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Bihar Movement or JP Movement was a movement initiated by students in Bihar in 1974 and

led by the veteran Gandhian socialist Jayaprakash Narayan, popularly known as JP, against
misrule by and corruption in the government of Bihar. It later turned against Prime
Minister Indira Gandhi's government in the central government.[1][2] It was also
called Sampoorna Kranti(Total Revolution Movement) and JP Movement.[3]

Early Protests[edit]
When the Nav Nirman movement resulted in the forced resignation of the Gujarat government,
student protests had already begun in Bihar. Unlike the Nav Nirman movement, political student
outfits like Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) connected with the Jana Sangh,
Samajwadi Yuvajan Sabha (SYS) connected with Samajwadi Party, and Lok Dal took an active
role in the JP movement. All India Students Federation (AISF) connected with CPI was also
Opposition parties called a statewide strike from 1973. This resulted in police firing on strikers in
Bhopal, the capital of Madhya Pradesh, causing the deaths of eight students on 17 August 1973
owing to their participation in the JP Movement. The Raina Enquiry Commission also confirm
that the action of the then Congress Government in Madhya Pradesh was in excess and the
Government had not handled the situation properly. On 18 February 1974, the Patna University
Students Union organized a convention which invited student leaders from the whole state.
They formed Bihar Chhatra Sangharsh Samiti (BCSS) to spearhead the agitation.[2] Lalu
Prasad Yadav was chosen as a president. Among the several contemporary youth leaders were
Sushil Kumar Modi, Narendra Singh, Basisth Narayan Singh & Ram Vilas Paswan. Their
demands were related to education and food in hostels.[1] BCSS called for a gherao at Bihar
Legislative Assembly during a budget session on 18 March 1974.[3] They blocked all roads to the
assembly and damaged government properties, including the telephone exchange and the
residence of former education minister Ramanand Singh, which was set on fire. Chief
Minister Abdul Ghafoorconvinced student leaders that he would look into demands. But
students at colleges and universities kept protesting and damaged properties at some places.
The killing of three students by police in Patna provoked student opposition across Bihar.
BCSS declared a statewide strike on 23 March.[3] Meanwhile, JP visited Gujarat to witness the
Nav Nirman movement on 11 February and declared his intention to lead on 30 March 1974.
BCSS approached JP to lead the agitation [2] while he was withdrawing himself from
the Bhoodan movement. He agreed.[1]
On 1 April 1974, Indira Gandhi responded to the Bihar Movement's demands for the removal of
the elected government. She asked, "How can such persons who continue to seek favours from
the moneyed people ... dare to speak of corruption?" [3] A silent student procession of
10,000[3] was held in Patna on 8 April. On 12 April, government opponents died in police firing
at Gaya during the Paralyse the Government programme.[1] Students also demanded dissolution
of the Bihar Legislative Assembly. People demonstrated by blocking roads such as NH 31 and
imposing a self-curfew.[3] JP went to Delhi and attended a conference of Citizens for Democracy,
an organization demanding civil rights, held on 13 and 14 April.[1] During May 1974 various
students' and peoples' organisations kept demanding dissolution of the assembly and also
demanded the government's resignation, but did not succeed.[3]

Total Revolution[edit]
On 5 June, he told people at a Patna rally to organize a protest at the Bihar Legislative
Assembly, which resulted in the arrest of 1,600 agitators and 65 student leaders by 1 July 1974.
He advocated a program of social transformation by participation of youth in social activities. He
called it Total Revolution (Sampurna Kranti) Movement. Protests and closure of colleges and
universities also occurred on 15 July. Some colleges started after that and examinations were
held. JP told students to boycott examinations but many students appeared in examinations.
He called for a three-day statewide strike starting from 3 October and addressed a massive
public gathering on 6 October.[1]
Demanding the resignation of MLAs started on 4 November, much as the Nav
Nirman movement had done, but 42 out of 318 MLAs had resigned before that, including 33
from opposition parties. Many MLAs refused to resign.[3] Government tried hard to stop people
from reaching Patna for the movement and also laathi charged people.[1]
On 18 November, at a massive gathering at Patna, he spoke to outcast Congress government
of Indira Gandhi.[1] Indira Gandhi dragged this conflict into election arena and told to wait until
next election. He realised the importance of fighting within the democratic system rather than a
party-less democracy so he contacted opposition parties, which finally resulted in the formation
of the Janata Party.

