As the Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) strike entered its 17th day, the police authorities detained several Congress workers along with Road Transport Corporation (RTC) employees at Pragati Bhawan in Hyderabad on Monday. The protestors were protesting the death of a TSRTC employee who allegedly set himself ablaze in Khammam on October 12.
Ahead of the proposed plan to lay siege to Pragati Bhavan, the camp office-cum-residence of Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR), a few Congress leaders were put under house arrest while some have been taken into preventive custody. Further, heavy security has been deployed in surrounding areas of Pragati Bhavan, and Metro services at Begumpet Metro station have been suspended.
According to reports, over 49,000 workers have been on strike since October 5.
Telangana: Congress workers along with Road Transport Corporation (RTC) employees detained at Pragati Bhawan in Hyderabad, while they were protesting against death of a driver of Telangana State Road Transport Corporation, who had set himself ablaze in Khammam on Oct 12. pic.twitter.com/iJno40rHmZ— ANI (@ANI) October 21, 2019
The workers have been on strike since October 5, protesting against the state government's order to sack over 40,000 employees of TSRTC. According to reports, the Transport Corporation Joint Action Committee has been demanding for a merger of the Regional Transport Committee with the Telangana government. They had also demanded the prohibition of electric buses. Further reports stated that ever since the beginning of the strike, more than 2,000 busses have remained grounded in the state.
A 55-year-old TSRTC employee, Srinivas Reddy, died after he allegedly immolated himself on October 13. He was a part of the group of employees on a state-wide strike for nine days. According to reports, the driver had doused himself with kerosene and set himself ablaze near his house in Khammam, about 190 km from Hyderabad, to protest against the government's reluctance in accepting the demands of the striking employees.
Another TSRTC conductor, the deceased identified as Surender Goud, allegedly committed suicide by hanging himself from the ceiling fan at his house on October 13. According to reports, when the deceased his family members entered the house and saw him hanging from the ceiling fan, they immediately rushed him to a nearby hospital. However, Goud was declared brought dead. According to the police, Goud was depressed over the "fear of job loss and the non-payment of September salary" due to the on-going TSRTC strike.
The Telangana High Court on October 16, after hearing both the sides, directed the state government and the Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) employees to initiate a dialogue immediately to resolve the issues. However, reports state that the striking employees have been firm about continuing the strike until their demands are fulfilled. According to sources, the state government is set to form a committee including ministers and officials to hold talks with the TSRTC employees.
(with ANI inputs)