M A I N   N E W S

Students take to streets against quota
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 2
It took a narrow road divider and a wall of police personnel to maintain peace as two groups, one for and the other against reservation, converged on to the streets in the National Capital today, opting to raise their voice from the same place at the same time.

As hundreds of students from five medical colleges along with their counterparts from other higher educational institutions, protesting near Jantar Mantar, threatened to boycott the Congress for its proposed reservation, a small but significant number of pro-reservationists choose the spot to highlight the need for quotas.

Accusing the Congress of “playing vote bank politics”, the protesting students took a pledge to “not vote for the Congress in any election”.

“If they can play vote-politics then we will respond in the same language. We are taking a pledge that we will not vote for the Congress if it pushes for reservation,” said Mr Sasmit Sarangi, a member of the Youth for Equality.

Students under the banner of the Youth for Equality began peaceful march at Maulana Azad Medical College and walked their way to Parliament Street from where they were escorted to submit a memorandum to the Prime Minister. They also submitted signatures on a 50-meters long scroll to the Prime Minister.

“We are not against reservation; we are against reservation at the wrong places. If you want to help the backward then give them reservation at the primary level and even at the undergraduate level. But once they come to the postgraduate level, let them compete,” said Azeez Narain, a student of the Delhi College of Engineering.

His colleague, Nikhil Gupta, a final year Computer Engineering student added that the government’s proposal to have reservations in the private sector had compounded their worry. “You cannot promote someone at the cost of others,” Narain said.

Today’s march was in keeping with the call for a nationwide protest against reservation. “We are getting a positive feedback from the students in other states as well. Protest marches are being organised elsewhere also. Resident doctors and faculty members in some hospital like Safdurjung are wearing black flags to show solidarity with us,” said Ritin, a representative from Vardhaman Medical College.

Meanwhile, the pro-reservation activists, including members of the Justice Party, under the banner of the All India Minorities Front, criticised the protest against quotas. They said those who were objecting to reservation were the ones who were insensitive to the social injustice being faced by backward classes.

“The backward classes comprise of more than 70 per cent of the population and a mere 50 per cent reservation for them amounts to nothing. Where is the need for so much fuss,” questioned an activist.

This explanation notwithstanding, students have indicated that they will not only keep up the pressure till May 12, but will intensify their struggle should the government fail to meet their demand.


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