The protest being carried out by thousands of empanelled workers of Kerala Road Transport Corporation (RTC) outside the secretariat in Thiruvananthapuram since January 21, culminated in the suicide attempt of an Alappuzha native on Tuesday.
Diniya, an empanelled conductor of Kerala RTC, attempted to kill herself on Tuesday morning by climbing on top of a tree outside the secretariat premises. Fire and Rescue officials reached the spot and rescued Diniya after much drama.
Diniya, who had been working in Alappuzha depot for the past 11 years, was terminated from her job after the Kerala High Court order of December 2018 led to the retrenchment of empanelled workers. Following this order, empanelled conductors and daily wage workers were told to leave their jobs from all Kerala RTC depots.
According to the officials of Fire and Rescue department, Diniya relented after much coaxing. “When we came there, she was standing with a cloth ready to hang herself from the tree. Initially, she was not cooperating with us. Fire and rescue officials and even the fellow protestors requested her to come down from the tree but she did not listen. When we understood that she won’t budge, two of the rescue personnel climbed the tree and made her come down,” said Suresh Kumar, an official with the Fire and Rescue team.
Diniya had reached the protest area by 7 in the morning on Tuesday. According to Jayaprakash, one of the empanelled conductors, nobody noticed her climbing the tree. “When we noticed her sitting on top of the tree with her dupatta tied around her neck, we called Fire and Rescue officials. They reached the spot and rescued her by around 8.45am,” Jayaprakash told TNM. She was taken to a nearby government hospital after the rescue.
According to other protesters, Diniya was in a depressed state for the past few months because of the sudden death of her husband six months back.“On the way to the hospital, Diniya expressed how miserable her life was. With the demise of her husband, loss of job and two children to look after, she was going through a very hard time and was desperately in need of a job,” Suresh Kumar said.
After being discharged from hospital, Diniya came straight back to the protest site.
On Monday night, the protestors’ tent was demolished by the corporation officials as part of Attukal Pongala arrangements. Thampanoor police have registered a case against Diniya under IPC section 309, for attempting suicide.
The empanelled staff have decided to continue the protest in front of the secretariat till the government gives them an acceptable solution. “Even when an incident like this has occurred in front of the secretariat, none of the officials have shown the basic morality of enquiring about this. We also got information from sources that this issue was not even discussed in the cabinet meeting held recently. This shows that the government is least interested in solving our woes,” added Jayaprakash, who has been a conductor in Kerala RTC for the past 14 years.