India Education
MPs protest 'casteism' in AIIMS
Mar 21, 2007 - 4:49:55 PM

New Delhi, March 21 - Several MPs led by veteran Gandhian Nirmala Deshpande Wednesday protested against the 'rampant caste-based discrimination' at the prestigious All India Institute of Medical Sciences - here.

'For the last two years, we have been observing developments in AIIMS and it is shameful to see caste-based discrimination. We are protesting to bring to notice the injustice being done to the scheduled caste students,' said Deshpande, a Rajya Sabha member.

Holding banners like 'MPs against Casteism' and 'Don't insult Constitution: SC/STs are also Indians', five MPs and scores of AIIMS students held a demonstration for over 30 minutes near the institute's main gate.

A.R. Shaheen, a Lok Sabha MP from Jammu and Kashmir, said that AIIMS' authorities should have a unilateral approach towards all students and keep the importance and prestige of the institute intact.

'Some reserved students are being treated badly in their hostel and some resident doctors are not getting due promotion due to this deliberate disparity,' Shaheen pointed out.

Apart from Shaheen and Deshpande, other MPS who participated in the protest included Mangani Lal Mandal, R. Prasad and Praveen Rashtrapal -.

They also circulated a letter signed by 14 MPs, addressed to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, highlighting the plight of some students and residents who belonged to the reserved category.

AIIMS has been mired in controversy for over a year, ever since the central government proposed to reserve 27 percent quota for other backward classes - in institutes of higher learning.

It was also the epicentre of anti-quota agitation that left thousands of patients unattended for over two weeks.

Progressive Medicos and Scientists Forum, a pro-quota lobby in the capital, had earlier written to both the prime minister and the president highlighting the disparity faced by Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe students.

Ajay Kumar Singh, a final year MBBS student at AIIMS, said upper caste professors had deliberately failed him because he was lobbying against discrimination.

'They deliberately failed me to malign my career,' said Singh.

Endorsing Singh's concern, these MPs had written to the prime minister on March 12.

'Mr. Ajay Singh, a good student was deliberately failed because he was opposing caste-based discrimination. The AIIMS governing body ordered re-examination under the supervision of Dean -, with independent observers and different team of examiners. But the director declined to implement the unanimous decision of the governing body and Ajay Singh was again failed by the same set of examiners,' the letter said.

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