Even as state-wide protests are still on, the employee unions will hold an emergency executive meeting to decide the future plan of action.

TSRTC strike Hyderabad police detain union leaders ahead of their protests
news Protests Monday, October 07, 2019 - 13:27

The Joint Action Committee (JAC) leaders of Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) employees unions were detained by the Hyderabad Central Zone police at Gun Park as the leaders went to offer tributes to the martyrs of Telangana movement at the Telangana Martyrs’ memorial near the state Assembly. The leaders were planning to step up their ongoing strike by staging protests at the city's Dharna Chowk after paying tributes at the memorial.

On Sunday, a statement from the office of Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao announced that only 1,200 employees are now with the TSRTC. There is no clarity on the jobs of those on strike as the CM said that there was no question of reinstating those who did not report for duty within the stipulated time period on Saturday. He also said that the process to appoint new employees will begin soon, with the condition that the person should not join any trade union.

The CM’s decision exacerbated the situation, as the employees declared that they will not stop the agitation. TSRTC JAC Chairman, Ashwathama Reddy, Employees Union State General Secretary Raji Reddy, along with other executive members of the TSRTC JAC were among those who have been taken into custody.

Speaking to the media while being detained, Ashwathama Reddy said, “Till yesterday (Sunday), we fought for the protection of TSRTC. Now we are fighting for the protection of democracy. We urge the people of the state to see this high-handedness by the government and support our cause.”

He further added, “KCR became CM because of the sacrifices of the TSRTC labourers. Now, we are not allowed to visit the martyrs’ memorial.”

The leaders were detained in different police stations in the area. Speaking to TNM, Abids Station House Officer (SHO) said, “We have detained as many as four representatives of TSRTC. We are yet to charge them under any sections. Further action will be taken as per the orders from the higher officials.”

The police have denied permissions to hold rallies and protests at Gun Park and Dharna Chowk, claiming law and order issues.

Meanwhile, the employee unions have decided to hold an emergency executive meeting to decide the future plan of action.

Since Friday midnight, over 48,000 employees have been on an indefinite strike, to demand the Corporation's merger with the state government, along with job security and strengthening of the TSRTC by recruiting more. However, the CM’s statement said, “TSRTC will not be merged with the government and that the government will not have any talks with those who went on strike.” 

While the TSRTC employees are standing firm and protesting, the Telangana government is dependent on private drivers and vehicles to continue bus services. Meanwhile, private agencies, who are cashing in on the needs of people who are stranded at different bus stations, are charging extra fares. 

Opposition parties and trade unions have slammed the government for the recent chaos in the state. BJP state president Dr K Laxman said, “CM KCR, with his brazen decision to dismiss TSRTC employees, is trying to impact thousands of employees and their families, and drag them on to the roads on a festival day. This is the reward KCR wants to give to the employees of the state for having fought for Telangana formation." 

Telangana Telugu Desam Party (TDP) state leader Ravula Chandrasekhar Reddy also condemned the detention of the TSRTC leaders, and urged the CM to hold talks and sort out the matter.