New Delhi: Ahead of ‘Chalo Tank Bund’ protest march by the Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) to be held in Hyderabad on November 9, the Telangana police have detained thousands of workers across the state.
Reportedly, 23 workers, including their family members lost their lives due to heart attacks and suicides during this strike.
As the TSRTC workers strike entered 34th day, Opposition parties on Friday held an all-party meeting and asked the people to join in large numbers for ‘Chalo Tank Bund’ protest march. However, the state government has denied permission for the protest.
According to local sources, police are detaining TSRTC workers and political leaders in all the districts ahead of the protest march.
The ‘Chalo Tank Bund’ is being planned on the lines of historic ‘million march’ protest where lakhs of people rallied in Hyderabad's Tank Band Road, located alongside Hussainsagar Lake, in 2011 during the Telangana state formation movement. It is to be noted that the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi party (TRS) leaders and cadre also participated in the ‘million march’ at that time.
Workers are firmly taking forward their strike, as they did not join their jobs despite chief minister K Chandrashekar Rao’s November 5, deadline. “Only some 350 workers joined their jobs on November 5 deadline, which is even less than 1% of the total 49,000 striking workers,” said Ashwathama Reddy, of the Joint Action Committee, which is steering the strike. He said the strike was being supported by students, teachers, other government employees, civil society groups and political parties.
Meanwhile, the Telangana High Court advised the state government to resolve the issue immediately as the people were facing hardships because of the strike. During Thursday’s court hearings, it emerged that the erstwhile Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation bifurcation into APSRTC and TSRTC was not done in a legitimate manner. The court has also put a stay on the government order privatising 5,100 bus routes.
The court has advised the workers and the government to negotiate and end the strike. The next court hearing is posted on November 11.
“The strike has been happening in a peaceful manner but the police are arresting the workers fearing the 'Chalo Tank Bund' protest suppressing the strike,” Tammineni Veerabhadram, state secretary of CPI(M), told media after the all-party meeting in Hyderabad on Friday. He demanded that the government should immediately release arrested workers and Left party leader.
TSRTC workers began the strike on October 5, and have held numerous demonstrations with a set of 26 demands, including merger of TSRTC into government and revision of salaries. While the striking unions have been claiming that they are ready for negotiations with the government on the demands, the government has been unresponsive.