The sugar levels of the students have dipped drastically as a result of the fasting, but we will continue with our hunger strike," Jaipuria said.

While there were around 100 students on hunger strike to begin with, now just about 30 are continuing with it.

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