New Delhi, May 2 (UNI) Students from Delhi's five medical colleges, along with those from the Delhi University and Engineering colleges today protested the government move to provide reservation in Central varsities and institutions of higher education, Raising anti-government, anti-Arjun Singh slogans, the students marched to Jantar Mantar after gathering at Maulana Azad Medical College near ITO here, where pro-reservation agitators confronted them with high-decibel slogans and loud protests.
However, due to heavy police bandobust no untoward incident took place.
Student leaders under the 'Youth for Equality' banner later told media that on May 12, medical students from all over India would gather in Delhi for a ''mass rally'' to highlight the issue.
''At the May 12 conclave' we would decide the future course of action after petitioning the government on our demands and the disastrous consequences of the 'reservation move','' said Vishal Sharma, student leader of the University College of Medical Sciences (UCMS).
Sharad Sharma of the I P University said, the 'April 30-May 5' agitation would culminate with a demonstration at India Gate on May five. ''The following day, we will launch a signature campaign at India Gate and involve tourists in it to seek their cooperation, which would give the campaign a national flavour.'' Then that signed poster would be submitted to Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her intervention into the matter sought, he added.
A batch of OBC students also joined the protest while stressing the need to provide economic benefits for students and reserving seats upto the secondary/senior secondary level and not in institutions of higher education.
''If the government was really serious about the welfare of the backward classes it should work at the grassroots level. How can the government think of giving reservation unless they are able to reach the college level. The benefit should be at the lower level,'' said Paridhi of I P College.
Later the students, who hailed from AIIMS, Maulana Azad Medical College, University College of Medical Sciences, Lady Hardinge Medical College and Vardhman Mahavir Medical College and numbering more than a thousand, pledged to neither ''vote or support'' any party which talked about reservations.
Demanding that the proposed move on reservation in IITs, IIMs, Central universities and institutes of higher education be scrapped if the country was not to be brought to the brink of another bout 'Mandal days', when students were forced to commit suicide for their 'just rights', they said this 'Mandal II' was a reminder of the colonial practice of ''divide and rule''.
The agitators besides staging 'nukkad nataks' (small skits) to highlight the ills of reservation, also began a signature campaign on a 25-metre long banner before dispersing after nearly two hours of assembling at the Parliament Street.
Students from the Delhi College of Engineering, Kamla Nehru College, Ramjas College and I P University Journalism students joined the protest march.
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