M A I N   N E W S

Arjun promises wider debate on quota issue
Medicos suspend strike till May 12
Smriti Kak Ramachandran
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 27
The decision to suspend the strike till May 12, was far from unanimous, but following the HRD Minister’s assurance of further discussion on the issue of reservation for OBCs, students of five medical colleges decided to call off their agitation.

They will however continue to boycott their classes in the interim. They will go for their rounds and clinics, but will not attend classes till the government comes clean on the issue of reservation, it was mentioned.

After their meeting with Union HRD Minister Arjun Singh on Thursday afternoon, representatives from five medical colleges decided to give the government more time to thrash out the contentious issue.

This decision however led to a ruckus with a sizeable section of students expressing their disagreement.

A heated deliberation ensued and it took these five representatives a while to bring about a consensus. The students; have now decided to wait till the counting for Assembly elections are over on May 12 and then, depending on the government’s response, decide their next move.

During his interaction with the students’ representatives, Mr Arjun Singh expressed his inability to discuss the issue. Expressing his concern over the police excesses on the students which was carried out yesterday, the Minister said he would take up the matter once the Assembly elections are over.

The Minister told the students that he would take up the issue with the Prime Minister and the Cabinet and a wider debate will be initiated to study the proposal of reservation for OBCs.

In a statement issued here the Minister said: “Unfortunately, because of the directions of the Election Commission I am not in a position to interact with them and I have to maintain silence till the elections are over. Still if anybody wants to meet me I have no hesitation to meet them as may be requested.”

He also pointed out to the students that announcements or public statements expected to affect voter behaviour are forbidden during elections by the Election Commission through a code of conduct.

Protesting against the reservation policy, medical students had announced an indefinite strike. Resident doctors in the city’s hospitals today stayed away from work to express their solidarity with the students. OPD services in most hospitals were severely affected and some students also boycotted their examinations.

“We have received tremendous support from our colleagues in medical colleges in Amritsar, Chandigarh, Patiala, Jaipur and Rohtak, apart from students in IIT Delhi, JNU and Delhi University. We will continue to protest against the reservation policy though it will be at a smaller level. If the government does not come up with a concrete plan after May 12, we will then resort to a major strike,” said Dr Anirudh Lochan, a representative

The Indian Medical Association also expressed concern over the quota system in professional colleges and announced that the 31 medical associations across the country will meet in Delhi on April 30 to chalk out their future strategy.

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