End and aftermath[edit]

The Bihar Movement turned into a Satyagraha and volunteers kept protesting at the Bihar
Legislative Assembly, inviting arrest starting on 4 December. Indira Gandhi did not change the
Chief Minister of Bihar, Abdul Ghafoor, because she did not want to give in to protestors' calls
for the dissolution of the assembly as she did in Gujarat.[1] . JP kept travelling all across India,
strengthening and uniting opposition parties to defeat Congress. The election in Gujarat was
delayed until Morarji Desai went on hunger strike demanding it be held. The election was held
on 10 June and the result was declared on 12 June 1975, with Congress losing. The same day,
the Allahabad High Court declared Indira Gandhi's election to the Lok Sabha in 1971 void on
grounds of electoral malpractice. The court thus ordered her to be removed from her seat in
Parliament and banned from running in elections for six years. It effectively removed her from
the Prime Minister's office. She rejected calls to resign and went to the Supreme Court. She
recommended President V. V. Giri to appoint A. N. Ray as a Chief Justice to get a favourable
outcome in the case.[1] JP opposed such a movement in his letters to Indira Gandhi and called
for her to resign. She imposed a nationwide Emergency to safeguard her position on the night of
25 June 1975.[1] JP, opposition leaders, and dissenting members of her own party were
immediately arrested. JP was kept as detenu at Chandigarh even after he had asked for a
month's parole for mobilising relief in areas of Bihar gravely affected by flooding. His health
suddenly deteriorated on 24 October, and he was released on 12 November; diagnosis
at Jaslok Hospital, Bombay, revealed kidney failure; he would be on dialysis for the rest of his
After Indira Gandhi revoked the Emergency on 21 March 1977 and announced elections, it was
under JP's guidance that the Janata Party (a vehicle for the broad spectrum of the anti-Indira
Gandhi opposition) was formed. Considered to be an election of newcomers, a huge crowd of
youth activists and leaders used to gather[4] before the residence of the Bihar Janta party
president Satyendra Narayan Sinha.The Janata Party was voted into power, and became the
first non-Congress party to form a government at the Centre in India. In Bihar, after the Janata
Party came to power, Karpuri Thakur won the chief ministership battle from the then Bihar
Janata Party President Satyendra Narayan Sinha to become the Bihar Chief Minister in 1977.[
The 2006 Indian anti-reservation protests were a series of protests that took place in India in
2006 in opposition to the decision of the Union Government of India, led by the Indian National
Congress-headed multiparty coalition United Progressive Alliance, to implement reservations for
the Other Backward Classes (OBCs) in central and private institutes of higher education. These
protests were one of the two major protests against the Indian reservation system, the other one
being the 1990 anti-Mandal protests.
The government proposed to reserve 27% of seats in the premier educational institutions of
India like All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Other Medical Colleges, Indian
Institutes of Technology (IITs), the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs), Indian Institute of
Science (IISc) and other central institutions of higher education for the OBCs in order to help
them gain higher levels of representation in these institutions. This move led to massive
protests, particularly from students and doctors belonging to the forward castes, who claimed
that the government's proposal was discriminatory, discarded meritocracy and was driven
by vote-bank politics.[1]

Historical background[edit]

Main article: Reservation in India

Origin of reservation[edit]
India is divided into many endogamous groups i.e. castes and sub-castes, as a result of
centuries of following Varnashrama Dharma, a social system which translates to "types" or
"order". In olden times, the castes which were considered high in the Hindu caste
hierarchy i.e. Brahmins, Kshatriyas and Vaishyas, Shudras.
During the British Raj, some methods for upliftment of these lower castes were introduced by
the British, progressive thinkers and Hindu reformers. These included reservations in the
legislature and in government jobs.[2] After independence, the Indian constitution introduced
provisions for reservations for the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (SC/ST) in government
institutions, to give a fair representation to the weakest sections of society i.e. Dalits and
Adivasis. 22.5% of the seats (SC- 15%, ST- 7.5%) in higher education institutes and public
sector undertakings at both state and central level were set-aside for them. Uplifting the
SC/ST's to a status at par with the upper castes- has not yet been achieved.
In 1989, the then-Prime Minister of India V. P. Singh accepted and implemented nationwide the
proposals of the Mandal Commission, which had been established by the Morarji Desai-
led Janata Party government in 1979. The proposals of this commission recommended 27%
reservation for Other Backward Classes (OBCs) in public sector undertakings and state-level
educational institutions. OBC's were a group of castes which fell in-between the upper castes
and Dalits; they were historically not oppressed and socially boycotted as the Dalits and
Adivasis, but were still socially, educationally and economically backward compared to the
upper castes. Though some Indian states such as Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh had already
implemented the OBC reservations earlier in their higher educational institutions, this decision
now forced every Indian state to implement OBC reservation. By combining this 27% quota for
OBC's and the earlier 22.5% reservation for the SC/ST's, the percentage of general
(unreserved) seats in any medical, engineering or other institute falling under the state
government reduced to 50.5%. This included even the unaided private colleges. As a result,
there was widespread protests from the students belonging to the unreserved category (forward
castes), claiming that they were being discriminated and that "merit" was being discarded.

