17. Dec, 2006.
Reservation : All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS)
NEW DELHI: Reservation woes are back at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), but other medical colleges in the city refrained from the vehement protests that happened in May this year when the quota proposal was first mooted. 

Any kind of strike or ceasework has been ruled out for the moment "in the interest of the patients" a welcome change from the earlier stir when doctors at AIIMS had gone on a 19-day strike. 

Twenty resident doctors and research scholars of the institute office- bearers of the Resident Doctors'Association and the Society of Young Scientists are on an indefinite hunger strike to protest against the Central Educational Institutions (Reservations in Admissions) Bill, 2006, which was passed in the Lok Sabha on Thursday. All of them reported for their duties on Friday. 

The decision to keep medical services normal in AIIMS was reiterated in a general body meeting on Friday evening, which was attended by about 100 doctors. 

Though RDA members at AIIMS have been in touch with their counterparts elsewhere, till late on Friday, RDAs of Ram Manohar Lohia, Safdarjung and Maulana Azad Medical College remained undecided about what course to take. RML and Safdarjung are due to have their respective RDA meetings on Saturday. 

Dr Apoorv Mehra, general secretary of the RDA at Guru Tegh Bahadur Hospital said: "We had a meeting but we did not think it practical to go on a hunger strike the way they have done in AIIMS. 

We might do something in the nature of a mass casual leave but that is uncertain as yet."RDA president of MAMC Dr Jitender said that strike is the last option and for the moment they would contact medicos and students across the country so that any kind of movement has a wider base. 

Talking about their decision to go on a hunger strike, Dr Kumar Harsh, president of the AIIMS RDA, said: "We have full faith in the Supreme Court but in this case the government did not even take into account SC's views and dispensed with the caste-based census they had asked for. 

The views of its own Moily Committee or the Parliamentary standing committee too were overruled. How can such an important decision be taken through voice vote?" 

Countering the common perception that it may be a little too late in the day for an anti-quota stir, Dr Arnab Pal, RDA vice-president said: "This is our way of creating awareness. The Bill still needs to be passed in the Rajya Sabha and if, before that happens, people come out on the streets to protest instead of limiting their anti-quota discussions in their drawing rooms, I am sure we can still make a difference." 

Both stressed that the fight is not against reservation per se but specifically against caste-based reservation. 

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