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Anti-quota stir suspended till winter session of Parliament

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, Aug 25 (UNI) As the OBC quota Bill was referred to the Standing Committee of Parliament for screening, the anti-reservation protests in the capital were suspended till the Winter Session of Parliament.

The Youth for Equality (YEF), which is spearheading the anti- quota stir, said the move was a ''victory'' for anti-reservation activists and they were hopeful that their concerns will be addressed.

''It is a moral victory for us. We are suspending our protests with immediate effect... Doctors and students of AIIMS are back to work with immediate effect,'' AIIMS Resident Doctors' Association President and Youth for Equality leader Binod Patra said.

Students of Maulana Azad Medical College (MAMC), AIIMS and University College of Medical Sciences had boycotted classes and duties while the resident doctors from AIIMS and MAMC were on a mass casual leave since yesterday morning.

Dr Patra said the agitation will remain suspended till November end, when the Winter Session begins, and they will try to mobilise support from across the political spectrum as well as the general public.

''We want to include people from all sections of society in the agitation. People from all sections should come and join the debate on what purpose has reservation served India's progress. We want this to be a broad-based forum,'' he said.

Dr Patra said the merits and drawbacks of the reservation policy of the government should be examined.

''Why is the government not making primary free for all and ensuring that all sections of the society get education,'' he added.

Earlier, scores of anti-government, anti-Arjun Singh and anti-reservation slogan-shouting students and medicos were detained during a protest march to Parliament that stalled traffic in central Delhi even as the controversial reservation bill was tabled in Parliament.

The anti-reservation activists, including students of medical colleges, IIT, and various universities, and resident doctors from across the city took out a protest rally from Jantar Mantar under the watchful eyes of police and RAF jawans, deployed in strength.

Police moved in and bundled scores of activists, including women, into buses as they blocked traffic on Janpath. The rally also disrupted traffic movement in the central business district of Connaught Place.

Angry protestors broke the window panes of the police buses even as they were detained.

Essential services, including emergency in AIIMS had functioned normally. But OPD services were affected with patients having to wait in long queues for their turn.

Dr Patra said the AIIMS resident doctors will work for an extra hour daily till the back log cleared.

''We will ensure that the back log is cleared. Patients shoulf not suffer and we will work towards that,'' he added.

Several anti-reservation protestors were injured and scores detained during a demonstration in the capital yesterday as police used water cannon and teargas to stop them from marching towards the Supreme Court.

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.

Similar clashes were witnessed during a protest rally on Tuesday near Jantar Mantar.

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

The government had assured them that their concerns regarding OBC reservation will be addressed.


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