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Last Updated: Monday, 15 May 2006, 07:13 GMT 08:13 UK
Strike hits Delhi health services
Protesting medical students in Delhi
Medical students have been protesting for days
Medical services in the Indian capital, Delhi, are being badly affected because of a strike by doctors in both private and state hospitals.

The strike has been called by the Indian Medical Association to protest over police violence against medical students last week.

College students across India have been protesting for weeks against a proposed affirmative action programme.

The government plans to increase quotas in Indian colleges.

Its proposal that nearly 50% of the seats in medical colleges and other institutes be set aside for low-caste Indians has sparked a major row.

Health services in all government hospitals in Delhi are already hit by an indefinite strike junior doctors began on Friday.

Indian health ministry officials say the government is making all arrangements to ensure that services are not crippled due to the strike.


On Sunday, the demonstrations - which began in Delhi - spread to Bangalore, Ahmedabad and Mumbai (Bombay).

Protesting students
The move has led to a political row

Doctors from private hospitals decided to join government doctors for a shut down called by the Indian Medical Association on Monday but emergency health services have been kept out of the strike.

Junior doctors began an indefinite strike on Friday after a protest march by hundreds of medical students in Delhi was disrupted by the police using baton, tear gas shells and water cannons.

The protests were sparked by a plan, announced by the country's education minister, to increase the quota in colleges from 27% to nearly 50%.

The government says it will provide students from disadvantaged backgrounds equal opportunities.

But the move has come under fire from the students as well as people in the business and education community.

They say it will lead to a drop in standards.

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