Telangana bandh brings normal life to a grinding halt

Telangana bandh brings normal life to a grinding halt

Agitating Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) get their heads tonsured during their ongoing strike, in Hyderabad on October 16, 2019. (PTI photo)

Normal life across Telangana came to a halt on Saturday with the employees of the Road Transport Corporation (RTC) calling for a state-wide shut down as part of their indefinite strike, which enetered 15th day. 

The bandh, called by the Joint Action Committee (JAC) of employees of the State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC), is supported by other state government employees unions, trade unions and political parties.

During the shut down, there have been stray incidents of stone pelting by the angry protestors. At some places, temporary drivers tried taking out the buses from depots, at the behest of managers and amid security provided by the police, but the protestors dragged the drivers away from their seats and confined the buses to depots.

Also read — TSRTC bandh begins in Telangana

Auto rickshaw and cabs also stayed off the roads, as their unions announced indefinite strike from Saturday in solidarity with the agitating RTC workers.

Govt not ready for talks

Though the high court on Friday instructed the state government to initiate talks with the striking employees’ unions at 10.30 am, there was no such move.

Telangana chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, who called for a meeting with transport minster P Ajay Kumar then cancelled it. He instructed the officials to take all steps to see that commuters are not stranded.

With several employee unions supporting bandh, attendance in the state government offices was very thin.

The educational institutions across the state remained closed, as the government has already extended the Dasara vacations till Monday. There was not much of an impact on IT sector as it was a holiday for them.

Meanwhile, police in a pre-emptive swoop, took into custody several political leaders and activists including Telangana Jana Samithi leader Prof M Kodandaram, Telugu Desam Party state unit president L Ramana, TDP general secretary Ravula Chandrasekhar Reddy and former minister and BJP leader Mothkupalli Narasimhulu at different places in Telangana.

Congress leaders former minister Ponnala Lakshmaiah, former MPs V Hanumanth Rao and Madhu Yashki Goud and former MLA Kuna Srisailam Goud were put under house arrest.

The principle opposition in Assembly, the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) party, stayed away from the bandh. The AIMIM is in friendly relation with the TRS party and the government.

At Achanpalli and Mubaraknagar in Nizamabad town, the agitating RTC workers pelted stones at the buses, when the officials tried to run the buses with the help of hired drivers. Heavy security arrangements were made at all bus depots to prevent any violent incidents.

Chairman of Joint Action Committee of RTC employees’ unions E Ashwathama Reddy declared  that the strike was continuing but the JAC was ready for talks.

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