Professionals and students continue strike in New Delhi

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Sunday, May 21, 2006

New Delhi — Almost 10,000 people marched to Jantar Mantar from Maulana Azad Medical College in an anti-reservation rally on Saturday. Doctors and medical students say they will continue to strike and protest, despite an appeal from the prime minister to call off their agitation.

Students from Delhi University and medical colleges around the capital, parents, lawyers, and accountants joined the striking medicos, under the banner of ‘Youth for Equality’.

The students and their supporters want total rollback of a proposed quota-hike for Other Backward Classes (OBCs) in elite educational institutions, and a review of the present reservation policy. "There are very less seats in the post-graduate streams compared to the undergraduate courses. Hence the reservation move will affect the future of majority students," said student leader Praful Raj.

The students have support from many groups. They were led by the Youth for Equality, an AIIMS initiative, while United Students, a DU and JNU group, IIT alumni, RWAs (under the banner of United Residents Joint Action), Resident Doctors Associations from various government and private hospitals, Chartered Accountant’s Association, students from private universities like IP, and parents of agitating students also joined in.

Students from medical colleges in Rajasthan, Orissa, Gujarat, Punjab and Karnataka also took part in the rally. Students and doctors say the government has showed "scant regard to the sentiments of the students", who have been protesting the proposed quota-hike for OBCs in elite educational institutions.

The students had appealed to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to set up a non-political judicial committee to review the existing reservation policy and sought an audience with him to discuss the issue.

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