Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Being a part of anti-reservation protest

Friday 13th May 2006- Medical students in Delhi take out a rally protesting against HRD Minister Arjun Singh’s proposal to increase OBC quotas by 27%. They are holding a peaceful march when they are suddenly lathi-charged by the police without prior intimation or any provocation on part of the students. 250 students are arrested and several are injured.

Saturday 14th May 2006- Medical students in Mumbai decide to go on a hunger strike for 24 hours from 13th May 7 pm after receiving news of the lathi-charge against their colleagues in Delhi. They also plan to have a rally on the 14th. The rally begins around 7 am on 14th. It is progressing peacefully when the police lathi-charge them-again without prior intimation or any provocation on part of the students. The stone-hearted police do not spare even the female students and the handicapped students who were a part of the protest.

How could we sit in Pune not doing anything after watching the horrifying scenes of Delhi n Mumbai? We had to do something-this issue was getting out of control.

Sunday 15th May 2006-

Morning: Medical students in Pune decide to have a rally later in the evening. They have applied for police permission on Saturday itself but haven’t yet got it. If they do not get police permission and still decide to have the rally later that evening they risk the chance of being lathi-charged by the police.The atmosphere is full of tension as the students had made up their mind of having the rally with or without police permission come what may. Finally around noon the news trickles in that we have received police permission for the rally.Everyone heaves a sigh of relief. Now the girls can freely join us without being worried of occurrence of any untoward incident.

4:45 pm below Z-bridge: the rally is expected to start any minute. Nearly 500 people have gathered. They represent not only Medical students but also engineering friends who have come to support us. One of the organizing interns speaks to everyone regarding the route of the rally, the slogans we must raise and the decorum we must maintain. Several colleges have come to Pune just for the rally- MIMER Talegaon, KIMS Karad, Rangoonwala dental college Pune, D.Y. Patil college Pimpri and also SIT, Pune. The Indian Medical Association secretary(pune chapter) assures his support to us. The air is full of enthusiasm as we begin the rally with cries of “Arjun Singh hai hai!! We proceed toward Alka talkies and our representatives distribute pamphlets regarding the issue to the common people on the streets. We yell “50% reservation, 100% politics.” And “Voice of new generation, no reservation, no reservation.” We proceed towards Fergusson college road around 6 pm when its brimming with people. We urge them to join us and say in Marathi “Bagtay kai? Shamil wha”(What are u looking at? Join us!!) and to our surprise quite a few people join us. The organizers of the rally-i.e the students of B.J. Medical college Pune had done a fabulous job and had even thought of arranging water for the protesters realizing that they would get tired. We finally turned on to J.M road which was also packed to capacity on the Sunday and had nearly covered 4 kms now but our enthusiasm hadn’t waned a bit. Guys and girls alike raised slogans remanding our rights. Finally after nearly three hours our rally ended at 8.30 pm. Everyone was tired but we knew we had to do it so that we can do our bit to save our future.

Finally I would like to say that its high time the youth of India wakes up and whole-heartedly joins the brave medical students in Delhi and Mumbai who are not only fighting for their rights but also the rights of you and me. If you are one of those who thinks “What can I do? I’m just single person?”- I would like to say that you have support all around you-you are not alone-you have to fight for your rights. If we don’t fight for our rights then who will?