Fasting unionist shifted to hospital, as TSRTC stir continues

Hyderabad, Nov 17 (PTI) The indefinite strike bytransport employees in Telangana entered the 44th day onSunday even as police foiled the fast of a top union leader.

The 'hunger strike' of the TSRTC (Telangana State RoadTransport Corporation) employees unions joint action committeconvenor E Ashwathama Reddy was picked up from his house,taken in a police vehicle and admitted to a state-run hospitalfor treatment, police said.

Ashwathama, who had begun the hunger strike onSaturday, said he would, however, continue his fast.

Similarly, another TSRTC JAC leader Raji Reddy wastaken into custody from his house.

Striking workers raised slogans against thegovernment over the police action.

In a related development, police thwarted theproposed Maha Deeksha at Indira Park by Madiga ReservationPorata Samithi (MRPS) in support of TSRTC workers and tookseveral activists, including the organisation's chief MandaKrishna Madiga and leaders of different organisations andstriking workers, into preventive custody from differentplaces.

Hyderabad police commissioner Anjani Kumar onSaturday said permission was denied to MRPS to hold any dharnaat Indira Chowk.

Nearly 48,000 employees had boycotted work and begunthe strike from October 5on a call by the JAC ofTSRTC employees' unions,demanding merger of the RTC with thegovernment, pay revision and recruitment to various posts,amongothers, resulting in buses staying off road, causinginconvenience to commuters.

The employees continued the protests on Sunday acrossthe state and held fasts.

Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao had earlier saidunder no circumstances would the RTC be merged with thegovernment and said the stir was illegal as they causedinconvenience to the public.

The state government has made alternativearrangements and engaged the service of temporary drivers andconductors to operate buses.

Union Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy onSunday said the strike was a state government issue.

However, he said, 'The government should give up itsstubborn stance and hold talks with the employees.' Meanwhile, Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee(TPCC) president and Nalgonda MP N Uttam Kumar Reddy, in apress release, condemned the affidavit filed by PrincipalSecretary (Transport) Sunil Sharma in the High Court on thestrike issue wherein he had alleged that the 'RTC unions havecolluded with opposition parties to topple the stategovernment'.

The Congress leader further urged the Chief Justiceto take cognisance of the matter and order a CBI orindependent probe into the allegations levelled bySharma.

Accusing KCR, as the Telangana Chief Minister isalso referred to as, of taking unilateral decisions, the TPCCchief demanded that the Telangana government convene an all-party meeting to discuss the issue.

He announced that the Congress would support the'Sadak Bandh' agitation on November 19 and the party wouldextend all cooperation till the RTC workers get justice. PTIVVKNVG NVG