Junior doctors join anti-quota stir; services hit
New Delhi, May 12: Medical services in hospitals across the city, including AIIMS, were severely hit today as junior and resident doctors joined agitating medical students opposing the 27 per cent OBC quota in centres of higher educational institutions.
Patients were being sent back even from the Emergency units as the doctors of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Guru Tegh Bahadur, Sucheta Kripalani and Lok Nayak Jaiprakash Narain Hospitals went on strike, union leader Anurag Mishra of the LNJP hospital said.
The decision was taken in the wake of a mass protest by medical students here against the Government's quota move.
''All the operations have been affected. Even the emergency services. The Government so far failed to take note of our demand .... we have been forced to take this step,'' he added.
Reviving their protest against the Government's proposal, hundreds of medical students marched towards the Prime Minister's office today, halting noon hour traffic in Central Delhi and forcing police to use water cannons and teargas shells.
Surrounded by riot police, the students blocked traffic on the Rajpath when stopped from progressing towards the PM's North Block office. Soon, they were bundled into 13 police buses and taken to the Connaught Place, Chanakya Puri and Tughlaq Road police stations.
''Arjun Singh Down, Down'', they shouted in unison against the Union Human Resources Minister as police aimed the water cannons at them. Later, police also lobbed teargas shells to push them back.
A police spokesman said nearly a dozen policemen were injured and taken to hospital due to ''violence indulged in by the students''. According to Amitasha Sinha of Lady Hardinge Medical College, 20 students were injured when police rained lathis at them.
''The Prime Minister and the Government is not bothered about the issues we have raised. They have failed to respond to our demand...
we are forced to take the agitation to next level,'' AIIMS Students' Union spokesperson Sasmit Sarangi said.
He said since all talks and negotiations with the Government had failed the students were not left with any other option but to ''intensify the struggle''.
The ''apathy'' of the Government id not acceptable to the students, he added.
The protest near India Gate was staged at the end of a march from Lady Hardinge Medical College through the central business district of Connaught Place. Traffic on the route was thrown off gear because of the protest.
Since the Assembly elections are over and the election code does not apply any longer, the Prime Minister and Mr Arjun Singh should make their stand clear on the reservation issue, they said, reiterating their point that the quota move was anti-merit and would push back India's development.
Students from Delhi's five medical colleges, under the banner of 'Youth for Equality', with support from United Students', Youth for Justice and other organisations, have been agitating since April 27.
They have also been boycotting lectures.
Representatives of the medical students -- from Maulana Azad Medical College, Lady Hardinge Medical College, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, University College of Medical Sciences and Vardhaman Mahavir Medical College -- had met Mr Arjun Singh on April 27. According to the agitating students, he had declined to discuss the issue untill after the elections at the meeting.
A day earlier, on April 26, the students had clashed with police when stopped from reaching the Minister's bunglow enmasse to petition him against the Government move.