Mob attack sparks protests by Corporation staff, sanitation workers

The vicinity of the Secretariat was tense for hours on Wednesday following a march taken out by the City Corporation employees, sanitation and Kudumbasree workers in protest against an attack on garbage truck drivers on Tuesday night near Vilappilsala. The drivers were allegedly attacked while they were transporting garbage from the city to the Vilappilsala treatment plant.

Truck driver A. Kabeer, 50, sustained serious injuries. He is in the intensive care unit (ICU) of the Medical College Hospital. Peer Mohammed, C. Gopi, and Sivasankaran, all drivers, were injured in the attack around midnight near Oottukuzhi.

According to the drivers, Kabeer was driving the first truck in the convoy that had seven vehicles. The mob pulled Kabeer out of the truck and manhandled him. The other three were attacked when they came to Kabeer's rescue. The mob threw stones to scare away other truck drivers.

The police reportedly intervened only after the Mayor contacted the Chief Minister who was in New Delhi and the Police Chief over telephone late in the night. The injured were shifted to hospitals on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, Corporation employees marched to the Secretariat demanding security to garbage truck drivers. Mayor K. Chandrika, Deputy Mayor G. Happy Kumar, councillors and V. Sivankutty, MLA, joined the march from the Corporation office premises. CPI(M) district secretary Kadakampally Surendran inaugurated the march.

When the march reached the Secretariat, five trucks laden with garbage were brought to the main gate, blocking the road. The police had to divert traffic from Spencer and Statue junctions. Then, more than two dozen trucks, filled with garbage collected from the city, were driven to the area and left on the road leading to Secretariat. Traffic was paralysed along the arterial road.

Sanitation workers vent their ire against the police who tried to remove them and clear the traffic. Later, top police officials arrived at the scene and promised stern action against those who attacked the truck drivers.

The Cantonment police registered a case against 200 persons for blocking the road and causing disruption to the traffic.

The Vilappilsala police registered a case against 16 persons in connection with the attack on the truck drivers. No arrests have been made.

Meanwhile, the Mayor has petitioned the Chief Minister and the Police Chief seeking adequate security to the garbage truck drivers.

Ms. Chandrika said the Corporation had also decided to transport garbage to the plant only during the daytime.