Quota issue: Anti-reservationists seek PM's comment
New Delhi, May 10: Students opposed to a further 27 per cent reservation in centres of higher learning today called upon Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to break his silence on the issue which is agitating public mind and has sparked protests.
''It is unfortunate that Dr Singh has not said a word on the issue even after two weeks of protests'', AIIMS Students' Union spokesperson Sasmit Sarangi said here.
Human Resources Development Minister Arjun Singh also had indicated earlier that he was unable to comment on the issue in view of the ongoing elections. ''With elections now over, the government should state out its point of view'', Sarangi told a news conference.
Agitating students from Delhi's five medical colleges as well as United Students' of Delhi University have sought an appointment with the Prime Minister to air their grievances over the government move.
Meanwhile, hundreds of people assembled at the Jantar Mantar here to denounce those protesting the government proposal. ''If the Government dithers on introducing the quota, then we will organise nation-wide protests and agitations,'' Udit Raj of the Indian Justice Party told a meeting of the Pro-Reservation Front.
Doctors who protested with brooms in their hands betrayed the mindset that sweeping is not a respectable job and is meant for those from the backward classes. If merit was the criteria for admissions, then why anyone does not protest against capitation fees that are paid to gain admission to medical and engineering colleges, he asked.
He said the Knowledge Commission headed by Sam Pitroda -- which had opposed the reservation move -- should be dismantled immediately.
The Commission's stand betrayed the fact that a majority of its members live divorced from grassroot realities, discriminations and problems that stare millions at the village level. Having bookish knowledge and plethora of references does not entitle them to lead such a Commission, he added.
Besides the All India Confederation of SC/ST Organisations, the Yadav Mahasabha, the Kisan Manch, the All India Christian Council, the Dehat Morcha, the Yuva Bharat, the Backward Classes Vikas Manch, the Prajapati Mahasabha, the Gurjar Mahasabha, the OBC Railway Employees' Federation and All India Backward Classes Confederation are part of the Pro-Reservation Front.