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Anti-quota protests flare up; Police, medicos clash

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, Aug 24: With the Government proposing to table the OBC quota bill in Parliament tomorrow, anti-quota protests flared up again in the capital as medicos and students clashed with police near the Supreme Court during a demonstration.

Police used water cannon and teargas shells to disperse scores of demonstrators as they were trying to form a ''human chain'' near the court and submit a memorandum to the court registrar.

Several protestors were detained and some sustained injuries during the protest against the Government's move to implement OBC quota in institutes of higher education.

Angry students and residents doctors, raising anti-government, anti-reservation and anti-Arjun Singh slogans and carrying flags, held demonstrations near India Gate.

While the protestors were trying to move towards the Supreme Court, where prohibitory orders are in place, Rapid Action Force and Delhi police stopped them.

The doctors and students have threatened to go strike from tomorrow if the bill is tabled.

''Strike is the last option but if the government forces us we will take that step also,'' Youth for Equality leader Anirudh Lochan said.

He said the representatives of protestors only wanted to submit the memorandum to the court, appealing for its intervention and stopping the bill from being tabled.

Students of Maulana Azad Medical College (MAMC), AIIMS and University College of Medical Sciences boycotted classes and duties while the resident doctors from AIIMS, MAMC and Hindu Rao Hospital went on mass casual leave in protest against the government's decision.

Essential services, including emergency, are functioning normally. However, services in the OPD are being manned by senior faculty members.

Students from Delhi University, JNU, IP University, IIT and IIM also participated in the protest.

The medicos and students were back to the streets in protest over the same issue within almost three months of the 20-day strike in May when Supreme Court had asked them to call off their agitation.

AIIMS RDA president and Youth For Equality leader Binod Patra told UNI, ''The students and doctors have taken a pledge never to vote for the Congress.'' ''We want to know from this government on what basis is reservation being implemented.... Who will benefit from this quota-- the creamy layer or the economically backward?'' he said.

Yesterday, the residents and medical students observed a black day in protest against the decision.

The AIIMS RDA President said the Government had taken the decision despite the matter being sub judice.

''We fail to understand why the Government was in such a rush to implement this decision...the matter is still pending in court,'' he added.

The Union Cabinet on Monday night decided to introduce the OBC quota Bill in the ongoing monsoon session of Parliament which ends on August 25.

On Tuesday the doctors and medical students, from all medical colleges in the capital, held a protest rally at Jantar Mantar during which they clashed with police when they were trying to march towards Congress President Sonia Gandhi's 10, Janpath residence to submit a memorandum.

Police used water canon and lobbed teargas shells to stop the protestors, including students from Delhi University, JNU, and IP university from breaking the security cordon.

Agitated protestors sought details from the government on the issue.


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