Driver's death: Minister blames striking employees

NWKRTC driver's death: Minister blames striking employees

Those leading the strike failed to provide any response to the incident or the minister's accusation

A handful of BMTC buses operate from the Kempegowda bus terminal in Bengaluru on Friday. Credit: DH Photo/Anup Ragh T

The ongoing tussle between the striking workers of the state road transport corporations (RTC) and the government led to the death of a driver who defied the strike and reported to work only to be stoned to death by miscreants.

Deputy Chief Minister Laxman Savadi blamed the striking workers for the death of Rasool Avati, a 59-year-old driver belonging to NWKRTC, who was killed while driving the bus near Jamkhandi.

"The striking workers said it will be a peaceful protest but have claimed the life of their colleague now. The government will not forgive this. Those on strike are not allowing workers to return to duty and think they can deter the loyal workers through criminal acts," he said in a statement.

Read | NWRTC driver on duty stoned to death near Bagalkot

Those leading the strike failed to provide any response to the incident or the minister's accusation. Kodihalli Chandrashekhar, the farmer leader heading the Karnataka State Road Transport Employees League as well as R Chandrashekhar, the president, did not respond to DH despite repeated queries.

Another leader said the death has come as a big setback for the League, which has failed to ensure that the strike will go on peacefully. "They will have difficulty in any negotiation with the government. At the same time, the future of hundreds of workers dismissed from service seems to be sealed now," he said, adding that there was a possibility of strike being revoked.

The four RTCs on Friday sacked 254 employees, taking the total number of such workers to 1,054. In addition, 489 employees remain suspended from service.

The murder of employee is expected to bring more edge to the government's stern action starting Saturday, when the polling in the byelections are set to be completed.

Meanwhile, more employees reported to duty on Friday, helping the four RTCs to run more buses instead of depending on private players. By 9 pm, 5,639 buses were operated from the four corporations.