Extension of 27% reservation[edit]

On 5 April 2006, Congress leader and then-Human Resource Development Minister Arjun
Singh, promised to implement a 27% reservation for OBCs in institutes of higher education
(twenty central universities, the IITs, NITs, IIMs and AIIMS) after the State Assembly elections in
Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Puducherry, Assam and West Bengal, in accordance with the 93rd
Constitutional Amendment which was passed unanimously by both Houses of Parliament.
The 93rd Constitutional Amendment allows the government to make special provisions for the
"advancement of any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens", including their
admission in aided or unaided private educational institutions. Gradually this reservation policy
is to be implemented in private sector institutions and companies as well.[4] Private sector
institutions and companies had never come under the purview of reservation.
The text of the 93rd amendment reads-
Greater access to higher education including professional education, is of great importance to a
large number of students belonging to the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes and other
socially and educationally backward classes of citizens. The reservation of seats for the
Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes and the Other Backward Classes of citizens in
admission to educational institution is derived from the provisions of clause(4) of article 15 of the
constitution. At present, the number of seats available in aided or State maintained institutions,
particularly in respect of professional education, is limited, in comparison to those in private
aided institutions.
Clause(i) of article 30 of the Constitution provides the right to all minorities to establish and
administer educational institutions of their choice. It is essential that the rights available to
minorities are protected in regard to institutions established and administered by them.
Accordingly, institutions declared by the State to be minority institutions under clause(1) of
article 30 are excluded from the operation of this enactment.
To promote the educational advancement of the socially and educationally backward classes of
citizens,i.e., the Other Backward Classes or of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes
in matters of admission of students belonging to these categories in unaided educational
institutions, other than the minority educational institutions referred to in clause(1) of article 30,
the provisions of article 15 were amplified. The new clause(5) of said article 15 shall enable the
Parliament as well as the State legislatures to make appropriate laws for the above mentioned
This move led to opposition from forward caste students, as the proposal would reduce seats for
the general category from the existing 77.5% to less than 51% (since members of OBCs are
also allowed to contest in the General category), despite assurance from the government that
the number of seats in these educational institutes will be increased so that effectively there will
be no reduction in the number of seats available for the general category. The opposing
students also felt that the government's move was merely to placate and consolidate the OBC
vote bank. The private sector organisations too opposed the move, saying it would impede merit
and reduce the competitiveness of the students.[6]

