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President Kalam Meets Striking Medicos However Stir to Continue

New Delhi, May 25: President A P J Abdul Kalam today met representatives of the striking medicos but the meeting //could not break the impasse with the students and doctors deciding to continue with their agitation.

A 12-member delegation of agitating medicos, which also included members of AIIMS Faculty Association who have been supporting the anti-quota stir, had a 45-minute meeting with Kalam. The medicos presented a charter of demands to Kalam.

We respect President's appeal to those in hunger strike to call of the strike. But, we are not satisfied,' Dr Vinod Patro, President of the AIIMS's Resident Doctors Association and member of the 'Youth for Equality', the group which is spearheading the ongoing agitation, said after the meeting.

The doctors, who had been seeking Kalam's intervention on the quota issue, said 'our movement continues.' Kalam has assured the medicos that he would ensure what government has said was implemented. The Government has declared that the number of general category seats would not be affected with implementation of the quota for the Other Backward Classes (OBCs).

However, the talks were stuck on the issue of setting up of a non-political commission to examine the reservation policy and exclusion of creamy layer from the OBC quota, the doctors said.

Dr A B Dey from the AIIMS Faculty Association, who was also part of the delegation, said doctors were not against reservation but it should be 'scientific and evidence based.'

'We want the government to develop some middle ground to resolve the imbroglio,' Dr Manoj Singh, an AIIMS faculty member, said.

The charter of demands included exclusion of creamy layer from reservation, inclusion of reservation for poor background students who are not part of any reservation category in the proposed 27 per cent quota and setting up of a non-political commission to review the extension of reservation policy.

'The commission should come up with a fool proof and time-bound strategy to uplift and empower the backward sections of our country without interfering with the overall development and well-being of our nation,'the charter of demands says.

The medicos are also demanding a white paper on the reservation policy and implementation of the proposed extended reservation policy and any other new reservation policy only after the commission had submitted its report.

They have also asked for increase in number of seats in institutes only after proper infrastructure is developed and that number of seats in open merit should always remain at least 50.5 per cent inclusive of all other reservations and quotas.

The agitating doctors have demanded that no action of any nature should be taken against students, interns, doctors and others who participated in the agitation.

Meanwhile the health services were completely paralyzed in Himachal Pradesh as doctors of government hospitals and ayurvedic doctors and veterinary doctors joined the strike against reservation to OBCs in response to the all India medical bandh call given by Indian Medical Association.

The Prime Minister meanwhile has said that he is willing to meet the striking medicos but as far as the debate on quota implementation is concerned – the topic is closed. According to him the decision of implementation is being done after discussing it in the Indian Parliament.

With both sides stuck on the issue there looks no immediate solution to the problem. The country seems to be divided on the issue.
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