//Anti-quota stir lacks steam in UP

Anti-quota stir lacks steam in UP

  Sunday, May 14, 2006 01:39:40 amTIMES NEWS NETWORK ]

LUCKNOW: The call for a nation-wide strike given by the Indian Medical Association (IMA), New Delhi, against reservation may not get much support in Uttar Pradesh.

While the UP chapter of the association is yet to decide over the proposed strike, the medical fraternity is divided over the issue. Moreover, the medical students are hardly in a mood to launch an agitation.

The IMA has given a call for a strike in Delhi on May 15 and a nation-wide strike on May 25 in protest against the Friday's police cane charge on medical students in Delhi, who were demonstrating against Central government's move to introduce 27 per cent Other Backward Classes (OBCs) quota in admissions to medical colleges.

Though pictures of medical students in New Delhi braving water cannons and police 'lathis' evoked anguish among teachers and students in King George's Medical University (KGMU) here in the city, the sentiments were not so strong to force them to take to streets.

One may find a section of students and teachers speaking against quota politics, but their voices do not get the majority support. Similar situation prevails in other state medical colleges.

One major factor behind their lack of interest could be the fact the strikes in medical colleges here have been banned and resident doctors associations in all the medical colleges dissolved under Essential Services Maintenance Act.

Secondly, the policy of 50 per cent reservation — 23 per cent for Scheduled Caste/Tribe and 27 per cent for Other Backward Classes — in admissions and faculty appointment is already being followed in UP since 1989.

Barring IIT and IIM, almost all the universities and education institutions in the state follow reservation quota. With various campuses already having more than 50 per cent reserved category students and teachers, the anti-reservation protests are unlikely to take off.

"Although it is unfortunate to see how merit is being suppressed, I don't foresee any anti-reservation stir taking off in UP because intelligentsia here can never be unanimous over an issue," said Dr BB Maheshwari, president, Indian Association of Clinical Medicine.

Dr Maheshwari is also the former president of UP Medical Teachers Association, which stands dissolved for the last few years.

But he said that situation of medical education in UP is already going from bad to worse because of frequent question paper leakages, manipulation in admissions and lack of infrastructure.

"Reservation has only added to the woes of the bright students," he said. Dr TN Singh, president, IMA, UP, said: "A decision on strike would be taken only after studying the directives of central leadership as and when they arrive and after consulting UPIMA executive members."

Voicing similar sentiments, Prof Rajendra Prasad, president, IMA, Lucknow and head of pulmonary medicine department, KGMU, said: "Reservation is a non-issue in UP as it is being followed for the last 15 years".

Former president, Resident Doctors Association, KGMU, Dr Devashish Shukla, said, "We will not paralyse patient care services at any cost but may wear black badges to protest police atrocities on peaceful demonstration of medical students in Delhi," he said.

Regarding reservation policy, he said, "A certain percentage of seats should also be reserved for the economically weak upper caste candidates," he said.