Doctors protesting against reservation at Jantar Mantar, Delhi

The protests began from 26 April 2006 with medical students protesting in New Delhi against
the government's proposal, where students were lathi-charged and water cannons and tear gas
was fired on the students.[7] Another such protest was carried out by medical students in New
Delhi on 13 May 2006 where students were again lathi-charged and detained for few hours.
Medical students held a protest in Mumbai on 14 May 2006, where students were lathi-
charged, despite the protest being banned by the Bombay High Court.[9] They were lathi-
charged (baton-charged) by the police.[9] In retaliation of the police action towards the anti-
reservation protestors, a nationwide strike was launched by the "anti-reservation" medical
students. Doctors from all over India who opposed the government's proposal too joined the
The government took measures to counter the protesting doctors by serving them with
suspension letters and asking them to vacate the hostels to make way for newly recruited
doctors. Some states invoked the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) and gave notices
to the doctors to return to work, failing which legal action would be taken against them. The
government also put on alert 6,000 men from the Rapid Action Force to take care of any
untoward incident. However, in most places the protesters remained defiant despite ESMA.
Most forward caste students across India took to the streets, boycotting classes. In Delhi, a
human chain rally was organized on 20 May by the students of IIT Delhi with the support of
PanIIT, the IIT alumni organisation, to protest the OBC reservation. Nearly 150 students of New
Delhi's 5 Medical Colleges went on a 'relay' hunger strike in AIIMS which lasted for about a
A resolution signed by 2,500 IIT Roorkee students expressing their opposition to the OBC
reservation, was sent to the then-President Abdul Kalam, the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh,
the then-Chief Justice of India Y. K. Sabharwal and the Election Commission of India, but they
all turned a deaf ear to it. A peaceful protest march was then organised by them on 23 May.
Many anti-reservation protestors now began to group under the aegis of Youth for Equality.
The following were the demands made by "Youth for Equality"-
Roll back of the proposed hike in reservations.
Setting up of an academic, non-political panel of experts to review the existing reservation
policy and explore alternate forms of affirmative action.
Vacant positions in reserved government jobs to be thrown open for other eligible candidates.
No penal action be taken against the protesters.
A white paper issued on the reservation policy and a concrete statement on the issue by the
Prime Minister.[11]
After the government reaffirmed its commitment to implementing reservations, the protesters
called for a "Civil disobedience movement".[12] Their protests were also supported by the traders
in Delhi, who threatened to shut shops if the government didn't roll back on its decision to
extend the OBC reservation. The AIIMS Faculty Association went on a mass casual leave from
25 May 2006 to support the anti-quota stir, but made it clear that basic health-care services
would not be disrupted. However, whether health care services were really unaffected is
questionable.[12] On 27 May 2006, a massive rally was organised in Delhi. The rally was attended
by participants from all over India, numbering almost 100,000. It was declared that the strike by
students and junior doctors would continue.[13]
On 28 May 2006, the government set up an Oversight Committee to "prepare a road map with a
time-bound programme to implement 27% reservation for OBCs without compromising merit
and addressing apprehensions aired by students propose an effective way to implement
reservations keeping the interests of all sections of society in mind". This committee, headed by
Union Minister and former Karnataka Chief Minister M. Veerappa Moily, would submit its report
by 31 August 2006.[14]
On 31 May 2006, in deference to the Supreme Court directive, resident doctors resumed
hospital works from 1 June 2006, as the health service was affected seriously due to the strike.
However, protest from the part of students (both medical and other streams) continued and a
national coordination committee comprising representatives of medical colleges, IITs and
several other educational institutions had been proposed to be formed to lead the agitation.
The Supreme Court has also sought the government to clarify the basis on which the
reservation policy was being implemented.[16] However, these protests slowly died down and
eventually ended.

Political reactions and opinions[edit]

CPI(ML) poster in Kottayam, calling for expanded quotas for lower castes, including private sector

The 93rd Constitutional Amendment was passed unanimously in the Lok Sabha except for two
abstaining members.[3] Barring a few, most of the political parties supported the move to extend
the OBC reservation to premier educational institutions.

Supporting parties[edit]

The Left Front, while supporting reservations, called for excluding the "creamy layer"
from availing of its benefits;[17] the "creamy layer" is used in reference to members of
economically advanced population belonging to any caste.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) also supported the reservations, but called for
upholding merit and excellence in educational institutes. They asked for the benefits of
reservation to be extended to "economically weaker sections of the forward castes", and
also for exclusion of the "creamy layer".[18] The student wing of the Hindu
nationalist organisation Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi
Parishad too supported the reservation for OBC's, hailing them as a "historic need", but they
also called for exclusion of the "creamy layer".[19]

The Congress, which introduced these quotas, vociferously backed them. Congress
workers allegedly confronted the fasting doctors at AIIMS. They were headed by Sacchar
Singh, a relative of Arjun Singh. They proceeded with heavy slogan-shouting. It almost
became a show-down between both camps; however, the police managed to stop these

The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), a pro-Dalit party, urged the Union Government to ban
the strike by the anti-reservation students and go ahead with its decision to provide
reservation for the Other Backward Classes in higher education.[20]
The Dravidian parties of Tamil Nadu supported the move and demanded that the OBC
reservation quotas be implemented without any delay. They called upon the government to
pay no heed to the anti-reservation protestors. The Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK), a key
constituent of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK)-led alliance in Tamil Nadu, went to
the extent of organising a pro-reservation protest march in Chennai.[21]

The Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) of Lalu Prasad Yadav openly supported the OBC
reservation proposal and requested the UPA not to reconsider or delay it.[22]

The Janata Dal (United) (JD(U)) too supported the OBC quotas and said that granting of
facilities to SCs, STs and OBCs for higher education had become a subject of "unnecessary

The Samajwadi Party condemned the anti-reservation protests, and said that the attitude
of the protesting students towards reservation was wrong.[24]
Opposing parties[edit]

The only political party which opposed the OBC reservation was the Marathi
nationalist party Shiv Sena. Its supporters went on a procession in Mumbai to protest the
move saying it was vote bank politics and a means to divide Hinduism.

On 10 April 2008, the Supreme Court upheld the law for the provision of 27% quota for
candidates belonging to the Other Backward Classes in IITs, NITs, IIMs, AIIMS and other
premier educational institutions. But it directed the government to exclude the "creamy layer"
among the OBCs while implementing the law. However, the "creamy layer" exclusion would not
be applied to the SC/STs.