Day after TSRTC driver’s death, near-total bandh in Khammam

Opposition parties support shutdown; alternative transport arrangements paralysed

A day after TSRTC driver D. Srinivas Reddy succumbed to burns sustained during a self-immolation bid, a near-total bandh was observed in the erstwhile composite Khammam district amid outpouring of grief on Monday.

The bandh was called by TSRTC-Joint Action Committee and supported by Opposition parties such as Congress, CPI(M), CPI (ML-ND), TDP, BJP, TJS and CPI to register protest holding the State government “responsible” for the suicide of the RTC driver apparently distraught over the fate of 48,000 striking staff of the public transport entity.

Almost the entire fleet of hired buses in addition to the Corporation buses stayed off roads across the district. The bandh paralysed alternative transport arrangements made by the authorities since the RTC indefinite strike began on October 5 to press for merger of the Corporation with the government and other long-pending demands, sources said.

Rallies, dharnas and candlelight vigils marked the bandh coinciding with the 10th day of the TSRTC employees’ strike in various parts of the district on Monday. Leaders of the Opposition parties, including Congress Legislature Party leader M.B. Vikramarka, CPI(M) State secretariat member P Sudarshan Rao and others staged a demonstration near the bus station in support of the TSRTC-JAC bandh. Cadres of the Jana Sena also took part in the protest.

Activists of various organisations representing teachers, advocates, students, and a cross section of society participated in the stir. Offering their condolences to the bereaved family and pledging their support to the ongoing strike, speakers at the demonstration exhorted the RTC employees to fight for their just demands with perseverance and desist from taking “extreme steps”. They demanded that the government concede their long-pending demands forthwith.

A large number of police personnel were deployed at all the bus stations and depots in Khammam and Bhadradri-Kothagudem districts.

Jagga’s threat

In Sangareddy, Congress MLA T. Jayaprakash Reddy has demanded that the State government address the demands of RTC employees within two days, failing which the house of Transport Minister P. Ajay Kumar would be attacked. Expressing solidarity with the RTC employees, he said the statements being made by Ministers had demoralised the employees, leading to two suicides.

Criminal case sought

In Karimnagar, BJP leader Bodige Shoba on Monday visited Karimnagar One Town police station to seek registering a criminal case against Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao and Ministers Puvvada Ajay Kumar, Errabelli Dayakar Rao and Gangula Kamalakar on charges of abetment to suicide of RTC driver Srinivas Reddy in Khammam. She lodged a written complaint, blaming the Chief Minister and Ministers for “irresponsible and provocative statements” that drove the RTC employee in Khammam to commit suicide.

She also threatened to stage dharna in front of the police station if the police did not register a criminal case within 24 hours.

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Printable version | Jun 4, 2020 2:09:54 PM |

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