M A I N   N E W S

Govt agrees to examine students’ demand
Agitators not to call off stir
Tripti Nath
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 28
The government tonight agreed to examine the students demand to set up an expert committee to review the reservation policy.

The students, however, are not satisfied with the government’s half-baked proposals on the issue handed over to them by Union Minister Oscar Fernandes and have decided not to call off their fortnight-long agitation.

The decision to examine the demand to set up an expert committee was taken after a nearly four-hour-long meeting in South Bloc between the government and representatives of agitating students and doctors this morning and another meeting with Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh in the evening.

The government has clearly acted under pressure from various quarters as the situation is getting out of control. Representatives of agitating students insisted this morning on a formal assurance on their demands from the Prime Minister, failing which they said they would intensify their agitation.

The condition of the student who attempted immolation during a rally in Delhi yesterday is reported to be critical. One-third of medical colleges in the country have joined the anti- reservation stir that now has support from various quarters.

The Faculty Association of the Lady Hardinge Medical College has announced a daylong mass casual leave on tomorrow. Two representatives of the Youth For Equality, Dr Safal and Dr Neha, went to Shram Shakti Bhawan to receive the draft proposal from Mr Oscar Fernandes after the agitating doctors got a call from Mr Fernandes’ office.

Safmit Sarangi, an undergraduate student at the AIIMS and representative of Youth for Equality spearheading the stir said that the mood among the students was not very positive. “We are definitely not calling off the strike. We sought a clarification on our demands. Instead of making any concrete statement, they have handed over a document that is not satisfactory. After so many days, if the government can only manage a half-baked proposal, it speak volumes of its intentions. The attitude of the government is inexplicable. Our dialogue with the government remains inconclusive. We are not rejecting the proposal outright but it is certainly not satisfactory.’’

In another decision, the government appointed Mr Verappy Moily, Chairman of the Administrative Reforms Commission, as head the committee that will make specific recommendations for expanding and providing facilities to enhance opportunities for higher education institutions, including medical institutions.

The decision to set up the committee was taken at a meeting of the UPA-Left coordination committee on May 23.

Meanwhile, Mr Oscar Fernandes told mediapersons that the students would come back to them after discussing the draft. “We have made considerable effort to meet all the points. We hope that they will consider it favourably,’’ he said.

At their meeting with the government this morning, the representatives of agitating students and doctors had insisted on a formal assurance by the Prime Minister on their demands, the most important being the setting up of a non-political judicial commission.

Dr Binod Patro, president of the Resident Doctors’ Association of AIIMS and leader of Youth For Equality told TNS that they would decide their next move after examining the proposal of the government.


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