Podcast | 4 Journos Recall 1990 Anti-Mandal Protest Against Quota

“I remember a lady said ‘kill us, then kill our children’” says Jami, who was a cameraperson, digging into the past.

1 min read
Hindi Female

Where were you when the Mandal Committee recommendations were implemented by the VP Singh-led government in 1990?

For the third episode of ‘Where Were You When’, we speak with four journalists – Raghav Bahl, MK Jha, Ajmal Jami and Nutan Manmohan – who were all part of a small team of India's first video news magazine Newstrack based in New Delhi when the central government proposed to provide 27 percent reservation, based on the reports of the Mandal Commission, to ‘Other Backward Classes’ in government jobs and educational institutions.

The Mandal Committee report didn't get much attention from any central government for almost a decade until the VP Singh stood at Red Fort on Independence day to announce his government's commitment to the committee's recommendations and the violent mass protests that began after was unprecedented. Tune in to the podcast for more!


It started with Rajeev Goswami who immolated himself. Following in his footsteps, nearly 200 anti-reservationist student protestors made attempts at self-immolation, out of which 62 students succumbed to their burn injuries. A lot of these incidents were caught on camera by journalists.

As the protests grew, so did the police force's brutality towards the protestors. At least 50 lives were lost in police firing in different states. Educational institutions and business enterprises remained shut.

But protests were only one side of the story. The VP Singh government which wanted to secure its support with the announcement OBC reservations didn't see its political move turn against itself.

The protests continued until VP Singh faced a vote of no-confidence and resigned on 7 November 1990.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)


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Topics:  VP Singh   Where Were You When 

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