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INDIAN STUDENTS PROTEST CASTE QUOTAS

INDIAN STUDENTS PROTEST CASTE QUOTAS

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Thousands of university students danced and clapped to the beat of anti-government slogans in heavy rain Tuesday to protest a proposed job policy they say is discriminatory.

In a separate protest, about 500 students from New Delhi's medical colleges marched to Prime Minister V.P. Singh's house and demanded the proposals be withdrawn.Singh announced this month that the government would reserve 27 percent of government jobs for ``socially backward' castes. He said Monday that quotas also will be introduced for lower income groups, irrespective of caste.

Already, 22.5 percent of the jobs are held for lower castes and tribes. If implemented, the new proposals would raise the percentage of reserved jobs to between 54 percent and 59 percent. The remainder would be awarded on merit.

Opponents say the quota system would lead to the employment and promotion of unqualified people and heighten caste tensions.

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