AIIMS students' suspend agitation, await meeting with health minister

They ask administration to take moral responsibility for the suicide

Undergraduate MBBS students and senior residents of AIIMS have suspended their agitation over the suicide of Anil Kumar Meena.

Internal exams, which were to start on March 5, will begin on Monday.

“We have not called off the strike, only suspended it. The Statutory Financing Committee will meet on March 16 to take decisions on our main demands,” said Zeeshan, general secretary of Students’ Union of Undergraduates.

They have asked the administration to take moral responsibility for Meena’s suicide on March 3. 

They are also demanding ex-gratia compensation for the deceased’s family and funding for his brother’s education.

“The faculty and senior residents are giving one day’s salary to the family,” said Zeeshan.

Representatives of students and senior residents are trying to fix an appointment with Union health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, who is also AIIMS president.

“We want a judicial inquiry into Anil’s suicide. The decision can be taken only by the AIIMS president,” said Zeeshan.

Students have been alleging that the administration is insensitive towards those who come from deprived sections of society and belong to lower castes.

Anil’s suicide — and other suicide attempts on the campus — have been termed as acts out of dissatisfaction. 

There is no mechanism to help students from non-English language background to cope with the heavy syllabus, which is largely taught in English.

Students claim there was no reason to raise the weightage of internal exams to 50 per cent from 25 per cent, which led to Anil failing in supplementary exams. 

Earlier, he could not appear in exams as his attendance fell short. The administration has asked professor S K Thorat, former chairperson of the University Grants Commission, to “examine the extent of implementation of the recommendations of the Thorat Committee by the Institute, identify gaps and recommend short-term and long-term measures to be implemented in a time-bound manner”.  

Thorat had headed a committee to enquire into alleged discrimination in AIIMS, and had submitted a report in 2007. 

A section of students is not happy with the suspension of the protest. “This is how a movement dies down. Once our exams end on March 23, no one will actively participate in the agitation,” said a student who, till Friday afternoon, was persuading other students to revive the agitation.

“The administration has only given assurances. The main demand of giving relief to Anil’s family has not been met. Except for asking professor Thorat to work on recommendations, there is no written communication. Even the assurance that his family members will be treated in AIIMS for free was conveyed verbally,” the student said.

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