April 5, 2006: The HRD minister Arjun Singh lets it out in the media that the govt. proposes to introduce reservations for OBC’s by 27% in central universities, including IITs, IIMs, AIIMS, Delhi University, and many others.
Many of us on learning about this, must have felt a combination of grief, distrust, anger and betrayal. Many of us must felt cynical and dismissed it as yet another gimmick by yet another political party to garner votes.
However a group of Students in UCMS (University College of Medical Sciences) held a small meeting at the boy’s hostel, to ponder over the situation. It was decided to create a forum which was tentatively named ‘Youth for Equality’.
The same day, they then went to the people with whom they were most familiar, their friends in the 4 other Medical colleges of Delhi. All of them showed a similar feeling of resentment towards this
reservation policy and the determination to do something
about it. Without any hesitation they immediately joined in.
Thus Youth for Equality was born with Students of UCMS, AIIMS, LHMC (Lady Hardinge Medical College), VMMC (Vardhman Mahavir Medical College) and MAMC (Maulana Azad Medical College) as its founding members.
Though at that time, we were probably driven by the idealism, passion and courage of youth, no one thought that we would one day be a nation-wide movement. The credit for that cannot go to us, or any single entity, but to every single person who supports us.
Since then we have been joined not only by the Medical fraternity of India at large, but also the IITs (who infact helped us develop this website), IIMs, science/art/law/engineering colleges all over India. Also parents, resident welfare associations and corporate bodies.
- 17th April – BLACK DAY held in all Delhi medical colleges to show solidarity on the issue.
- 19th April – Demonstration held at Raj Ghat. Over 700 medical students join in.
- 26th April – A peaceful protest was to be held in front of HRD minister’s residence. Our buses were hijacked and taken to Jantar Mantar. AIIMS and UCMS managed to reach Tughlaq Road, but were carted off to Jantar Mantar after few hours. We waited at Jantar Mantar and gave a deadline to HRD minister to come and meet us. Deadline is not met and the students then marched peacefully on Janpath. Students are barricaded, water cannoned and tear gased. Event is covered prominently on major TV channels and print media.
- 27th April – Demonstration at INDIA GATE. HRD minister invites our representatives to talk. 5 representatives meet him. The minister delays his comments till state elections are over. The strike by students continues, though Interns and residents return to duties.
- 28th April – The fire has spread across the nation. Demonstrations in Bangalore, Amritsar,Ludhiana and Rajkot. Meanwhile students continue with demonstrations at India gate.
- 28th April – Press conference at AIIMS on behalf of Youth for equality. Youth for Equality appeals to all colleges in India to have peaceful protests in their respective cities, and support the cause.
- 2nd May – A HUGE MARCH from MAMC to Parliament Street. Students from engineering colleges,Delhi University,I.P. university, school students and even general public joined us in our protest. A signature campaign was launched on a 50 metre long paper roll which was spread out on parliament street.
- 12th May – Close to a thousand students gathered at LHMC at 9 in the morning to continue their protests against extension of reservations. After learning that our “Hon’ble(?)” HRD Minister has refused to comment on the issue even after the elections were over, the students decided spontaneously to start a march. The students rushed out of the Gates of LHMC, dodging the police and RAF deployment and blocked the Connaught Place at several places. Then the students proceeded towards the historic India Gate lawns, dodging thousands of policemen and RAF deployed along the route. After Running for about twelve kilometres, the students managed to reach within half a kilometre of the corridors of power (North & South Blocks, & Rashtrapati Bhawan). There we sat down on the historic Rajpath to wait for a reply from the government. But then…
- 13th May – MUMBAI: Peacefully protesting Students beaten up by police….SHAME! SHAME! We all know what happened at Mumbai on 13th May. We saw it on our TV sets, read it in the papers, heard it on radio. We are all deeply anguished and our blood boiled when we saw scenes of how the Mumbai students were being beaten up.The government had displayed its total apathy on the issue. It had been over 2 days after the election commission’s restrictions were over and we were yet to hear an answer.
- 13TH May – Medicos go on strike under the banner “Youth for Equality”
- 14th May – Indefinite strike announced by all Resident Doctors Associations of Delhi. ALSO IMA (Indian Medical Association) both DELHI and MUMBAI chapters called for a 24 hour strike on 15th May. They asked both Govt and Private doctors to join the strike. We thank the IMA for their support.
– Medical students of Delhi went on indefinite hunger strike at AIIMS.
– The hunger strike has been joined by students of IIT and DU among others.
– We were joined by various organisations and students all across India, and the movement against reservations and populist policies grew in strength with each passing day.
- 19th May – During the countrywide agitation the Government under pressure from students and people from all sections of society agreed to talk with the agitating students., First a three members committee comprising three senior cabinet ministers Shri Pranab Mukherjee, Shri P. Chidambaram and Shri Arjun Singh and then Dr. Manmohan S ingh talked to the representatives of Youth For Equality. Youth For Equality representative placed the Charter of Demands before the Government. Read charter of demands.
- 22nd May – The Hon’ble Defense Minister in an official meeting assured that the general category seats in any particular institute shall not be reduced and quota shall be implemented in a phased manner as and when seats increase. He declined to address the main issue of formation of an expert commission for review of the whole reservation policy.
- 23rd May – The UPA government had a meeting with the left parties and a politically motivated press release issued. Which stated that the percentage of reservation of reservation for OBC was fixed at 27% and that it would be implemented from the academic session 2007 in one go. The statement only mentioned about setting up of an Oversight Committee for the implementation of the scheme and not for a complete review of the whole reservation policy as demanded. Read UPA Press release
- 26th May – Negotiations held at the highest level with the Prime Minister who assured (verbally) that there would not be any reduction in the number of general category seats in each institute and reservation for OBCs in higher institutions would not be implemented till such increase in total seats was not carried out.. He also said that he would look into the setting up of the expert commission.
A purported, unsigned and undated statement was given to the students on behalf of the Government of India by the Health Secretary which did not address any of the demands of students and medicos. Read Government of letter
- 27th May – Despite the assurances of the Prime Minister, the HRD Minister announced that the policy for reservation for OBCs in higher education etc would l be implemented w.e.f. academic year 2007 and would not be in graded manner. He declined the set up of the expert commission.
– After this announcement by HRD Minister, the Government (i.e. Health Secretary) announced that he has written letters to some institutes to ascertain as to whether they can increase the seats so that general category seats were not reduced. This information was sought from these institutes till 15.6.2006.
– Organizations from all over the country conducted a huge rally in the Ram Leele Maidan, Delhi and extended whole hearted and wholesome support to the cause to fight against ‘ caste based’ reservations which have caused serious conflicts in the society.
- 28th May – The Government vaguely assured to the Student community of India in general and to the medical student community of India in particular that the charter of demand supplied by the students will get attention acceptable to the students. But the Government never considered dropping the reservation proposal till a consensus arrives. An unsigned paper was handed over to the medical students by the Health Secretary. Read more€¦Treason, deception, treachery and caste politics greeted the student community of India, courtesy the UPA Government. The student community rejected the Government’s assurance and the talks approached a dead end,. Read why Government’s assurances were rejected?
- 29th May – The highest court of the Country intervened and directed the medicos to call of the strike. At the same time the Court candidly asked the Government :
- What is the basis for the determination/classification as to who belongs to “Other Backward Class”,
- The Modalities to be adopted for implementation of the policy in question.