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Agitating students gear to take stir to ''next stage''

By Staff
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New Delhi, May 3: Agitating students from Delhi's five medical colleges, the Delhi University and other institutions are gearing up to take the anti-quota stir to the ''next stage''.

''A meeting is being held with representatives of several organsiations, including the United Students of the Delhi University, to chalk out the future course of action,'' AIIMS Students' Union spokesperson Sasmit Sarangi told UNI.

''We are formulating the strategy for the next stage of the agitation,'' he added.

Mr Sarangi said at present efforts are being made to coordinate with other organisations to make the agitation wider.

Yesterday the students held peaceful demonstrations against the proposal to provide 27 per cent reservation to OBCs in Central Government educational institutions.

They raised anti-government, anti-Arjun Singh slogans and marched to Jantar Mantar after gathering at Maulana Azad Medical College near ITO here.

Student under the 'Youth for Equality' banner later said on May 12, medical students from all over India would gather in Delhi for a ''mass rally'' to highlight the issue.

They will launch a signature campaign on May 6 at India Gate.

The signed poster would be submitted to Congress President Sonia Gandhi and her intervention into the matter sought.

A batch of OBC students also joined the protest while stressing the need to provide economic benefits for students and reserving seats up to the secondary/senior secondary level and not in institutions of higher education.

The students, on an indefinite strike from April 27, have been demanding a rollback of the proposal.

The students of Maulana Azad Medical College, Lady Hardinge Medical College, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, University College of Medical Sciences and Vardhaman Mahavir Medical College have boycotted lectures and stayed away from OPD services.

On April 27, HRD Minister Arjun Singh met representatives of the students but declined to discuss the issue until after elections.

The students decided to continue with the agitation as they were not ''satisfied'' with Mr Singh's response to their demand.

They had sought ''concrete assurance'' from the Minister with regard to the proposal. They demanded that Mr Singh hold consultations with them before the matter reached the Cabinet.

A source said the HRD Minister told the representatives that any decision was not for him alone to make. It would be taken by the Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

On April 26, hundreds of students of medical colleges clashed with the police after it prevented them from 'petitioning' Mr Singh against the reservation policy and road blockade.

The students were tear-gassed and sprayed with water cannons when they blocked traffic on Janpath, near Hotel Le Meridian crossing.

Mild lathicharge was also resorted to in order to break the 'rasta roko', which lasted for more than one-and-a-half hours.

UNI

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