The death of two Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) employees, who killed themselves in the last two days, has prompted the protesting JAC leaders to recognise these deaths as ‘government sanctioned murders’.
Despite appeals by the JAC and the Opposition party leaders against employees resorting to suicide following the death of Srinivas Reddy, a TSRTC driver on Sunday; another employee, Surender Goud killed himself a couple of hours later at his residence in Karwan, Hyderabad.
Surender killed himself reportedly over the fear of not being able to repay loans. Srinivas and Surender are among the 48,000-odd employees who were sacked by the Telangana government for not reporting to duty.
Slamming the government JAC convenor Ashwathama Reddy, who is leading the protest said, “Their deaths should be seen as government sanctioned murders. It is because of the inflexible attitude of the government that our colleagues killed themselves. We have been on strike for 10 days now, but yet the government has not made any attempt to have a dialogue with us. They are not inviting us for any talks to resolve the crisis. We strongly condemn the state government’s attitude.”
Fearing that several employees would follow suit and taking extreme steps, the JAC has yet again reiterated that the employees should not lose confidence.
Ashwathama said, “It is unfortunate that employees are losing their patience and killing themselves over fears that they have lost their jobs.” Appealing to the employees, he said, “We should be strong. Our protest is a genuine one, why should we kill ourselves?”
The JAC has demanded that the government provide ex-gratia of Rs 50 lakh to each of the victim’s families. However, the government has not responded yet to their demand.
Raji Reddy, co-convenor of the JAC said, “How many more people should sacrifice themselves to make our plight heard? It seems like the government will not respond, no matter how many employees kill themselves.”
Accusing the government of being unreasonable, he said, “When there is an issue, the government should call the protesting group to try and reason and resolve the crisis, but this government is not making any such attempts. Why does the CM has such vengeance against us?” he lamented.
On Monday, the TSRTC strike entered day 10, and despite suicides and suicide bids, the government is firm on its stand to remove all the protesting employees. Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao recently clarified that there is no question of having talks with the employees, or any scope for taking them back.
The protesting employees have been demanding that the government merge TSRTC with the government, along with 25 other demands regarding their welfare. However, the government has outrightly rejected and dismissed them.