President of India A P J Abdul Kalam on Wednesday advised the striking doctors to end their fast and return to their normal duties.
Coverage: The Reservation Issue
Two groups of students from various universities had called on Kalam to convey their disappointment at the manner in which the Manmohan Singh government had responded on the reservation issue and hurriedly announced the implementation of 27 per cent reservation for the Other Backward Classes with effect from next academic year.
"The President explained to them that the government after considerable deliberations had decided that legislation will be brought before Parliament in the Monsoon session providing for implementation of reservations for OBCs in educational institutions under the purview of the Central government and that this would be effective from June 2007," a press note issued by the Rashtrapati Bhavan said.
"The President on his part assured the students that the number of seats in educational institutions will be increased and the Oversight Committee set up for this purpose will draw the action plan within the stipulated time. The President made the students understand that every life is precious and that parents pin a lot of hopes on them to fulfill their educational pursuits and be gainfully employed," the note said.
"Urging the students to respect the sentiments of their parents, the President requested the student community particularly the fasting students to come out from their fasting mode and resume normal student life," it added.
The protesting students however, turned down Kalam's plea and stuck to their demand for setting up of 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 pm on Thursday.
Backed by Delhi Medical Association and Indian Medical Association, it also announced a 'Delhi Chalo' rally on May 28.
The striking doctors tried to prevent the recruitment drive by the government to replace them. Interviews at Safdarjung Hospital were postponed even as the government move to evict 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.
With PTI inputs