SHILLONG, Sep 04: The medical students of the state who were denied seats in medical colleges in Assam in spite of having government quota have decided to stage a hunger strike from Tuesday onwards in front of the main secretariat here.
“We have no other option but to stage a hunger strike starting from tomorrow till the state government gives us a clear cut answer on our fate,” one of the aggrieved students Iaibha A Khyllep informed on Monday.
Khyllep, who ranked 5th from the Khasi-Jaintia list in the results declared on August 23, alleged that the authorities in the health department had given the medical students false hope and assurances despite the Medical Council of India (MCI)’s deadline for all India admission in medical colleges having expired on August 31.
The ten students had also signed the medical bond with the government of Meghalaya on August 24.
“The following day (August 25) on learning that one of the medical students from the state Natasha Boro was denied admission by the Guahati Medical College, Guwahati, we went to additional secretariat here to enquire about the matter,” he said.
He informed that the health officials in the additional secretariat instead showed them an agreement signed in 1956 between the Assam and Meghalaya governments which states that 10 medical seats are reserved for the state of Meghalaya.
“We were also asked to take the agreement along and show it to the medical college authorities in Assam only to be embarrassed when we were informed that there are no seats reserved for Meghalaya,” he said.
In his letter on July 3, the Director of Medical Education, Assam Prof (Dr) AK Barman intimated the principals of Gauhati Medical College, Guwahati, Assam Medical College, Dibugarh and Silchar Medical College, Silchar about the decision of the Assam government.
“The NEC quota under which 13 students were admitted in MBBS course previously has been abolished in the current UG admission rule of the Government of Assam and the number of students allotted seats under Central (Pool) quota has been reduced to 6 from the previous no of 15,” the letter stated.
Prof Barman also requested the three medical colleges not to admit any student from NEC quota and Central (Pool) quota.
Referring to the recent statement made by additional chief secretary in-charge health department PW Ingty that the Meghalaya government would file a case with the Supreme Court, Khyllep however said, “But we want to know what the government will do if the ruling of the Court is not in its favour.”
Informing that they would also submit a petition to the health department later on Monday, the Khyllep said that they would also be compelled to file a case against the Assam and Meghalaya governments before the Court of law.
He alleged that the Assam government has increased the OBC seats by abolishing the seats reserved for Meghalaya.
Another aggrieved student, Kanishtha Hajong said that the state government should have opposed the move of the Assam government but instead it waited till time ran out.
Both Khyllep and Hajong also appealed to both the state governments to refrain from politicizing the issue related to medical seats.
A topper who secured second rank in the Garo list, Jeremaiah D Sangma highlighted the emotional, physical and mental trauma that the aggrieved medical students had to go through due to the entire situation which he blamed on a lack of communication between the two states.
On the other hand, Evergreen Khongjoh, a topper from Khasi-Jaintia said that they have left the state with the dream of becoming doctors but were discouraged and embarrassed when they were denied admission.
The students said that they tried to contact the health minister Roshan Warjri for her immediate intervention into the matter but she was not available.
Meanwhile, the ten MBBS students along with their parents and guardians also met chief secretary, Y Tsering in the main secretariat on Monday evening.
“The chief secretary told us that Assam has abolished the reserved seats without informing Meghalaya and a case has been filed in Supreme Court against the neighbouring state. While seeking an assurance from our state government that our medical seats should not be denied, we also wanted to know what will be our fate if Meghalaya loses the case in Supreme Court. But it seems the state government could not give us any concrete assurance, in what way they will help us if our state does not win the case,” Iaisanbha Khyllep along with other affected students said after meeting the chief secretary.