Protest in MP shows caste cracks

As students and junior doctors of all government hospitals in the State hit the streets on Tuesday, a faction of the MP Junior Doctors’ Association announced that they would launch a counter-agitation in support of reservation.
Showing caste cracks in the agitation, a splinter group of reserved category students is all set to form a pro-reservation body of junior doctors and undergraduate medical students.
“We are soon going to form an All-MP Reserved Category Doctors’ Association to register our support to the proposed reservation Bill,’’ Dr Vineet Gour, an OBC junior doctor at Gandhi Medical College (GMC), Bhopal and leader of the pro-reservation faction, told Hindustan Times.
“In Bhopal our association has the support of almost 100 junior doctors and about 200 undergraduate students while the number in the State could be around 1000,’’ Dr Gour claimed.
Dr Gour, who was the president of the Junior Doctors’ Association of GMC, stayed away from the anti-reservation rally organised by medical students on May 15. The protestors then replaced Dr Gour with a new leader.
Dr Gour, however, claimed he and other students voluntarily distanced themselves from the anti-reservation rally. “We don’t recognise the Junior Doctors’ Association of unreserved category and our agenda is different from theirs,’’ he said.
Pro-reservation junior doctors were seen attending to patients at Hamidia Hospital on Tuesday even as the anti-reservationists raised their pitch on the campus.
Meanwhile, MPJDA vice-president Dr Hitesh Sharma asserted that students across the caste lines were protesting against the reservation Bill. “Even SC, ST and OBC students are with us and all are opposing the proposed reservation Bill,” he said.
Dr Hitesh, however, admitted that they could not force anyone to join the protests. “If some junior doctors or students do not want to get involved in the agitation, we cannot compel them,” he said.

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